I have been wanting to try out a new kind of flavor, that I’m not as familiar with in my own cooking or even going out to restaurants. There is no shortage of amazing places to eat and try new foods in Seattle, particularly when it comes to New American, Asian, and even many European cuisines. However, one deficit in the area, at least in my exploration (which is quite vast in my foodie life) is in the Caribbean/Jamaican genre…thus resulting in this adventure of creating a giant and flavor-blasted Caribbean Jerk Bowl!
*Note: the psychologist in me wonders if in my subconscious, I was inspired to make this dish based on the movie Cool Runnings. After all, it is the Winter Olympics right now and my favorite relevant movie is about the Jamaican bobsled team…I’m just saying, may have been a factor here. Anyway!
This bowl may be vegan, but it is packed full of hearty ingredients like coconut rice, black beans, avocado, and cashews. Yet the freshness and tang of the pineapple, bell pepper, scallions, and cilantro make it taste light and comforting at the same time. You can choose to keep the presentation as so, or mix it all together, but either way every bite is a little bit different, with a mix of crunchy and creamy; spicy and sweet.
Now when I say spicy, I don’t mean spicy hot, but rather an earthy, Caribbean spicy made from a combination of allspice, thyme, coriander, cinnamon, garlic, and ginger. The first time I made these bowls, I kept the spices dry, but then realized the flavors would spread better with a sauce. So I combined those spices with a mixture inspired by a jerk-style marinade. The result: a burst of spice without the fire-in-your-mouth. If that’s your thing though, just go crazy with some cayenne or chili pepper.
Although this looks like a lot of ingredients and preparation, there’s hardly any cooking- just a bit of chopping and tossing together. Only takes about 30 minutes! This is also a perfect opportunity to make this recipe your own – mix it up with kidney beans, mango, plantains…or just keep it simple and omit a couple of ingredients if this is just too crazy of a mix for you! But I encourage this taste explosion…enjoy :)
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1 can lite coconut milk
- 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
- 8 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
- 1/4 tsp each of dried: coriander, cinnamon, allspice, and thyme
- dash of salt and pepper
- Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl or jar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine rice, coconut milk, ginger, and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then reduce to simmer, cover, and let cook for 10-15 minutes or until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed. (Note: may need to add a splash of water in beginning in addition to coconut milk).
- Heat black beans in a small saucepan over low heat. Keep warm.
- Divide rice and beans evenly among 4 bowls. Then add the rest of the ingredients, again dividing each among the 4 bowls.
- Drizzle sauce over each of the bowls.
- Mix together and enjoy!