A visit to New Orleans begs me to discover a new eating adventure, so I have developed the habit of reaching out to a chef friend for dining advice each time I venture into the Big Easy. On one such occasion, Chef Alex Eaton, Executive Chef at The Manship Wood-Fired Kitchen in Jackson, suggested we make brunch reservations at the uptown bistro, Atchafalaya.

My wife ordered a Cuban Rice Bowl, and from that moment on, we’ve been putting our own spin on this inspiration at home. It’s a simple vegetarian meal to pop together, and it scales to feed any amount of guests easily. It’s comfort food – one that takes me to a warmer place in my mind each time I enjoy it.

At Atchafalaya, our bowl was served with a side of link sausage, a fried egg and fried plantains sticking out of the bowl to give the entire dish whimsical flair. At home, we often top our bowl with an egg, sunny side up, a strip of good bacon and seasonal fruit. And sometimes, we serve the meal with a “toppings bar” to accommodate the preferences of picky eaters.

Check out the recipe in the right sidebar.


Tips & Tricks

This is a great dish for the “empty the fridge” game we all have to play from time to time to avoid food waste that is far to common to our American culture. With that in mind, let this recipe inspire you to be bold in your experimentation. Have fun – and enjoy!

  • Try it with different types of beans – think black eyed peas!
  • Mix up the vegetables. We’ve often stirred arugula and kale into hot rice to wilt – and incorporate it or added sauteed Vidalias, poblano or red bell peppers to the toppings.
  • Add an egg. We often top our bowl with a fried egg with a nice runny center. Yum!
  • Be cheesy. Use whatever leftover cheese is in the fridge – from feta to goat cheese to shredded Monterey Jack – in lieu of Queso Fresco.
  • Add a side of hash. Dice and broil random potatoes or sweet potatoes with olive oil, leftover herbs and diced onions for a quick side dish.
  • Meat lovers rejoice. Add leftover taco meat, grilled chicken or holiday ham to the bowl for a meatier meal.

Andy Chapman

Andy Chapman is an “eatie” not a “foodie.” In 2009, while working as a business marketing consultant, Andy discovered his passion for enjoying and sharing good food when he began tweeting anonymously...