Sunday, July 21, 2013

Julienned Zucchini Vegan Mexican Bowl with Black Beans, Avocado, Tomato, Poblano, and Lime

This Vegan Mexican Bowl with barely-cooked zucchini is perfect when it's really too hot to cook.

Julienned Zucchini Vegan Mexican Bowl with Black Beans, Avocado, Tomato, Poblano, and Lime

In Utah it's expected to hit 104F this week, and it seems likely we're going to set a record this summer for the most days above 100F.  I hear some people lose their appetite when the weather is extra hot, but that never happens to me; in fact when summer produce is abundant I'm always thinking up new ways to use it.  My latest experiment was this Julienned Zucchini Vegan Mexican Bowl with Black Beans, Avocado, Tomato, Poblano, and Lime, and the fact that the only cooking involved was 2-3 minutes to quickly saute the julienned zucchini made this a great hot-weather dish.   If you like zucchini and you're looking for a light summer meal where you don't need to heat up the kitchen, I bet you might enjoy this as much as I did.

I did make this with Meatless Monday in mind, but I actually didn't realize the dish was vegan until I was eating it, (and this could also easily be Paleo just by leaving out the beans and using a bit more tomato in the salsa mixture.)  One thing I would not substitute is the chopped fresh Poblano chile pepper, which adds fantastic flavor to the black bean, avocado, tomato, and lime mixture.  I'm falling in love with these dark green chiles, which are often called Pasilla peppers in U.S. grocery stores.  (To see more meatless recipes, use the label Meatless Monday or check Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index. You can also find meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch, follow our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest, or check Meatless Monday at BlogHer.)

Rinse black beans and let them drain while you make the dressing. (Omit beans for Paleo version.)

Zest one of the limes and then squeeze the juice.  (You need 5 tablespoons lime juice total, probably 3 limes.) 

Whisk together lime zest, 3 tablespoons of the lime juice, olive oil, Spike Seasoning, ground cumin, and chile powder to make the dressing.

Toss the drained black beans with 2 tablespoons of dressing.

Peel and dice the avocado and toss with 1 tablespoon lime juice.

Cut up the tomato and toss with the black beans.

I used this wonderful Progressive International Vegetable Chopper to chop the Poblano into very small pieces, but you can definitely chop it by hand.  (This pepper is fairly mild, but still be careful about washing your hands after you handle it and don't touch your eyes or face.)

Stir the finely diced Poblano into the tomato/black bean mixture.

Then add the diced avocado and enough dressing to moisten the mixture and gently combine.  (Save at least 2 tablespoons of dressing to season the zucchini.)

Using an inexpensive Julienne Cutter made it easy, although you can also use a Mandoline Slicer or grater to julienne the zucchini. (Edited to add: I later shared Three Ways to Make Noodles from Zucchini or Other Vegetables; that post might be helpful.)

Heat the oil and saute the garlic just until it's fragrant; then discard the garlic.

Add the julienned zucchini and saute 1-2 minutes, just until it start to soften. 

Then stir in a tablespoon of dressing and saute zucchini about 1 minute longer.  To serve, divide the sauteed zucchini mixture among bowls and top with the black bean mixture.  

Julienned Zucchini Vegan Mexican Bowl with Black Beans, Avocado, Tomato, Poblano, and Lime
(Makes about 4 servings; recipe created by Kalyn when it was really hot but she still wanted to experiment with zucchini.)

Salsa Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained well
2 medium avocados, peeled and diced
2 T lime juice (to toss with avocado)
1 large Poblano chile, seeds removed and finely diced
1 cup diced tomato

Dressing Ingredients:
Zest of one lime
3 T lime juice
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Spike Seasoning
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chile powder

4 medium zucchini, julienne sliced
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, sliced
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Drain the beans into a colander placed in the sink, rinse well with cold water, and let beans drain while you make the dressing.

Zest one lime, then squeeze the juice as well as additional limes to make 5 tablespoons lime juice.  Save 2 tablespoons lime juice for the avocado; mix 3 T lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, Spike Seasoning, ground cumin, and chile powder to make the dressing.

Put drained beans into a bowl big enough to hold all the salsa mixture and stir in 2 T dressing.  Peel and dice the avocado and toss with 2 T lime juice (in a separate bowl.)  Chop tomatoes and toss with the beans.  Cut off stem and remove seeds from the Poblano pepper, finely dice the pepper, and toss with the beans.  Then gently stir the avocado with lime juice and enough dressing to moisten it into the salsa mixture, saving at least 2 tablespoons of the dressing to season the zucchini.

