Cuban Quinoa Bowl with spicy chicken, tasty quinoa, black beans, fresh mango and caramelized bananas. So many things going on, but the flavors come together amazingly. However, when I was in Cuba in 2015, there was one thing that struck me, and that was how absolutely awful the food was. They had all this luscious green nature, and should not have any difficulty in making good food. However, I suppose there are political difficulties involved here. I think the leaders of the country take all the best quality food, and the people is left with the “scraps”. But don’t quote me on that.
One time, we got to the largest grocery store in Cuba, and it was empty! They didn’t even have water. The shelves were so empty it felt like that it was the day before shutting down the entire business. It was weird, and highly unusual for me. Norway is a very rich country, both in terms of nature but also in possibilities of import, so the shelves are always stacked. I remember one Christmas, they had trouble making enough butter for all the Christmas baking. It was absolute hysteria. There were even news articles about this, and whenever people found butter – they bought it all.
In Cuba, they had nothing. But the people seem very happy nonetheless.
Cuban Quinoa Bowl with Mango Salsa and Fried Bananas
However, back to the food. My point was, that I cannot believe this dish is Cuban. I really don’t, because to me, Cuban food is all about pickled lettuce, pasta that tastes like dirt and bad quality meat. This dish is nothing like that, it’s a burst of delicious flavor and color. The chicken get this tangy, citrusy marinade, and combined with the flavorful quinoa, sweet bananas and fresh mangos – it is a little piece of heaven. The best part? It’s healthy too. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring! And this is absolutely not boring.
This recipe is adapted from Half Baked Harvest, and honestly, I haven’t done many alterations. However, I find the servings too big for 4 people and I eat a lot, so this surprised me a bit. I usually never seed my chiles (if not the recipe calls for 100 bird’s eye chiles, I definitely seed – most of them), but you can if you want to. This recipe has a little more than a few steps, but I can assure you that it’s worth it. And I would not omit one part of this recipe, because all the components work so well together.
I’ve made this recipe a few times now, and both times I’ve messed up on one thing; you are not supposed to use all the marinade on the chicken, leave half of it to make a sauce later. So I made a mess when trying to fix this problem, but I’m glad I did, because the sauce gives it a little moisture in the end. Delicious!
Please give this Cuban Quinoa Bowl a try, and you won’t be disappointed. Tell me what you think in the comment section below, or tag @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. Don’t forget to Pin it.