This dish is a perfect accompaniment to my Ropa Vieja, or it’s an easy meal served by itself! I used canned beans to make it a quick weeknight meal-It can be ready in 25 minutes or less! But if you have the time you can slow cook your beans for an extra layer of flavor.
Black beans are legumes. Also known as turtle beans because of their formidable, shell-like appearance, black beans are, in fact, the edible seeds of the plant. Black beans are rich in carbohydrates, and they are also an excellent source of fiber (both soluble and insoluble). Black beans also do not contain sugar. So depending on how they’re cooked, they can have a low glycemic index. Black beans are also protein powerhouses, with 7 grams of protein in a 1/2 cup serving!
If you want a little heat feel free to add a jalapeño, or your favorite hot sauce! I like to serve this with a long grain white rice. Enjoy!
Years ago, before a Cardinal’s baseball game, I went to a cool restaurant here in St. Louis called “Pieces.” They have hundreds of board games and tons of great vegan food options. After perusing through their superb vegan menu, I settled on their Midwest Poke Bowl. The taste was so delicious and complex, but not complicated! I was blown away by how well the simple combination of flavors came together. Anyway, a few days ago, the Post Dispatch had a Poke bowl on the cover of their “Let’s Eat” section, and it brought back the memory of the delicious bowl I had eaten at Pieces. It seemed like the perfect time to make my own.
If you don’t know, Poke, pronounced “POH-keh,” is a two-syllable word that means “cut into chunks” in Hawaiian. The compressed watermelon replaces the traditional raw chunks of ahi tuna or octopus and is marinated and compressed in a delicious ginger sesame soy sauce. I used my vacuum sealer to compress the marinade into the watermelon. Why compress it? Because flavor, flavor, flavor is the key to this recipe! Compressing any porous food concentrates its flavor and adds a depth and dimension you wouldn’t get otherwise. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer or sous vide machine, you can use this method for compressing.
While some recipes use regular rice, I decided to use seasoned sushi rice with wakame or seaweed. I also topped the edamame with aTogarashi spice mix comprised of seaweed, orange zest, ginger, sesame seeds, and chili powder. The recipe is finished with sriracha aioli and black sesame seeds. It’s soooo yummy and healthy! One last thing! Be sure to make your watermelon and aioli ahead of time, as they needs time to sit and get happy!
1 tbsp wakame, or kombu (this is optional, but definitely builds the flavor profile)
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp vegan sugar
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1–2 Tbsp sriracha (depending on heat preference)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
salt to taste
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/8” slices
1 red onion, minced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise, (I used a mandolin set a 1/8″)
1 carrot, julienned (or, you can buy carrots pre-shredded)
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
10 oz bag edamame, cooked according to package directions
2 Tbsp Togarashi spice mix for edamame, (or, 2 tsp red chili flakes)
French fried onions (optional)
Black sesame seeds
Lime, sliced into 6 wedges
d all ingredients except the oils to a blender and blend on high speed until mixed well. Turn blender down to low speed and slowly add the oils until combined.
Add watermelon to a vacuum bag and compress using a vacuum sealer, sous vide machine or the ziplock method. Compress watermelon and seal the bag. Refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 4-6 hours.
Rinse rice very well under cold water, until water runs clear, about 2 minutes. This step is essential. Shake until almost dry.
Cook rice according to package directions. I used my Instant Pot to cook the rice, and it works well.
Add wakame to rice and water before cooking. Again, this is optional but highly recommended.
While rice is cooking, add rice vinegar, sugar, and sea salt to a small saucepan and cook on medium-high heat until the mix reaches a soft boil and sugar and salt have fully dissolved. (You can also microwave).
When rice is done cooking, spread evenly onto a baking sheet and let cool—drizzle rice with sushi vinegar.
Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup and refrigerate until ready to use.
When ready to assemble, remove watermelon from the bag and reserve liquid.
Add rice to a bowl and divide watermelon accordingly.
Add spice mix to cooked edamame.
Divide avocado, onion, edamame, cabbage, carrots, and cucumber between bowls and drizzle with reserved liquid and aioli.
Top with black sesame seeds, french fried onions, lime wedge, and scallions.