Coconut Rice with Black Beans, Plantains, and Mango Salsa – Recipe

Coconut Rice with Black Beans, Plantains, and Mango Salsa
Coconut Rice with Black Beans, Plantains, and Mango Salsa

At my house, we eat food in styles from all over the world, but rice is far and away our most popular substrate. I’m always experimenting with new ways to cook rice as well as new things to serve with it.

Today’s dish is Caribbean inspired, with coconut milk-scented rice, black beans, plantains, avocado, mango, and a mango salsa. It is especially good for serving to kids, because they can easily pick and choose the ingredients they enjoy. The mango salsa is moderately spicy, adding some extra interest for adults. (And that same salsa could be applied to a wide variety of other meals, ranging from Mexican to southeast Asian).

The coconut rice reheats really well, so you can easily make it the day before and just warm it up in the microwave at dinner time, making this whole meal something that can be thrown together in 20 minutes for a weeknight supper.

Plantains, of course, are in the banana family but are less sweet and more starchy. They are popular in much of the Caribbean and West Africa, as well as Guatemala. In this recipe I simply pan fry them to produce a delicious, slightly caramelized surface and a tender, creamy interior.

Coconut Rice with Black Beans, Plantains, and Mango Salsa
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free

For the rice:

  • 2 1/4 cups basmati rice (3 standard rice-cooker cups)
  • 1 thirteen-ounce can coconut milk

For the sauce:

  • 1 ripe mango, cubed
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno or serrano pepper (or if you are insane, some part of a habanero), seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

For the dish:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced into generous 1/4″ thick coins
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups cooked black beans, heated, seasoned with salt (or if you like, with garlic, onions, epazote, etc. as you please)
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 mango, cubed
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • flaky sea salt
  • 1 lime cut into quarters
  1. For the rice: Cook the rice in your usual way, on the stovetop or in a rice cooker, but replace one can’s worth of water with the coconut milk, then add in an extra quarter-cup of water.
  2. For the sauce: Roughly puree all ingredients in a mini food processor. Just 10 seconds or so should be sufficient, as you want to retain some texture. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  3. To complete the dish: Warm your serving bowls or plates. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is shimmering, add the plantains in a single layer. Fry, until brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until browned and tender, about two more minutes. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.
  4. To serve, you may either divide the rice among four bowls and top with the plantains, beans, avocado, mango, cilantro and sauce, or serve all of the ingredients separately and let diners make their own. Pass the lime quarters to squeeze over the finished plate as desired.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, June 20th, 2011 in Favorites, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Kid Friendly, Main Courses, Recipes, Sauces and Condiments, Vegan or Modifiable.

55 Responses to “Coconut Rice with Black Beans, Plantains, and Mango Salsa – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    June 20, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Beautiful color!! Looks delicious. I was going to mention that you can buy spiced banana chips (not plantain) at the indian store…i use them when I want a bit of a crunch on my food..dare i say “garnish”? 🙂 You’re very creative – I’d love to see how you would use banana chips too!

  2. Reply
    June 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    This looks absolutely scrumptious! I love mangoes, I love black beans, and I love coconut rice, so combining them is clearly the obvious thing to do! I think I will need to make this dish, thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Reply
    June 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    Serendipity…I was just thinking about how I was going to use some cilantro from my garden and work it into a meal that adults & kids will enjoy. Thank you! (We’re all still enjoying cauliflower, almost weekly, btw…)

  4. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    June 20, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    I could definitely see banana chips used to add some crisp to a dish like this! 

    Michael Natkin

    Find me:

    The latest from my blog, Herbivoracious: Coconut Rice with Black Beans, Plantains, and Mango Salsa – Recipe

    • Reply
      July 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      Hi, Michael…I just found and joined your site today…so cool to see you here too! I think I’ll follow your advice! This recipe sounds fantastic, like something I’d only find in a restaurant.!

    • Reply
      July 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

      lol..I just realized, I was on Herbalicious!

  5. Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    Do you do anything particular with the beans Michael? Generally I used canned black beans to save time but I can’t imagine just dumping canned beans onto the plate.

  6. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    June 21, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Hey Stephanie – If using canned, just rinse them and heat them with a tiny bit of water, and maybe mash them slightly. My preference would be home-cooked ones, cooked to the point where they are just starting to break down a bit, like in the picture. If you can cook them with a few leaves of epazote, so much the better! 

    Michael Natkin

    Find me:

    The latest from my blog, Herbivoracious: Coconut Rice with Black Beans, Plantains, and Mango Salsa – Recipe

  7. Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    i totally loved this combination! Rice is something we make many times a week, but to make coconut rice and combine with a bunch of my other favorite things (read plantains and mango) never crossed my mind. You are a genius!

  8. Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm #


  9. Reply
    June 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Ooh, looks fantastic….look ethnic meals!

  10. Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    That looks delicious! I love it when people use coconut flavors in ways that I haven’t expected. Mainly because I love coconut!

