Summer Caribbean Bowls: Marinated Chicken Thighs with Black Beans and Plantains

Summer Caribbean Bowls: Marinated Chicken Thighs with Black Beans and Plantains

It’s hard to beat a late summer dinner. Lingering daylight, a crowded table on the porch, and a hearty meal with plenty to go around; enjoying good food with friends well into the night is perhaps the best part of the season.

I can never get enough plantains in my life, and I’m always looking for more ways to serve them. These Caribbean-inspired bowls are a go-to for summer entertaining, with a sweet and spicy chicken marinade, fried sweet plantains, charred collards, and flavorful black beans. 

I’ve found that when preparing chicken, a marinade is almost like a cheat code; it’s a foolproof way to add flavor and moisture, and it’s (almost) impossible to mess it up on the grill. Warm spices, lime, soy sauce, and a subtle kick from the jalapeño makes this one of my all-time favorites.

9" Chef Knife With Ingredients
8” Chef Knife is the perfect do-it-all tool for chopping ingredients for a marinade, as well as slicing through the tough skin of a plantain. While some of the longer chef knives definitely feel more powerful for tackling bigger kitchen projects, I find the sleek 8” to be a lot more versatile (and a little more friendly). It’s precise and easy to maneuver, and it’s got wicked chopping and prepping capabilities; it transitions really easily from dicing up a large melon to opening up an avocado. For this meal, I did all my prep work with this one knife and it worked out beautifully. 

Chicken On The Grill
I love letting the chicken crisp up on the grill, so even though the inside stays tender and moist it can be nice to cut up the thighs with a steak knife, and New West KnifeWorks’ signature serration design cuts through meat like butter. I honestly hadn’t thought of using a steak knife for chicken much before, but I’ll definitely be reaching for them more often. And who needs another excuse to whip out the beautiful G-Fusion Steak Knife?

9" Chef
These bowls may seem like they have a lot going on, and when you’ve got a crowded kitchen and hungry guests it can certainly feel like a lot to prepare on your own. I’ve found that it’s definitely all about the prep work. The chicken can marinate for a few hours if needed, so I usually prep it midday and keep it in the fridge to minimize all the chopping and mixing when we’re trying to get dinner on the table. It also makes a really fun group meal; I love serving these in the summer when we have lots of guests over and I can delegate tasks, sending one friend to watch over the grill, another to tend to the beans. It doesn’t take long to have a big feast on the table! 

Lily Krass Recipe
Marinated Chicken Thighs with Black Beans and Plantains
Serves 3-4

Marinated Chicken:

  • 2 ½ lb. bone-in chicken thighs
  • ⅓ cup lime or lemon juice
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half
  • 1 jalapeño, roughly chopped with stem removed
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. allspice powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon 

Black Beans, Plantains, & Greens:

  • 1 14 oz. can black beans
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ½ small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 ripe plantains, sliced
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1 bunch collard greens or kale

For serving:

  • 1 lime, sliced
  • ¼ cup cotija cheese
  • 2 cups cooked white or brown rice


    1. Add all the ingredients for the chicken marinade to a food processor or large blender and process until the mixture becomes a thick paste.
    2.  Place chicken into a gallon plastic bag or wide bowl. Pour marinade over chicken, cover it, and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 
    3. Preheat your grill to 400°F. (You can also bake the chicken in the oven at 400°F for 35 to 40 minutes). 
    4. Grill chicken for 6-8 minutes on each side, until a thermometer reads 165°F and the outside is nice and crispy.
    5. Add the black beans to a separate pot and heat to medium. Add ½ tsp. salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin and stir well. Add white onions and garlic and let simmer.  
    6. Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium high with 2 Tbsp. coconut oil.
    7. Once oil is melted, add plantains and cook until brown on each side, but still soft, about 2 minutes. Transfer them to a plate with a paper towel on top and add remaining coconut oil and plantains.  
    8. Melt butter in the same cast-iron skillet and add shallot. Once the shallot is fragrant, add the collards (and/or kale). Sauté until wilted and beginning to char, adding salt to taste. 
    9. Serve all together over rice in a very large bowl with plenty of cotija cheese and lime. 

      Lily KrassLily Krass is a freelance storyteller and recipe developer based in Jackson, Wyoming. In addition to writing for ski and outdoor publications like SKI, Powder, and Outside Magazine, she also co-authored a cookbook: Beyond Skid: A Cookbook For Ski Bums, a collection of recipes inspired by life in a mountain town.
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