Tilapia & Black Bean Rice Bowl With Butternut Squash & Two Salsas

Rice bowls are starting to be a big thing these days, and there's a good reason. Take something a little saucy, something with some great texture, something with protein or some bite to it, arrange on top of rice, add the condiments of your choice, and enjoy your healthy, delicious, and filling meal! And you can keep all the components in the fridge for easy assembly whenever you like.

Tilapia and Black Bean Rice Bowl

Here we have a burrito/fish taco hybrid. Start with healthy brown rice, top with some black beans that are simmered with aromatics that really bring out their great flavor and texture, toss in some beautifully-spiced roasted butternut squash cubes, place a piece of crispy, pan-seared tilapia seasoned with Vanns Organic Taco Seasoning on top, then add not one but two kinds of fresh homemade salsa.

Spices used in this recipe

Salt, Kosher
Cinnamon Sticks
Cumin Ground
Cumin Ground
Chili Powder, Chipotle
Mexican Blast
Salt, Kosher
Salt, Kosher
Salt, Kosher
Taco Seasoning
Salt, Kosher


Black Beans:


Black Beans:

  1. The night before you want to make the dish, place the beans in a bowl, add 2 tsp. kosher salt, and cover with water. Soak overnight.
  2. The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Put them in a pot with the cinnamon stick. garlic cloves, ground cumin, and 2 tsp. kosher salt. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juices over the beans before adding the two orange halves to the pot. Cover the beans with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to gently simmer the beans until they are creamy and tender, 1-2 hours. Add more water if the tops of the beans become exposed.
  3. Remove the orange halves and increase the heat to a more energetic simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce that clings to the beans, about 10 minutes. Taste for salt.

Butternut Squash

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the squash cubes with the olive oil. Stir the spices and salt together in a small bowl until evenly combined, then pour the spice blend over the squash cubes and toss with your hands until evenly coated.
  2. Pour the squash out onto a large baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in the oven until tender, 30-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Tomatillo Salsa:

  1. Preheat the broiler. Place the whole tomatillos, onion half, whole jalapeño, and unpeeled garlic cloves on a baking sheet and broil until charred and softened, 10-15 minutes. You want the tomatillos to be collapsing and starting to release their juices, but not fully burnt and dehydrated.
  2. Allow the vegetables to cool for a few minutes. Peel the garlic cloves, and remove the stem from the jalapeño. For a milder salsa, remove the seeds as well. Pour the tomatillos and their juices into a food processor along with the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the cilantro and pulse until chopped and combined.
  3. Add salt, starting with 1 tsp. and tasting as you add more. Pour the salsa into a container and store in the fridge until ready to use. Taste for salt again before serving -- the fridge may dull the flavors slightly.

Note: You can use the same broiler method for a great roasted tomato salsa -- keep the amounts of ingredients the same, substituting tomatoes for tomatillos, and then add some lime juice at the end while blending, starting with 2 tsp. and adding more to taste.

Pico de Gallo:

  1. Season the chopped tomatoes with 1 tsp. kosher salt and toss to combine. Place in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and allow to drain for 20 minutes. Discard the liquid.
  2. Stir together the drained tomatoes, chopped onion, chopped jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice until evenly combined. Add salt to taste, and store in the fridge until ready to eat.


  1. Stir together Organic Taco Seasoning, kosher salt, and all-purpose flour until evenly combined. Place tilapia filets on a plate, and sprinkle with seasoned flour, coating both sides. Shake excess flour off gently.
  2. Heat a cast iron or aluminum skillet over high heat. Add ½ Tbs. vegetable oil and swirl to coat. When oil is hot but not smoking, gently place the filets in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side, until fish is just cooked through. Remove from heat.

To Assemble the Bowls:

Put ⅓ cup cooked brown rice at the bottom of each bowl. Add ⅓ cup of black beans to each, followed by a good scoop of butternut squash. Place ½ filet of tilapia on top of each bowl. 1-2 Tbs. of pico de gallo goes right in the middle, with a drizzle of tomatillo salsa on the fish. Serve with salsas on the side for even more flavor, with your hot sauce of choice if you want!

Serves 4.

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