This post was originally published here March 25, 2015. I’ve since updated the text and photographs. If you love the flavors of the tropics, then you definitely need to try out these vegan, gluten-free rice bowls!
These Roasted Plantain and Sweet Potato Rice Bowls are bringing all kinds of big Summer energy straight into my kitchen. Filled with some of my favorite warm weather flavors, like coconut and pineapple, these vegan and gluten-free rice bowls have become the perfect place holder until actual Summer arrives here in New England. And if you’ve ever lived in New England, you know that could still be a very long time away…
So what’s exactly in these hearty Roasted Plantain and Sweet Potato Rice Bowls? The short answer is a little bit of everything!
The base for these bowls is white rice that’s been cooked in lite coconut milk and finished with fresh lime zest and juice. This is one of my favorite methods for making extra creamy, flavorful rice. And I bet once you taste this coconut-lime rice, you’ll never want to make plain rice again. You will need to monitor the rice more closely as it cooks, because the coconut milk is more prone to over boiling and/or scorching. But as long as you don’t wander off too far from the stove, you’ll be good!
Roasted plantains and sweet potatoes make up the second layer of these bowls. Both are seasoned with the same ingredients and then roasted together in one baking dish. Easy and streamlined!
While plantains and bananas may look very similar and you might be tempted to try peeling a plantain like you would a banana, it’s not the best way to tackle them. Because the peel of a plantain is very firm/thick and it can’t be easily removed by hand. Believe me. I’ve tried and failed at this. Instead, use a small paring knife to slice off the ends of the plantain and score the peel lengthwise, creating several strips. Then slip the knife under the strips and pry them back.
These rice bowls wouldn’t be complete without ALL THE TOPPINGS. So I finish them off with homemade guacamole (although a few slices of plain avocado would be great, too), some fresh pineapple, a handful of shredded red cabbage and then if I’m really feeling it, some chopped cashews and extra cilantro. Because why not, right?!?!
These Roasted Plantain and Sweet Potato Rice Bowls are a fun and vibrant way to change up your dinner routine. I hope you give them a try!
Roasted Plantain and Sweet Potato Rice Bowls
For the Coconut-Lime Rice:
- 1 (14-ounce) can lite coconut milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 cup basmati or jasmine rice
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
For the Roasted Plantains and Sweet Potatoes:
- 1 small-medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 ripe plantain (look for deep yellow peel with black spots), peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. ground chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
For the Guacamole:
- 1 avocado, pitted and flesh scooped out
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
- 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon roasted cashews, roughly chopped
- In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk, water, olive oil and salt to a boil. Stir in the rice and turn the heat down to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Lower the heat as needed to maintain a simmer and prevent the rice from scorching on the bottom. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and keep the lid on the saucepan for 5-7 minutes. Then remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the lime juice and zest. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Add the chopped sweet potato and sliced plantains to a large baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and agave nectar. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. Toss to coat. Then spread everything out into a single layer, keeping the sweet potatoes and plantains on opposite sides of the baking dish. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and roast for 10 minutes. Then gently stir the sweet potatoes. And use a pair of tongs to carefully flip the plantain slices. Return the baking dish to your oven and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- In a small bowl, use a fork to smash together the avocado, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Set aside.
- To serve, divide the rice evenly between two bowls. Top with the roasted sweet potatoes, plantains and guacamole. Finish with the cubed pineapple, shredded cabbage, fresh cilantro and chopped cashews. Enjoy immediately.
Oh man, I LOVE a good rice bowl! So I never cook with plantains, but this kind of has me thinking I need to start, right? Also, dark chocolate is alwayssss better than any other chocolate, hands down!
I don’t use plantains never enough. But now I’m kind of hooked and I can’t stop!
I couldn’t agree more with all your truths. Dark chocolate for.the.win and all the foods should be in bowls! Love these tropical bowls – those sweet taters and plantains are calling my name!
Calling my name too, Julia!
Ahhhh! All those truths are just spot-on perfect. Especially the one about the bowls. I mean, ANYTHING tastes better in a bowl! And uh, the contents of THESE bowls? My face needs all the tropical-y goodness asap. Looooove! Pinned.
I know. WHY is bowl food so good. I need a scientific explanation for this phenomenon!!!
This looks totally ridiculously delicious! And I agree with all of your statements… life truths 🙂 I can’t get over the plantains and cashews and that delicious rice! Pinning!
Thanks, Medha. Glad we agree!
I totally agree about bowls always being tastier. I can’t explain it either, but it’s so true! Love this bowl. The flavours and colours are fabulous 🙂
Totes true. Bowl food everyday!
oh my gawd, Liz!!! just like you said, so much awesomeness going on here. . I agree . . I love rice bowls. . oh my gawd, the coconut-lime rice and plantains. . gimme gimme!!! looks sooo goood!!!
Yeah! Glad you love it, Alice. MEEEEE TOOOO!
Food in a bowl is way better than on a plate! These rice bowls look amazing! I love the sweet potatoes and pineapple in here. Sounds delish!
