Bean & Brown Rice Bites, Sweet Potato Mash, Coconut Drizzle

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetFood bloggers love other food bloggers. Not only do we share the joy of crafting a culinary idea, experimenting and perfecting the recipe, and then photographing and sharing our finds with our loyal readers… we also love to gain inspiration from one another.

I read other food blogs daily. Most are vegan but some are not (one of a vegan blogger’s fave pastimes is to veganize a conventional recipe!). Like many of you, I look for colorful, mouth-watering images,  and inventive, unpredictable recipes that are still easy enough for a home cook to follow.

The other day I was checking out the FB page of my old blogger pal Brandi of The Vegan 8. She had just cooked an amazing dinner inspired by Emma of Coconut and Berries. Emma’s Chili Quinoa-Bean Bites (with Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes) stole my heart with one glance. It was that gorgeous. You know, the sort of recipe that has you frantically running to your kitchen cabinets to see if you have all the ingredients necessary to make it RIGHT. NOW.

Alas, I didn’t. But I did have some other really yummy things. And so here is my take on Emma’s stellar dish that made its way to Brandi’s table and finally (somewhat adapted) onto mine.

My family loved this twist on a Mexican feast. The brown rice and bean bites were hearty and oh so flavorful. The sweet potato mash provided sweetness and a splash of vibrant color that just screamed, “Eat me! Eat me!” And the cinnamon coconut drizzle married it all together in perfect harmony (think: Horchata).

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the bites:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can black beans, mashed
  • 1 can pinto beans, mashed
  • 1 ear of corn, shaved raw
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds

For the mash:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

For the drizzle:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

To finish:

  • tortillas
  • red onion, minced
  • lettuce, shredded
  • fresh mint leaves, hand-torn
  • avocado, diced
  • fresh blackberries, sliced in half, cross-wise

First make your rice & bean bites. Rinse your rice and then place it into a small pot with the vegetable broth, covered, over high heat. Once the broth comes to a boil, reduce to simmer and set the lid askew to give the moisture some room to steam off. Simmer until the liquid is gone and the rice is tender.

In a large mixing bowl combine your mashed beans, corn, oil, black sesame seeds and spices. Add in the cooked rice and using your hands, gently combine it all together.

Preheat your oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and then using moistened hands, form the mixture into ping pong ball-sized balls : ) and place onto the parchment. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until slightly crispy on the outside.

To make your mashed  sweet potatoes, peel, cube and steam the potato until tender. Mash the potato and add in the other ingredients until evenly and smoothly combined.

For the drizzle, simply heat the coconut milk and coconut sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, being careful to not let it boil. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the cinnamon. Once somewhat cooled, pour it into a glass for serving.

Coconut drizzle... yum!

Coconut drizzle… yum!

To plate this beautiful dish, warm then lay out your tortilla. Using a large spoon, spread some of the sweet potato mash down the center of the tortilla. Place three Brown Rice & Bean Bites atop and then garnish with the red onion, avocado, lettuce, mint and blackberries. Finish with the coconut drizzle and serve.

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Happy eating!