Healthy Cuban Yellow Rice Picadillo Black Bean Bowl

Healthy Cuban Yellow Rice Picadillo Black Bean Bowl

Cuban Rice Bowl

Calling all my Cuban food lovers!!! This recipe is one for you. Do you love Cuban cuisine, flavors, music, culture, and people??? Well I hope you say yes.  I have Cuban roots and I love Cuban food. I am lucky to live in Miami with such a saturation of the Cuban culture and to always have been taught about my ethnicity. One of the best ways to learn about a culture and its people is through food.

Cuban food is filled with flavor, comfort, rice and beans, plantains, and usually on the greasy side. There really aren’t too many health conscious Cuban dishes. So I decided to change that and bring the flavors and dishes we love into a healthy bowl that have Cuban cuisine written all over it.

Bowls are a great way to eat a meal. Everything in one. All you need is a fork or a spoon and all the colors and ingredients next to each other makes the dish look so vibrant and beautiful. Because we do always eat with our eyes first!

Cuban Food

There are a few ingredients that are at the base of any Cuban house hold. Those are rice, beans, plantains, and either beef or pork. For this healthy Cuban bowl I decided to make it with a classic dish, picadillo. Picadillo is ground beef with a Cuban sofrito of onions, garlic, and green bell peppers and a few other ingredients. Since we are making this better for us I used a leaner cut of organic grass-fed ground beef and a smaller portion in the bowl.

Black beans and Rice

Rice and beans are very much a Latin staple but for Cubans it is jasmine rice (if you are from Miami it is Mahatma Jasmine Rice) and black beans. To make this healthier I made a saffron yellow onion rice to increase the health benefits. Saffron helps soothe an upset stomach, aids in the promotion of serotonin which boosts mood, reduces inflammation and lowers insulin resistance. Canned black beans without sodium are the way to go here if you are looking for a healthier option. When beans and rice are paired together they make this Cuban Healthy Bowl packed with protein.

Plantains are an essential part of a Cuban meal, but they are always fried. So skip the frying and bake the plantains with olive oil.

Healthy Cuban Yellow Rice Picadillo Black Bean Bowl

Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Alexandra Golovac, Health Coach


  • 1/2 - 3/4 lb ean 92-94% organic grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 Can No sodium black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 1.5 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Saffron threads
  • 1 Yellow onion small dice
  • 1 Green bell pepper small dice
  • 2 TBLS Spanish Olives cut into rounds
  • 2 TBLS Raisins
  • 1 TBLS Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 ripe Plantain sliced
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Butter
  • Avocado Sliced
  • 4 Eggs Fried and optional
  • Salt and pepper


  • To make the Picadillo 
    1.  Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once hot add half the yellow onion with a few pinches of salt. Let this cook for 2 minutes then add the green bell pepper and garlic. Let the sofrito cook for another 2 minutes.
    2. Season the organic grass feed beef with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and break the ground beed apart. Let this cook until it is almost all browned. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, green olives, raisins, salt and pepper, and the bay leaf.  Bring this to a simmer, cover the pot, and turn the heat down to low. Let this cook for 15-20 minutes while you prepare everything else. 
    To prepare the Saffron Rice 
    1. In a sauce pan over medium heat add the butter, once the butter has melted add the 1/2 of the yellow diced onion and season with salt to let them sweat. Then add the saffron threads and mix until it becomes fragrant. Add the rice and mix everything together. Add the water season again with salt and bring this to a boil. Once at a boil lower heat to low, cover the pan, and let the rice cook for 18 minutes.
    2. Once the rice has cooked fork the rice to fluff. 
    To prepare the Plantains
    1. Preheat the oven to roast 375 degrees. Line a small baking tray with parchment paper. 
    2. Peel and slice the plantain, not to thin. Add the plantains in a bowl and mix it together with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the plantains on the lined baking tray and roast at 375 for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat up to 425 degrees and roast for another 5 minutes until golden. 
    3. Remove the plantains from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. 
    To assemble the Healthy Cuban PIcadillo Bowls 
    1. First fill the bowls with the saffron rice. 
    2. Top with 1/4 cup picadillo, a few slices of avocado, 1/4 cup black beans, plantains and if you would like a fried egg. 
    Healthy Cuban Yellow Rice Picadillo Black Bean Bowl

About the Author

Alexandra Golovac, Health Coach

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