This Practically No-Cook Dinner Is My Go-To For Busy Nights

This dish requires hardly any cooking—or cleaning

Cuban Black Bean-and-Yellow Rice Bowls
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

In my dream life, I’d have at least an hour to make dinner every night, a clean kitchen stocked with all my favorite ingredients to make something exciting and delicious, and a grateful family who cleans their plates and thanks me for preparing this lovely dream meal.

In real life, I’ve got about 30 minutes to pull something together with pantry staples that people may or may not eat. Fun! Thankfully, on those nights when I am especially tired or have even less time to cook, I have a secret weapon: my trusty recipe for Cuban Black Bean-and-Yellow Rice Bowls .

Our beautiful recipe (pictured above), which is topped with cilantro, and diced radishes and avocado, takes a little less than an hour to make. It’s delicious, but I found an even easier way to make it come together that cuts down the cooking time—and actual cooking.

What You Need

The key is having a few pantry items on hand: Frozen sweet plantains (I prefer Goya brand), canned black bean soup (also Goya), and microwavable rice (either frozen or precooked in a microwavable pouch—sometimes I will use frozen brown rice). When combined, these convenience products make an extremely satisfying and homey dish that doesn’t taste like it was thrown together in minutes.

How To Make It Faster

Here’s how to do it without a recipe: As the soup heats up on the stovetop, microwave the rice according to the package directions. When the rice is done cooking, set it aside to finish steaming while you heat up the plantains in the microwave according to the package directions. If you’re feeling fancy, or have a few minutes to spare, chop up some toppings, which could mean an avocado, radishes, scallions, cilantro, or any combination of those ingredients. Divide the rice among bowls, top each bowl with hot soup and plantains, and finish with the toppings of your choice. (Or not—it’s great served as-is.)

Added Bonus

Leftovers make a nice lunch the next day. Is there anything this recipe can’t do? It can’t do the dishes, but happily, this meal hardly requires any clean-up. On those nights where you are one step away from ordering pizza, make this meal and be glad that you did.

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