  11. Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 5:52 am #

    This recipe brings me back to my childhood. I look forward to making it for my family.

  12. Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    I made this recipe for my wife and I last night, and we both loved it! Thanks for sharing, and I’ll definitely be keeping a constant eye on this blog.

  13. Reply
    June 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    Everything about this recipe was perfect. Portions, ingredients, flavor, texture, we’re in food heaven right now. I could eat this everyday, makes me feel like I’m on an island in the Bahamas. Amazing.

  14. Reply
    Anne Campbell
    July 5, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    Delicious! I sauteed the black beans with a little shallot, and added lime juice to the salsa. Very easy and quick, especially using our new rice cooker for the coconut rice (it turned out PERFECT).

  15. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    July 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Thanks, Anne! I like your ideas for some flavor boosts. You might also like this version of the coconut rice: link to .

    Michael Natkin

    Find me:

    The latest from my blog, Herbivoracious: Turkish Chickpea and Potato Stew with Baharat – Recipe

  16. Reply
    July 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    I tried this – yum, but then I’m a sucker for coconut!

  17. Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    Huge success at our household. I left out the peppers in the salsa, but chopped them fine so that those who wanted “hot” could sprinkle them on later. I used about a half cup of “thin” coconut milk, and Japanese “sushi rice” (which I used without washing or anything). That worked out fine, although the coconut flavor was quite mild. I cooked the plaintains somewhat darker than yours (more of a dark brown than a pale yellow), and the slightly-caramelized flavor was a really nice addition. Also added some epazote to the black beans while I was cooking them, even though that’s not traditionally carribean.

  18. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    July 11, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Nice! Love the addition of epazote… it is just so dang good with black beans. If you want a more pronounced coconut flavor in the rice, you can try this version: link to

    Michael Natkin

    Find me:

    The latest from my blog, Herbivoracious: Vegetarian Frijoles Charros – Mexican Cowboy Beans with Smoked Onion – Recipe

  19. Reply
    July 17, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    I wanna make this but i am confused as to what to do with the black beans….are they seasoned or just plain?

  20. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    July 17, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

    Hey Ling – seasoned at least with salt. You could also saute some onions and garlic and simmer the beans with them for a bit, or add some epazote while they cook. I've edited the recipe to be more specific.


    Michael Natkin

    Find me:

    The latest from my blog, Herbivoracious: Vegetarian Frijoles Charros – Mexican Cowboy Beans with Smoked Onion – Recipe

  21. Reply
    July 24, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    What a work of art! I love plantains. I should try making mango salsa. I used to just buy it from Costco, but I don’t live in the states anymore, and yours looks better. I love the avacado on the side, but I have a bitter relationship with cilantro.

  22. Reply
    August 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    This is ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. I told my husband that we were having this for dinner and he looked suspicious. (He dislikes all things green and meals without meat.) So he insisted that I cook chicken for his as well. I was using the stovetop for this and something else at the same time so I had to wait to cook his chicken after everything was done so i plated it and told him to come get his— chicken will be done in a few. Well he starts eating and says stop the chicken! this is too good on its own!! I don’t want the meat! To say the least, it was a miracle. I recommend this to everyone!

  23. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    August 21, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    That's awesome. My whole theory is that food should simply be delicious and satisfying so that needing meat becomes a non-issue. Totally makes me happy to hear when that is working!

  24. Reply
    January 18, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    This was so good and quick to make on a weeknight! Everybody wanted seconds and leftovers to take to school/work the next day! Love the blog, excited about the book!

  25. Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    I had this today and it was soo delicious! I added lime to the sauce and had a slice on the plate to squeeze all over everything too! So good, thanks! 🙂

    • Reply
      January 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      Nice call on the lime! In fact I’m going to edit that into the original recipe, it deserves to be there.

  26. Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Thanks! I feel so special right now! 🙂

  27. Reply
    January 21, 2012 at 5:17 am #

    Made this for lunch and loved the flavors together! One thing though- the onion in the mango sauce was still so raw that it burned my eyes while eating it! Did anyone else experience this? My husband and I decided that next time we’ll gently cook the onions just a bit and make the mango sauce first, then let it sit for awhile to allow the flavors to blend. I think we must be the only one to experience this- we were so eager to eat it that we ate through the onion tears, couldn’t stop! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      January 21, 2012 at 7:40 am #

      Hey Amanda – I’m glad you liked the dish overall and sorry the onions were too strong for you. Some onions are stronger than others and also some folks like raw onions more than others. I just love them, so I could easily have too much of them in there for your taste!

    • Reply
      January 23, 2013 at 6:45 am #

      A couple thoughts about the onions…..
      Try red onions……they are usually not as strong……or try soaking the onions in cold water for a bit…..this should remove some of the raw/strong flavor and some of the sulphur which is what makes you tear

  28. Reply
    January 21, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Yeah it could very well be that I’m just a wuss with onions. Will let you know how it goes with slightly cooking the onions first!

