One of my favorite budget meals that is far from boring!
Rice and beans are cheap, but they don’t have to be boring! Here’s a new spin on two super common, cheap and versatile staples that I know you’re going to love.
This meal prep LOOKS complicated but making it is super simple. Let’s do it!
How to make this recipe your own
Change up the protein:
Instead of chicken, you can use sausage links, shrimp, salmon, beef, pork or ground meat of your choice! That’s why I love meals like this, any protein can work.
Change up the veggies:
Instead of or in addition to red bell pepper and cilantro, try…
- snap peas
- green beans
- jalapeno pepper
- serrano pepper
- red onion
- sweet potato
- summer squash
- butternut squash
Change up the beans:
Not into black beans? Use any bean of your choice or skip them to turn this into a regular rice bowl.
Change up the rice:
Instead of white rice, you can use brown rice, quinoa, farro, couscous or any grain of your choice. I don’t recommend skipping this element! Note that we reduced the amount of rice a bit compared to normal WWL recipes since there are also beans in this meal.
I can’t wait to see what you do with this easy meal template! Go nuts with the garnishes too. Avocado, lime, cilantro, salsa, your favorite sauces etc all belong on this bowl.
How to add more volume to or double this meal:
To double this meal, double the ingredients! You may need to allow more time for the rice to cook, and you may have to cook your protein in batches depending on the size of your pan. To speed up cooking you might consider using two skillets to multitask if you want.
To add more volume, start with adding another veggie from the list above. That would be the easiest! Adding avocado or a little more rice would be an easy way to add more volume if needed, however, this meal is already super filling.
Storage & reheating notes:
This chicken, rice and beans bowl lasts in the fridge for up to four days. It’s not freezer-friendly. You can reheat it in the microwave or on the stove.
Rice & Beans Bowls With Chicken, Plantains, Red Bell Pepper & Cilantro
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
- 16 oz chicken breast
- 2 TBSP olive oil divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lime cut in half
- 1 medium red bell pepper chopped
- 2/3 cup rice
- 15 oz can of black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 ripe plantain peeled and chopped into slices
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- Cook the rice according to the package. Don't forget to let it steam a bit with the lid on after! Not fussing with rice is the key to cooking it perfectly. When it's totally done, squeeze half a lime over it and add 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro, then stir it all together.
- Butterfly the chicken if needed (if you have really thick pieces): lay the chicken breast flat on a cutting board. With your palm, press firmly on the top while you cut the chicken breast in half sideways. This helps it cook more evenly in a shorter amount of time (and avoid dryness). It's ok if it's not perfect!
- Heat up a skillet for 2-3 minutes. While it's heating, pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Add 1 TBSP oil to the pan and let it heat up for a minute or two. Then season the chicken with salt and pepper and immediately add it to the pan. Let it cook on each side for about 5-7 minutes. Squeeze half a lime over the chicken, then set it aside to let it rest.
- In the same pan, add the remaining oil over medium heat. Then add the plantains and sprinkle salt over them. Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. You're going for a golden brown color on the plantains. Remove from the pan when finished.
- Lastly, add the beans and red bell pepper to the pan. Don't worry about adding oil at this point, there should be enough left over. Add salt and pepper, then cook for 5-10 minutes over medium heat depending on how soft you like your bell pepper!
- Assemble: Divide the rice between three meal prep containers. At this point, slice the cooked chicken into strips or chunks. Toss them in bbq sauce. Add the bell pepper and black bean mixture to the containers, followed by the chicken and plantains. Garnish with extra lime wedges and remaining cilantro.