I have not been to Cuba, so I cannot confirm just how Cuban this breakfast is. However, I first encountered this delightful plate of goodness called The Cuban Breakfast at Cafe Patachou here in Indy. To be honest, something like this is not my typical go to at a breakfast spot, I’m usually in for a breakfast sandwich or something sweet– but for whatever reason on that day, the Cuban Breakfast on the menu called to me. Seasoned rice and black beans, creamy avocado, a big fat sunny side up egg, and a magical pesto on the side made a combination of delicious breakfast that snuck into my head and has a tendency to tap me on the shoulder every couple of months, reminding me that I need it again.
Naturally, when something like this sticks in my head the way this dish did, the next step would be to attempt to recreate the dish in my own kitchen. I’m not one to ever try to recreate restaurant meals– this is the first time I’ve ventured into such a thing– but I did some reading on cuban black beans and rice, and a little research (by way of visiting Patachou again…) on what exactly was in that pesto, added in some luck– and I’ll be damned if I didn’t just eat it in my very own kitchen. We’ll call it beginners luck.
It’s simple, but it’s good. The pesto makes about a cup (I plan to freeze the extra in 1/4 C increments for spontaneous Cuban Breakfasts in the future), and is grassy and spicy and flavored with spinach, walnuts, cotija cheese, jalapeños and cilantro. The rice and beans are simple, and if you have some frozen pesto in the fridge, you can bust this out for a pantry dive meal any morning/night of the week you choose.
Serves 2-3 depending on portions | Inspired by Cafe Patachou’s Cuban Breakfast
1 15oz can black beans (I like Goya brand)
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 C long grain white rice
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp flavorless oil (Canola, Vegetable etc.)
1/2 tsp Cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C Cilantro, chopped fine
2 eggs (prepared anyway you prefer)
1/4 C Pesto (see ingredients below)
Salt & Pepper
Ingredients for Pesto
2 Cups Baby Spinach
2 Jalapeños, stemmed and roughly chopped (remove the seeds and ribs for less heat, leave it as is for more)
1/4 C Cilantro
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 C Walnuts, toasted
1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
In medium saucepan, combine 1C rice and 1 tsp table salt with 1.5 C water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
In small saucepan, heat 2 tsp flavorless oil until shimmering. Add onion, cumin, and pinch of salt and cook until onions are translucent. Add garlic and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add black beans, 1/4 C water, and cilantro. Bring to a simmer for 10-15 min until liquid reduces slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and keep warm.
For Pesto: In food processor, combine spinach, jalapeños, cilantro, garlic, and walnuts and process until finely chopped. With processor running, add Extra Virgin Olive oil until mixture is cohesive, about 10 seconds. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste (Pesto can be divided and frozen in 1/4 C increments for future breakfasts!).
To assemble: In each bowl, add rice and then layer with a generous spoonful or two of beans. Arrange avocados on the side, and 2 Tbsp of pesto. Top with egg and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with your favorite Cuban cafe con leche!