Thanks, Gayle. Bowl foods rule!
Oh my gosh. These rice bowls look so delicious. I love plantain chips, so adding them to rice sounds perfect. I need to try this soon.
Thanks, Erin. Let me know if you try it out!
Yes, this bowl does have it all going on! Love this recipe! And I’m with you. Why is food in a bowl just better? I can’t give any solid reason why, but it is just is.
I know. I need a reason!!!! It’s sooooo good!
I love a good bowl because I can just shovel everything straight into my mouth. Is that okay? Love all the flavors in this delicious bowl!
That’s the perfect way to handle bowl food, Lisa! XO
You are so right! Food in a bowl is better than on a plate! I like my burrito bowls much more than actual burritos. And I always eat chinese food in a bowl. Probably because it’s easier to scoop things up with chopsticks when there’s a “wall”. This tropical rice bowls look delicious! Loving all the flavors and colors. And yes, coconut rice is waaay better than regular rice. I just so happen to be making it tonight to go with our fish : )
OH coconut rice + fish sounds amazing! XO
I agree with your countdown. Now I just need this tasty food in a bowl sipping a cold one during the summer.
Yup, definitely need a cold one on the side. Thanks, Meagan!
You are so right – food in a bowl IS better! Why?! Anything with guacamole is pretty much irresistible. I love all of the flavors in these tropical bowls!
Yup. Bowl food AND guacamole for everything!!
This rice bowl looks amazing!! And I like your rules and I’ll add one more – food eaten with a fork is better than food eaten with a spoon (unless it’s soup of course 🙂 ) I may just be a weirdo… 🙂
Ha ha. That’s great, Marissa!
Those three life truths are EVERYTHING. I couldn’t agree more. And these bowls looks awesome!! Trying to think tropical thoughts through this miserable winter.. but it’s not really working. Maybe these tropical flavors will help?! 😉
Yeah, I’m eating these bowls and pretending it’s summer!
I just love the vibrancy of this dish. And plantains? No way, you really went all out and it paid off!
I totally went all out! And it was good! Thanks, Kelsey!
Huge fan of plantain! But I have never cooked them myself. These flavors sound delicious together! A beautiful bowl of goodness!
I love plantains, and I need to use them more. They are so good!
You are so right on all three of those things! I’m loving this rice bowl and the plantains are such a great idea. Pinned! 🙂
Thanks, Danielle. And thanks for pinning! 🙂
OMG, everything about this makes me want to go on a tropical vacation!! That coconut lime rice sounds too good. I need to whip this up ASAP.
Let’s share a bowl and plan a tropical vacation together! I’m ready! 🙂
You’re righty about all of those things, and it is just more fun eating out of a bowl. They’re so much cozier and personal.
And it cut me off — I’ve never cooked plantains and this has inspired me — I love them!
Glad you’re inspired, Marcie!
Yup. Agreed. Food in a bowl is the best! I have problems with plates. Food falls off the sides, it’s a mess. You’ll never see me eating a salad on a plate… ever, and I prefer everything in a bowl. If I had it my way, plates would be obsolete. Pie, in a bowl, cake too. Your bowl of deliciousness sounds fabulous, Liz! So full of nourishing foods… and that coconut rice, well, I was immediately sold! Thank you for this crave-worthy recipe! It’s gorgeous!
Let’s sell all our plates, Traci! 🙂
You are so right on all three of those things Liz! I love all in one meals like this that are served in bowls. I love this tropical bowl you made, so unique and so many great flavors going on!
Thanks, Danae! And glad we agree!
This is a beautiful, nutrient packed bowl of rice. I love every single ingredient it it.
Thanks, Thao. You’re right – it’s is totally packed!
Agreed on all 3 counts!! And this looks like one freaking delicious bowl of food!! I love every single thing in these and want to stuff this bowl in my face right now 🙂
Thanks, Izzy! Let me know if you try it out!
Mmmmmm… nom nom all over the place. I never realized that universal truth about food in bowls, but you’ve nailed it on the head! And as far as food in bowls goes… dang. Want.these. Incredibly creative, gorgeously nutritious, and I just wish I was eating one right now. Preferably with you on your boat. 🙂
Thanks, Meggan! I’d love for you to come over and have lunch with me! 🙂
This seriously looks SO. GOOD. Like…. SO many amazing flavors. I want one of theeeeese. I’ve never actually cooked plantains but I might need to attempt it just so I can make these bowls!! So yum!
Oh you should definitely try plantains. They are great in so many things. I don’t make them nearly as much as I should!
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Are plantains another word for bananas? Also, would this be good to make the night before to take to work the next day? I’m trying to plan meals for work.
Plantains and bananas are different fruits. Plantains are more starchy and less sweet and require cooking before eating. These bowls would be great for make-ahead lunches, although the guacamole will likely oxidize and brown some.
SO much flavor in these bowls! I love how you’ve combined sweet and savory here for a deliciously balanced bowl. The colors are complete eye candy Liz! Fabulous update!
Total eye candy! Love that!