I totally know your first question (because I definitely had the same one when I first saw this inspired dish on a restaurant menu)— what is a frijolada???
Let’s just clear that confusion up right away! So basically a frijolada a traditional Columbian dish that involves a bean stew, rice, egg, and avocado in some form or another. And usually some sort of meat, but obviously we’re nixing that today.
I first learned about this flavorful dish at that amazing mexican restaurant in Raleigh called Centro. If you happen to live in the Triangle area in North Carolina, or if you just so happen to make your way there at some point, this place is a MUST. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
First…. this dish!
Nate and I are constantly craving Mexican food, but we typically end up at the same spots— which can be a good thing because they’re always delicious, but once in a while we crave something new and unique. So we ventured to Raleigh searching for something exciting and found ourselves at this quaint, hip mexican joint.
As soon as I saw this three bean frijolada on the menu, I was so intrigued. I pictured myself munching on tacos that night (as I always do when we go mexican), but this was exactly the “unique” I was looking for. When my dish arrived, I was staring at a big, hearty bowl of three bean stew, topped with sautéed peppers, cilantro lime white rice, sliced avocado, and the most perfectly fried organic egg. I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about diving into my food!
And, believe me, it totally lived up to it’s looks. Each bite was spicy and tangy and creamy and fresh, with different flavors popping out with every spoonful. I was absolutely in love.
As soon as I got home, I immediately added this dish to my list to recreate. My version is obviously a bit different from Centro’s, but I was super happy with the flavor profiles I was able to coax out in this stew. I used a combination of black beans, red kidney beans, and chickpeas, along with some of my favorite warm spices like chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne.
I topped my stew off with the same medley of sautéed peppers and sliced avocado, but decided to go with a brown cilantro lime rice instead of white. Definitely didn’t miss the white rice one bit.
And of course, I couldn’t forget the fried egg. The way that creamy yolk mixes with the spicy stew is absolutely fantastic! Of course, if you’re vegan or egg-free, you can absolutely leave the egg off or substitute some baked tempeh. Totally work too.
Now before I let you go, I have to give one more shout out to Centro BECAUSE their salsa is literally one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. I don’t know if anyone else is a huge salsa fan out there, but I would probably eat this stuff by the bottle. It was not too thin, not too chunky, not too spicy, but not too mild, with that perfect touch of sweet and smokiness. Gahhh must recreate!! But something tells me it’ll never quite be the same…
Ok, I promise I’m done. But go make this! It can totally pass as a breakfast, lunch, OR dinner recipe and it’s bound to please ALL kinds of eaters. Have a wonderful rest of your week everyone!