Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cuban Chicken & Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Chili Spiced Bananas & Spicy Mangos

After I saw the photo for this recipe onHalf Baked Harvest I just had to make it and I was not disappointed! Yes, the ingredients list is really long, but they're all easy steps and nothing too hard to find at the store if you don't already have it on hand. It's called Cuban, but parts of this dish aren't very Cuban. Doesn't make any difference to me if it is or isn't cuz it's good--juicy, flavorful chicken with sweet salsa and bananas.

Cuban Chicken & Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Fried Chili Spiced Bananas & Spicy Mangos

1 t. cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chile, seeded
Pinch of pepper
3/4 + 1/4 cup orange juice, divided
Juice of 4 limes + 1 lime zested
1 t. honey
1 t. soy sauce
1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
Black Beans:
2 c. cooked black beans, rinsed & drained if using canned
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 bananas sliced
Chili powder, if desired
2 T. coconut oil
Spicy Mangos:
1 mango, diced
1 red chili, seeded + chopped
1/2 of 1 lime, juiced
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

To a blender, combine the ingredients for the chicken marinade. Add the cumin, 3 cloves garlic, red chili, pinch of pepper, 3/4 cup orange juice, lime juice and lime zest, honey, soy sauce and a handful of cilantro to the blender. Blend until smooth. Next, add the chicken to a bowl or a plastic sealed bag and pour half the marinade over the chicken. Toss to coat and allow the chicken to sit for 20 minutes, or even overnight, in the marinade.

Meanwhile, work on the quinoa. Heat a large high sided skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add the oil and onion. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the red pepper and quinoa, cook another five minutes until the red pepper is soft and the quinoa is lightly toasted. Now pour in 3 cups of water or chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil, cover and then simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and fluffy.

Once the quinoa is done cooking, push it over to the side of the pan and add another drizzle of oil to the skillet if needed. Add the black beans, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until warmed through. Alternately, you may just stir the black beans into the quinoa.

While the quinoa cooks, fry the bananas. Remove the peels from the bananas and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices. Set a skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add the oil. Lay down your banana slices and sprinkle with chili powder if using, fry for 4-5 minutes on each side. Be sure to watch the heat and turn it down if the bananas are browning too quickly. You want enough heat to caramelize and brown the slices, but you don't want them to burn. Remove from the skillet and place on a plate. Sprinkle with sea salt.

In a bowl, gently mix the mango, red chili, lime juice and cilantro.

To cook the chicken, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add a drizzle of olive oil. Add half the chicken and cook, 3-5 minutes or until browned all over and cooked throughout. Remove and repeat with the remaining chicken. Once all the chicken is cooked, cover with foil. Add the remaining marinade and 1/4 cup orange juice to the skillet and bring to a boil. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter and cook about 5 minutes or until reduced slightly. Stir in some chopped cilantro if desired.

To serve, divide the quinoa among bowls. Top with chicken, black beans, mangos and bananas and sprinkle chopped cilantro on top.


  1. This sounds REALLY GOOD! I'm going to try it. I'm surprised it calls for bananas rather than plantains! I've never fried and actual banana. How does it compare to frying a plantain?

    1. I usually use plantains, but used bananas for this since that's what the recipe called for. Bananas are easier to peel for sure and I liked them, but I prefer plantains for some reason.

  2. That looks so delicious!!!! You are such an amazing cook. You should be on a TV show!

    1. Thanks for the nice compliment. I definitely could not handle that kind of pressure! :)


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