Use a Julienne Cutter, Mandoline Slicer, or other tool to make the noodles.  (After I posted this I shared Three Ways to Make Noodles from Zucchini or Other Vegetables. That post might be helpful.  Now that I have a Spiralizer, I would definitely prefer that. )

Unless you have a huge wok-type pan, I would saute the zucchini in two batches.  Heat half the oil over high heat, add half the sliced garlic, and saute the garlic just until it's fragrant, about 1 minute.  Remove the garlic and immediately add half the julienned zucchini to the seasoned oil.  Saute 1-2 minutes, just until the zucchini is starting to soften, then stir in 1 tablespoon of the dressing and saute about 1 minute more.  Season zucchini to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Repeat with the other half of the zucchini if you're making all four servings.

To serve, divide the sauteed zucchini among bowls and top with a generous scoop of the black bean mixture.

If you're not making four servings at once, don't julienne or saute the zucchini until right before you're going to eat it.  The black bean mixture will keep in the fridge for a day or two.  (I ate some of mine over scrambled eggs, which was also delicious!)

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South Beach Suggestions:
Everything used here is a low-glycemic ingredient, and this would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet.  (Beans are limited in serving size for Phase One, so don't eat more than the recommended serving if you're making this for Phase One.) 

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Meatless Zucchini Recipes:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Zucchini Ribbon Salad (Plus a fantastic e-book of 23 Zucchini Recipes) ~ The Perfect Pantry

Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini with Brown Rice, Black Beans, Chiles, Cheddar, and Cotija Cheese ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Persian Baked Zucchini ~ Herbivoracious

Zucchini and Green Chile Breakfast Casserole ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Summer Veggie Stuffed Zucchini ~ Mountain Mama Cooks

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. We've been having some crazy heat here's not 104 but it feels like it with the humidity. A recipe with barely any stove time sounds good to me! Especially one as colorful as this!

  2. Until recently, poblano peppers weren't that easy to find here in the northeast unless I went to a Latino market. Now, my regular grocery store carries them, and I've been using them more and more. Thanks for linking to my zucchini ribbon salad -- aren't zucchini strips fun?

  3. Joanne and Lydia, ever since I got the julienne peeler, I'm a huge fan of julienned zucchin, but this might be my favorite way to use it so far!

  4. Love the sound of this recipe. However, I'm such a klutz with the Julienne peeler, I'm seriously thinking about getting one of the spiralizer machines. Have you ever tried one?

  5. I haven't tried the spiralizer machine. I find the julienne peeler is easy if you do one end of the zucchini all the way around, then flip over and do the other end. Maybe I should make a video of it (ha!)

  6. I've got a "spiralizer" that I used to use to make zucchini pasta - going to have to dig it out. Such a pretty presentation Kalyn!

  7. Jeanette, sounds like I need to check into a spiralizer, although I have loved my little julienne peeler. And the price was right!

  8. I honestly would have thought you'd used one of those spiral slicer thingies for the zucchini because they look so perfect. I'd love to try that julienne peeler! It's a gorgeous meal.

  9. Thanks Carolyn! I am in love with the julienne peeler, and so inexpensive compared to buying a spiralizer. I think the spiralizer might be easier for some things, but this works great on zucchini.

  10. I gotta say that I am loving your "barely cooked" idea for zucchini- it really is so much better than mushy or raw - the perfect balance!

  11. Thanks Donna. I love this type of zucchini, no matter what you put on it.

  12. I love your take on zucchini noodles! I can only eat cold food lately too!!

  13. Thanks Becky. And I agree, it is so hot for hot food. This is not cold, but it's about room temp when you eat it.

  14. Oh, I must try this. I go meatless once a week and this recipe will be the one I try next!
    Thank you for posting it.

  15. Kalyn, I have one of those fancy spiral cutters, and guess what? I lost the blades during our move last year! Then, last week I realized amazon has the replacement blades for sale, so as soon as they arrive, I want to make "zucchini noodles" to celebrate :-) I might just use your recipe, since it's perfect for the weather

  16. Sally, good to know about the replacement bladeds. Hope you enjoy; I loved this recipe!


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