Sunday, March 3, 2013

No-oil Vegan Caribbean Dinner

I hosted a lovely dinner at our house this past Friday night. Almost thirty people, more kids than adults, were  there. I thought I would blog about my menu choices, because the recipes are relatively simple and really delicious.

Caribbean Rice (recipe below)

What will be most memorable from this dinner party was, first, how I made way too many black beans and second, how I ruined perfectly good plantains.

I started out with three pounds of dry black beans and soaked them before cooking them in my pressure cooker. Little did I know just how much they were going to expand. I could have easily fed this crowd with half that amount. At least some good came of it--two lucky guests went home with Cuban Black Beans with Kale to enjoy all weekend long!

My second snafu was that I baked the plantains about an hour and half before everyone arrived. They were beautiful. I transferred them to a large baking dish and covered them with tin foil. About a half hour before I planned to serve them, I put them back into a 250 degree over to keep warm. Well, that half hour turned into more like an hour and the plantains turned into something approximating shoe leather. Next time, I'll wait until the guests arrive and just bake them off. And there will be a next time! Even with the over chewiness, many of the guests seemed to enjoy them and boy did they rave about the Coconut Dipping Sauce!

So here's the recipe that rounds out this menu. It's a Caribbean Rice dish based on a hodge-podge of recipes that I found on the Internet. The beautiful thing about it is that you can add or subtract ingredients based on what your personal preferences are or what you have access to. Case in point: don't have a ripe mango? Use fresh or dried pineapple instead. Don't like garlic or onion powder? Use some fresh diced onion and garlic. Don't like raw onion? Use onion powder. It's all good!

Caribbean Rice
serves 4

print me!

3 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup diced red or orange pepper
1/2 cup diced mango or pineapple
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder (or 1-2 Tbsp finely diced onion)
1/8 tsp garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove, pressed)
optional: 1 scallion, sliced thin
optional: a sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut

Place all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and stir to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Optional: Garnish with scallion and coconut sprinkled on top.

I made four times this recipe for the dinner party and it was almost all gone! It was a hit!
Here are those baked plantains, before I warmed them to death!

I want so much to feed people amazing no-oil vegan food that I take it a little bit hard when I screw something up! Has that ever happened to you? If you'd like to leave a comment or view the comments, please click on the title of this post (the orange text above).
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