  29. Reply
    February 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Just made this. Wow, Michael! That was really, really great. Looking forward to making it again in the summer! Thanks for sharing.

  30. Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    Hi Michael, great website. Congratulations on the new book, I will try several of the recipes. Coconut rice was the first recipe search that lead me to your site several months ago. I also enjoyed the articles you wrote about various topics. I sent you a private email as well, hope you get it.

  31. Reply
    June 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    This was fantastic. I didn’t have coconut milk, so I used shredded unsweetened coconut that I got from an Indian store. I also had roast chicken and added jerk spice. This was the best meal I have made in a long time. So lucky to run across ripe mangos and avocado. My plantains were yellow and slightly sweet. My husband sprinkled on jamaican curry hot sauce which was great. Will add black beans next time.


  32. Reply
    July 2, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    Oh my gosh, how did I miss this? This is my kind of recipe and has all the flavors our family loves ! Must bookmark this Coconut Rice with Black Beans, PLANTAINS & MANGO !!!! Do you think I can add avocados to this? Or should I minimize the fruit if I add an avocado? My sons will love this. Thanks again, Michael!

    • Reply
      July 2, 2012 at 7:59 am #

      Avocado would be 100% appropriate on this dish!

  33. Reply
    July 16, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    Michael, this dish is amazing. Thanks for creating it. I’m in tears that my leftovers are gone!

  34. Reply
    July 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    I just recently stumbled upon your blog, and tonight I made this dish. Amazing is all I can say. Totally loved it (as did my husband). Will definitely be making this one again. Thank you!!!

  35. Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Just made this last night and it was really delicious. The only change I made was to leave out the jalapeno (I’m a weaksauce when it comes to heat) and to put some sriracha on my husbands rice and we both agreed it was one of the best things we’ve had. Thanks for a great recipe!!!

    • Reply
      October 2, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      Awesome! Glad you liked it, and it sounds like you worked out the ideal solution to your heat mismatch :)!

  36. Reply
    October 9, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    I absolutely love your blog and I am so excited about the coconut rice. That is something I have always wondered how to make and who knew it was so easy! I only just started my blog and you have inspired me!

  37. Reply
    Pamela Drake
    October 24, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Mmm, yummy! Being a born and raised New Yorker, I love recipes that speak Puerto Rican 😉 . This also has a South Pacific/South Asian touch I like (I’ve had coconut rice in Thai restaurants). Now I’m dying to try it!

  38. Reply
    Kate Ellington
    March 11, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    We had this for supper last night and it was amazing. We increased the garlic in the salsa substantially and also used a whole habanero (they’ve lost some heat due to being frozen.) I can’t believe I’ve never had plantain before. It is going to become a regular in our house. Delicious!

  39. Reply
    April 23, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    Yum! Coconut Rice! DELISH!

  40. Reply
    May 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Just made this. was amazing! One of the best dishes I have ever made 🙂

  41. Reply
    July 15, 2013 at 2:59 am #

    thank you. now i am sitting at work and craving mango….. its good job I have a supermarket on the way home, will be shopping:)

  42. Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Made this tonight and it was delicious. Even though I went it a little “off recipe,” it was so good. I don’t get along with cilantro, so I subbed in some cumin and parsley. Had to use sweet potatoes instead of plantains because my local market didn’t have any. Last thing was adding red and green bell pepper to the black beans. I had brown basmati rice, which came out wonderfully with the coconut. I could eat this weekly!!!

    • Reply
      September 3, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

      I’m glad you adapted it to your needs and tastes!

  43. Reply
    September 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

    I’ve made this dish many times, sent it for friends to make, and every time, it’s a knock out of the park! I have a friend who suffers from a lot of allergies, and this dish has been a savior for her! Love the flavors, easy to make, 100% awesome. I’ve been following your blog for years now, but this is the recipe I always come back to! Thanks for being awesome!

    Another Jewish Seattle-ite!

    • Reply
      September 16, 2013 at 8:06 am #

      Thanks, Tiffany!

  44. Reply
    November 8, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    I was pretty sure this dish would be a bland disaster, simply because the black beans have no spice. However, I made it for dinner last night, and it was a super hit with my Indian family! I didn’t have plantains, so I used potatoes instead, but I followed the recipe as is. We all felt this dish really doesn’t need anything other than salt. It was perfect!

    • Reply
      November 11, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      I’m glad you liked it, and of course you could certainly spice up the beans if you like. I’d think cumin would be nice.

  45. Reply
    January 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Love this recipe. I have been a vegetarian since 1987 and finally my husband has decided to join me. I need to make things that will convince him that this is the way to go. This should help! Thanks so much.

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