Tropical Rice Bowls

There are a few truths to life that I’ve gathered over the years.

One: dark chocolate trumps white chocolate.

Two: summer is better than winter.

And three: food in a bowl is way tastier than food on a plate.

It’s this third point that really gets me. Like WHY is it SO MUCH BETTER? I can’t explain it. But it’s true. In fact, I think I’m going to throw away all my plates. I want bowl food all day, every day. More specifically, I want THIS Tropical Rice Bowl.


Every component of this Tropical Rice Bowl is like it’s own mini flavor explosion. It’s hard for me to pick out my favorite part. We’ve got coconut-lime rice (you’ll never want to make plain rice again!), curried plantains, spiced sweet potatoes, black pepper pineapple, zesty guacamole and a couple extra toppings for good measure. Because you always gotta have some extra toppings (= fourth truth in life).

I can’t even deal. This bowl has got it going on.

OK, now I bet you’re eyeballing the ingredient list and thinking that this recipe seems a bit involved. But trust me. It isn’t. It just looks long because of the way I’ve compartmentalized the ingredients. In fact, all we are really doing is cooking up some rice, roasting up some vegetables and fruits and smashing an avocado. Easy peasy. You got this!



Tropical Rice Bowls

Serves 2

Tropical Rice Bowls


  • For the Coconut-Lime Rice
  • 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup basmati or jasmine rice
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime

  • For the Plantains
  • 1 plantain, green to light yellow in color
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar (you can substitute maple syrup)
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder

  • For the Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder

  • For the Pineapple
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh pineapple, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

  • For the Guacamole
  • 1 avocado
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

  • The Extras
  • Roasted cashews
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges


  1. Make the coconut-lime rice. In a medium saucepan bring the coconut milk, water, salt and olive oil to a low boil. Stir in the rice and turn the heat down to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. I find that I have to keep the heat a bit lower than I normally would, as the coconut milk has a greater tendency to over boil or scorch on the bottom. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat, keep the lid on and let the rice sit for 5-7 minutes. Then remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Gently stir in the lime juice and zest. Cover to keep warm.
  2. While the rice is cooking, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Peel the plantain by making a long, vertical slice along the peel and removing it with your fingers. Slice the plantain into 1/2-inch thick disks. Toss in a medium bowl with the olive oil, agave and curry powder. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.
  4. Using the same bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. Add them to the same large baking sheet, keeping the sweet potatoes separate from the plantains.
  5. Using the same bowl, toss the pineapple with the olive oil and pepper. Add the pineapple to the same baking sheet, keeping it separate from the other ingredients.
  6. Transfer the baking sheet to your pre-heated oven and roast for 10 minutes. Stir the sweet potatoes and pineapple. Use a pair of tongs to flip the plantains. Then roast everything for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  7. Make the guacamole. Cut the avocado in half and remove and discard the pit. Scoop the flesh from the avocado and add it to a small bowl along with the lime juice, salt and cilantro leaves. Mash with a fork.
  8. Assemble the bowls. Divide the rice evenly between two bowls. Then top with the plantains, sweet potatoes, pineapple and guacamole, dividing everything evenly. Garnish with some cashews, extra cilantro and lime wedges, if desired. Serve immediately.

58 comments on “Tropical Rice Bowls”

  1. 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!

  2. I couldn’t agree more with all your truths. Dark chocolate and all the foods should be in bowls! Love these tropical bowls – those sweet taters and plantains are calling my name!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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!!!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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 : )

  12. I agree with your countdown. Now I just need this tasty food in a bowl sipping a cold one during the summer.

  13. 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!

  14. 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… 🙂

  15. 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?! 😉

  16. I just love the vibrancy of this dish. And plantains? No way, you really went all out and it paid off!

  17. Huge fan of plantain! But I have never cooked them myself. These flavors sound delicious together! A beautiful bowl of goodness!

  18. 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! 🙂

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. And it cut me off — I’ve never cooked plantains and this has inspired me — I love them!

  22. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. This is a beautiful, nutrient packed bowl of rice. I love every single ingredient it it.

  25. 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 🙂

  26. 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. 🙂

  27. 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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  31. 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.

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