Wouldn’t it be super neat if you could eat a certain food and it would transport you to the place of its origin? Like if this Caribbean jerk chicken transported me right to a sunny Caribbean beach. That would be just super neat. Just so super duper neat. Just so very — but OH HAI REAL LIFE and your lack of sunny Caribbean beaches.
Real life may not be so super neat, but at least it still includes these tasty, filling and healthy chicken, bean and rice bowls. And I suppose that will suffice (for now).
What is also real life, however, is that I actually am going on a trip! It may not be to a sunny beach, but it is to a place where I hear the beer and the chicken and waffles situations can’t be beat. The husband and I are headed to Asheville, North Carolina this week for our first baby-free vacation since, well, baby. And while we are THISEXCITED to go, we are also a little bit nervous/anxious/sad about leaving the little one behind for a few days. So I’ll probably be drowning my sorrows in beer/maple syrup on my chicken and waffles.
And because I’m expecting to eat and drink as many chicken and waffles and beers as one can possibly handle (you’d be surprised how much that is for me), I’m bookending each side of the trip with this healthful bowlful of chicken, bean and rice goodness. The chicken is marinated in a sweet-spicy Caribbean jerk rub, then baked and shredded. You add it to a bowl along with warm, fluffy rice and tender, flavorful Bob’s Red Mill Orca beans (named as such because of their beautiful black-and-white speckled appearance). Add a quick mango-bell pepper-scallion medley and drizzle on a lime vinaigrette and BAM — your bowl and your belly are ready.
Though there are a few components to the bowls, they’re really easy to make and with a little prep, they can become your new favorite weeknight dinner. Serve them with extra lime juice and chopped scallions, warm or at room temperature, in your home or on a sunny Caribbean beach — whatever works for you. And if you have any extra Orca beans leftover to use up, I recommend adding them into a soup or a salad or eating them on their own tossed with a little extra lime vinaigrette. If you have any extra jerk chicken, you can do the same with it.
And while it’s important to note that there are a myriad of options to use up the leftovers, don’t be surprised if you end up with none. One bite of this filling and flavorful dinner and you might find yourself consuming as much of this meal as I will be chicken/waffles/beer in a day out east.
But seriously, if we can figure out a way to get this to transport us all to the beach, let’s make that happen, too.
P.S. Do you have any recommendations for what we should do out in Asheville? Places to eat, things to do, etc. etc.? We are definitely hitting up the Biltmore Estate (duh) and probably this brewery, too, but any more ideas are most welcome! Kthanksbyyyyyye.
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon allspice
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon white vinegar
- 4 large (about 2 lbs) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Orca beans, rinsed and cooked according to package directions
- 1 cup white rice, cooked according to package directions
- ½ cup chopped fresh mango
- ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
- 2 to 3 scallions, chopped
- Lime wedges, for serving
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Prepare the chicken: In a food processor, puree scallions, garlic, brown sugar, allspice, thyme, salt, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, pepper, oil and vinegar until smooth. Place chicken breasts in a shallow dish and pour marinade evenly on top. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet and bake 20 minutes until cooked through. Use two forks to shred chicken.
- Prepare bowls: Divide beans, rice and chicken among 4 bowls. In a small, bowl, toss mango and bell pepper to combine. Divide evenly among bowls. Top bowls with chopped scallions.
- In a resealable jar, combine ingredients for lime vinaigrette and shake vigorously. Pour vinaigrette over bowls. Serve with lime wedges.
Disclosure: I received compensation from Bob’s Red Mill for recipe development purposes. All opinions are my own.