Cha Cha Bowls

Circle B Kitchen

The original Cha Cha bowl served at AT&T park in San Francisco (go Giants!!) didn’t include avocado, cilantro or lime wedges, but those are no-brainer additions and make these rice bowls extra delicious! The recipe here may look rather long and involved, but each component is pretty simple to make. Make the beans a day or two ahead of time to cut down on same day prep. You can certainly use canned beans if you prefer, but cooking them up from their dried state brings a lot more flavor to the party. Most jerk marinades will be fairly spicy, so adjust the heat levels of the beans and the salsa to your own preferences.

Makes approximately 4 cha cha bowls

Black Beans

1 lb dried black beans

½ of a large onion, cut in half through root end

1 large clove garlic, smashed

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon chile powder

1 or 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped fine (or more to taste)

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Pour the dried beans onto a baking sheet, and pick out any small stones or debris.

Place the beans in a heavy pot and cover with about 4-5 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil.

Boil for 2 minutes and then remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for about an hour and a half.

Drain the beans.

To the pot add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the cumin, coriander, oregano and chile powder. Saute until the spices are fragrant and then return the beans to the pot along with about 3 or 4 cups of water.

Partially cover the pot, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the beans simmer for about 2 hours.

Remove from the heat and let the beans sit for about an hour to finish absorbing the liquid. Taste for salt and seasonings and then stir in the cilantro.

*If using canned beans...

2 cans of black beans

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 chipotle in adobo sauce (or more if you prefer)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Drain the beans and rinse them well. Set aside

Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and saute for until softened. Add the garlic and the remaining spices to the oil. Saute until fragrant, about 3 - 5 minutes and then add the beans along with 3/4 to 1 cup of water. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let simmer for at least an hour, longer if possible.

Taste the beans for salt and seasonings, adjust if needed, and stir in the cilantro. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Zucchini Pineapple salsa

1 medium zucchini, grated

1 small-ish carrot, grated

1 cup diced fresh pineapple

2 (or 3) green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)

1 or 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced

½ cup chopped cilantro

¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

Grate the zucchini and place on a paper towel to remove some of the moisture. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and store covered in the fridge until needed, but no longer than a couple of hours. Bring to room temp before serving.


You will need about 4-5 cups of cooked rice. I like to use brown jasmine rice, but choose whatever rice you’d like. Add 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic (or garlic powder) along with the salt to the water before adding the rice.

For the Chicken

Note: I used a prepared Jerk marinade, but if you’d like to make your own, here’s Bob Marley’s recipe. A stovetop grill pan works great to cook the chicken if you can’t use an outdoor grill.

1 ½ - 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts

1 cup Jamaican Jerk marinade

Place the chicken in a bowl or Ziploc bag with the marinade for at least 1 hour, but preferably longer. If marinading for longer than an hour, place in the fridge.

Heat an outdoor grill to medium high heat and grill the chicken breasts until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side, depending on their thickness. Do not overcook the meat. (These can easily be grilled on a stovetop grill pan)

Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes and then cut into large-ish chunks.

To Serve:

1 large or 2 medium avocados, diced

chopped fresh cilantro

Lime wedges

Place some rice in the bottom of each bowl. Top the rice with some beans and then the chunks of chicken. Top this with a good amount of the zucchini salsa and then the diced avocado and a good sprinkle of chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.