It is easy with an Instant Pot (or not) to make spicy black beans to use for Cuban bowls~fresh, healthy ingredients folks just layer in a bowl and enjoy!
Whether feeding your family or a small group, I promise you that this “build your own Cuban bowls” idea is a winner. Everyone loves choosing his or her own ingredients to build a fresh, yummy bowl of healthy ingredients.
What exactly are Cuban bowls?
Cuban bowls are common fare in the Islands and Caribbean. They consist of beans and rice, with added fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs. You’ll often see Cuban bowl options on food trucks; these are especially popular alongside popular beaches (30 A is one).
What beans are used for Cuban bowls?
Black beans are the most common, but pinto and/or kidney beans work well also. Dried beans, soaked overnight and cooked the next day are best. Canned beans can be doctored in a pinch with good results.
Are Cuban bowls healthy?
Cuban bowls are healthy if you use fresh whole food ingredients. Since beginning my Faster Way to Fat Loss lifestyle (you can read about it in this post), I’ve made many healthy changes in my diet (and my family’s). When I am on a low-carb day, I make these bowls without the sweet potatoes and rice (but I do use cauliflower rice). On a regular macro day, the potatoes are fine! The bowls not only fit into my healthy lifestyle, but they are loaded with protein, fiber, and healthy fats that keep me full for hours.
What ingredients do you put in a Cuban bowl?
Beans are the primary ingredient, along with any or all of the following:
- rice (yellow is common; white or brown also work)
- chopped onion
- diced tomatoes
- sliced avocado
- fresh pico de gallo
- fresh cilantro
- diced radishes
- diced roasted sweet potatoes
- fresh limes (a must to squeeze over the ingredients)
In the recipe below, I share how I make beans for Cuban bowls. I love these beans so much, I would almost buy an Instant Pot JUST to make them alone:-)
Instant Pot Update: New IP models have been hitting store shelves, and I just bought a new one (and gave my old one to the college twins). You can see which new model I purchased here.
Make ahead: You need to allow a day to soak the beans overnight. The next day, the beans can be made, vegetables chopped, and all ingredients kept in the fridge to pull out as needed.
If you try these build your own Cuban bowls, please let me hear your thoughts! I’d love to hear how you customize them, too. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Here’s to a joyful, blessed & savvy day!!!
- 1 pound dried black or pinto beans (rinse and discard rocks)
- 1 ham hock (optional; I use for Pinto Beans)
- 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion (frozen is fine)
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 carton chicken broth (or 3 cups water)
- Turn Instant Pot on sautÃ© (high); add EVOO and allow to get hot.
- When oil is sizzling, add onion and green pepper.
- Saute 3-4 minutes; add garlic and seasonings.
- Saute another minute or so; add beans, broth and bay leaves.
- Press manual and set IP to high pressure for 35 minutes.
- After pressure, allow beans to sit in pot for at least 30 minutes.
Serving Size1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 74 Total Fat 2g Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 3mg Sodium 258mg Carbohydrates 10g Fiber 3g Sugar 1g Protein 4g