Cowgirl Plate

Are you ready for a big plate of deliciousness today?

Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

How was everyone’s Valentine’s Day? Was it all that you expected or not quite what you had hyped it up to be?


We had a fantastic day. I took a WHOLE DAY off from working on the blog (a rare phenomenon lately), my man made me a delicious breakfast and then recommended I go get a massage. I came home to this and then we went to the beach to enjoy the beautiful 80-degree weather before we went out to dinner at a cute little place in town called Scarlett Begonia. The perfect day in my book. Now we just need to remember to have days like that even when it’s not a Hallmark holiday!

So back to the subject of the recipe I want to share with you today. You might want to buckle your seatbelt and hold on tight for this wild ride I’m about to take you on. Best thing about the Cowgirl Plate? Even though it has a few different components, they are all super easy to make. It’s one of those things where you’re like, “I didn’t know something so simple could be so delicious!”

Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

But, before we get to the recipe itself, a little backstory. This is a dish that my fiancé and his friends would actually go out on “man dates” for to a little lounge-y, upscale Mexican restaurant here in Santa Barbara. There are a few things that may surprise you about very tall, athletic manly men specifically going out to order this Cowgirl Plate:

  1. It’s vegetarian (I don’t know about you but it’s quite the feat to get my meat-lovin’ man to eat anything vegetarian. It’s got to be darnnnn good.)
  2. It’s HEALTHY. When was the last time your man was like “Hey babe, I’m going out with the dudes tonight to get a healthy and nutritious meal.” I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but I’m guessing that doesn’t happen too often.

Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

So we had this local restaurant, we had this Cowgirl Plate, we had this great excuse for a healthy meal and then something tragic happened. The restaurant decided to “rebrand” itself and go in a different direction and, much to our dismay, the owner told us the Cowgirl Plate would not be coming back. Talk about a MAJOR disappointment.

We tried begging the owner for the recipe, but he was keeping it under lock and key, so I decided to take it into my own hands and recreate it. Now, my version of the Cowgirl Plate is not EXACTLY like the restaurant’s, but I must say it’s pretty darn close and has my own little personal spin to it.

We start with mashed sweet potatoes. But these aren’t just any mashed sweet potatoes. These are magically enhanced with orange juice and a little brown sugar. The tart sweetness that this provides is the perfect contrast to the rest of the dish.

Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

Then we move on to our cilantro rice. If you’re a cilantro-hater, make plain rice, but let me tell you as a cilantro-lover, this rice takes the whole dish to the next level on the flavor spectrum.

Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

Now let’s talk about the beans. Because we’re lazy and want all of this to be easy, we take canned black beans (and even the juice in the can…no draining and rinsing here!) and spice them up a bit with some onion, garlic and tomato. Flavor bomb!

Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

But the beans aren’t quite enough protein for us. Now we need to cook up some eggs (you choose the style!) to really add some bang for our buck.

Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

To finish off the dish, we need to make a simple green salad with an easy olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette. We’ve got so many other flavors going on in this Cowgirl Plate, we do not need to overcomplicate things.

Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

One last step – and please don’t skip this. We need to caramelize some onions. And we need to add just a leeetle bit of balsamic glaze to really sweeten these puppies up. This is the perfect final garnish for the amazingness of flavors that is called the Cowgirl Plate.

Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

So what do you say? Are you ready to make this right this instant? If you’re lucky enough to have the day off for President’s Day, this would be the perfect light meal to wind down the holiday weekend. Forget about how healthy it is, it is soooo tasty and you will go to bed ready for work tomorrow and dreaming of the next time you can work a Cowgirl Plate into your dinner (or breakfast, or lunch) rotation.

Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

BRB. I’m going to dig into some leftovers right now.

Cowgirl Plate

Yield: Serves 2 (with various leftovers)

A tasty, healthy, vegetarian dish hearty enough for even the biggest appetite.

Ingredients

    For the mashed sweet potatoes:
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into sixths
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    For the cilantro rice:
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    For the black beans:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • ¼ of a white onion, diced (you will use the other ¾ of the onion for the caramelized onions)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 – 15-ounce cans black beans (do not drain or rinse)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
    For the caramelized onions:
  • ¾ of a white onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
    For the eggs:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4-5 eggs
    For the salad:
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    To make the mashed sweet potatoes:
  1. Bring sweet potatoes to a boil in a large pot of water. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Drain water. Add butter, milk, orange juice and brown sugar to pan. Using a hand mixer (or you could also mash the potatoes by hand), whip the potatoes until all ingredients are combined and mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    To make the cilantro rice:
  1. Place jasmine rice in a small saucepan with chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to low and place a lid on the pan. Allow to cook for 10 more minutes. Once rice is cooked, stir in cilantro.
    To make the black beans:
  1. Heat olive (or avocado) oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until onions are translucent and fragrant. Add garlic, stir to combine. Add black beans and their juices from the can; stir in tomatoes. Bring heat down to medium-low. Let beans simmer for 30-45 minutes. You want their starches to release so the juices thicken up a bit.
    To make the caramelized onions:
  1. Melt butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add onions. Add balsamic glaze and stir to coat. Lower heat to medium-low. Cook onions slowly on low heat until they are soft and caramelized, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
    To make the eggs:
  1. Cook the eggs in any way you’d like!
    To make the salad:
  1. Toss all salad ingredients together in a small bowl.
    To assemble the Cowgirl Plate:
  1. Place a heaping scoop of the mashed sweet potatoes in one corner of a large oval plate. Next, spoon the cilantro rice in sort of a diagonal across the middle of the plate. To the other side of the rice (not the same side with the potatoes), spoon on the black beans. These will essentially take over the whole half of this plate. The rice will serve as a dam between the beans and the rest of the plate. Next, arrange the salad on the other quarter of the plate that is on the side with the potatoes. Top salad with caramelized onions. Top entire plate with eggs.
  2. When eating, I highly recommend you completely mess up the plating described above and mix every component together.
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Cowgirl Plate | CaliGirl Cooking

All of the feels.

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