When I buy avocados, I buy a lot of avocados. Once the craving hits, it’s easy to imagine eating an avocado at every meal for days and days. Avocados on toast, avocados on tacos, avocados in smoothies, avocados everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s January, which means avocados are both impractical and not in line with the culinary expectations of the season. Anyways, all of this is to say, I have too many avocados in my refrigerator, just chilling out at perfect ripeness totally ready to eat whenever I feel so inclined. I’ve shoved them aside, grabbing an orange, a carrot, the lettuce, the spinach… and then when finally my produce drawer dwindled to some constant bottom remnants, I found the urge to swing back to a Mexican- flavor-inspired meal. This dinner is pretty much always an option given my pantry and refrigerator staples. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have a full jar of rice in the cabinet, and it’s rare not to have a sweet potato or two up on the top shelf. So while a deviation from the standard, unthinking, grab-and-go dinner fare, this is just as quick, just as easy, and probably just as available. Plus! Look at that. We’re vegan, we-eat-plants people again; how healthy and economically-conscious of us.
Mexican-inspired Sweet Potato Bowl
1 cup brown rice
1 can black beans (or about 1 1/2 cups previously cooked)
1-2 avocados, sliced
3 green onions, sliced thinly
1 large sweet potato, diced into 1 in. cubes
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
While the oven is preheating, bring 2 1/4 cups of water to a boil in a small to medium sauce pan. Once water is boiling, add brown rice, stir, and reduce the temperature of the stovetop to low heat. Cover the saucepan and simmer the rice for 25-30 minutes, until water is fully absorbed and the rice is fluffy*.
Toss diced sweet potatoes in olive oil and spices, spread evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven until fork-tender and browning, approximately 20-25 minutes.
Slice the avocado and season. Slice the green onions finely and set aside.
Once the sweet potatoes and rice are finished cooking, plate all ingredients together for visual appeal. If you’re like me, though, you want all of these flavors in one bite. If that’s the case, promptly mix all food components into a massive pile and enjoy immensely. Additionally, I know I used a plate for this meal, but I recommend a shallow bowl for neatness when mixing and tossing ingredients together.
This may barely count as cooking, more like preparing with heat, but do not underestimate the delicious contrast between a cool avocado and a spicy, soft-yet-crunchy roasted sweet potato. It’ll have you loading your refrigerator with avocados for weeks.
* Brown rice is not always cooked to this ratio or for this exact amount of time, depending on brand and type. Please follow package directions for cooking if dictated otherwise.