Recipe Riff: Avocado, Black Bean and Charred Tomato Bowl from Cooking Light


In my “Recipe Repair” posts, I try to correct badly explained processes, instructions, or all out mistakes to make a recipe better. The instructions, etc for this recipe were fine (though I did change them), but this is more of a “riff” on the basic recipes, as I have changed the ingredients to make it more satisfying as a main meal.

I’ve been a fan of Cooking Light (now out of business, but merged with Eating Well, to which I also have a subscription), and I often look for easy but healthy recipes there. This past week, I found this bowl recipe that (at first) looked very appealing in that it has some of my favorite foods and it’s an easy weeknight prep.  This is a spinoff recipe that uses their Savory Stewed Black Beans, though they also say you can use a can of rinsed black beans, which I did.

However, when the evening came that I wanted to make this recipe, I realized it just wasn’t enough for a main meal. It looks very appetizing in their photo, but when I got the ingredients together, it seemed very sparse. Luckily, I had just the things on hand to make this a more satisfying non-dairy Mexican bowl.

First, I wanted more protein. I also wanted to cut the sodium (the original recipe has 709 mg of sodium — my riff has only 197 mg per serving and nearly doubles the protein, while offering more flavor and fiber from the veggies and mango. Not a bad riff, I’d say!). I used no added salt at all — it doesn’t need it.

You could use grilled chicken breast in this bowl, but I had some Wegman’s frozen Halibut fillets I needed to use, so I thawed those out and broiled them with some olive oil and chili powder.

I also wanted more flavor, so I added a chopped mango for a sweet touch (which goes awesome with white fish, as well!), and a hefty dose of lime juice — both added to the black beans and squeezed over the final bowl.

So, here is my recipe riff:

Mexican Bowl with Halibut, Mango and Black Beans

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A Healthy, Dairy-free Mexican Dinner


  • 2 4 oz fillet of Halibut or other meaty white fish (could also use  2 8 oz chicken breasts, maybe pounded out a bit)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed well
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp mild chili powder
  • 2 tsp lime juice, plus one lime cut into wedges
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed and dabbed with paper towels to lessen moisture
  • 2-3 cups ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 4-5  med radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 avocado, halved and sliced
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • black pepper
  • olive oil cooking spray


Rinse and pat dry the fish (if using chicken, grill or start to bake about an hour before you want this recipe ready to serve).  Line a pan or baking dish with foil (no clean up!) and spray with non-stick olive oil spray. Put the fish in the pan and lightly spray the top with the olive oil spray then dust with the chili powder. Set aside while you do other prep.

Put a pan (I use cast iron) on the stove top over medium heat and add the olive oil — move the oil around to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the corn and stir until it starts to show some color, then add the tomatoes and let them set on the skin sides, stirring occasionally until both the corn and the tomatoes are showing some char and the tomatoes are softened, but not mushy.

While the tomatoes/corn are cooking (keep an eye on them) slice your avocado, radish and peel and cut your mango into 1″ chunks. Slice the lime into wedges, and wash and chop cilantro for garnish.

Turn off the heat, but leave the corn/tomatoes in the pan to stay warm. Turn your broiler on high and put the fish in, cooking to 130 degrees — this could take 5-10 min, depending on the size of the fish. Don’t flip it, you want a nice color on top.

While the fish is in, put the black beans in a small bowl with lime juice and cumin. Stir  and microwave (cover them) on high for about a minute, just until heated.

Take the fish out and assemble the bowl as you like. I liked my fish on the side, and the other items around it, while my husband put the vegetables in the bowl and his fish on top. Add cilantro and squeeze lime over the top and enjoy! And if you do any interesting riffs on this recipe, please share in comments! 

non-dairy, low sodium. Original source: Cooking Light


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