Red Beans and Plantains from Burundi

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Red Beans and Plantains is a 30-minute recipe from Burundi made with… you guessed it, red beans and plantains! It is flavored with cinnamon and cumin to give it a toasty, homey flavor. It then simmers on the stove to soften the plantains and allow the flavors to combine. SO GOOD!

Well everybody, I’m off. I’m sitting on an airplane on my way to the Tastemaker Conference right now!!! Okay, this has nothing to do with Red Beans and Plantains (if you want info about that, scroll down a few paragraphs), but I want to recap the little 12:20 am rant I had on instagram a few days ago. Sorry for those of you that have already heard this, but I’m talking about it again because it’s IMPORTANT.

Headed to the Tastemaker Conference

Okay SO, about 6 months ago, I signed up for the Tastemaker Conference in Portland, Oregon. It’s a food blogger conference that brings together food bloggers from around the country and allows for networking, breakout sessions, etc. etc. etc. You know… normal conference things. 

I wasn’t sure if I should go… The conference was halfway across the country, I had to pay for flights, it was on the weekend of my birthday, blah, blah, blah. Long story short, I pulled trig and bought the tickets. WOOHOO!!!

But no, at the time it was not woohoo. At the time it was “what the f*@k am I doing?” I had been a food blogger for about 6 months when I had bought the tickets, and I hadn’t made a SINGLE dollar off of my blog. Every day I was waking up at 4am and going to bed at midnight to work on the blog around work, but I felt like a phony. I felt like I was going to be around people that were making a living at this, and I was just some lame hobbyist that was going to show up.. 

(All of this was DUMB to think btw. Just because I wasn’t making money yet didn’t mean I was a phony. In fact, it probably meant I was a more dedicated food blogger than most lol.)

Setting Goals

I made it my goal to make ONE dollar by the time I went to Portland. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I told myself that I would make one single dollar before I left. A few months before, it still hadn’t happened, and I started to worry.

But alas, I leave tomorrow, with more than one dollar from my blog in my pocket. How did I make it happen? I set it as a GOAL. I told myself that I wanted to make something happen, so I did. I worked at it like it was GOING to happen, so that way, when all was said and done, it did. Not just because I said it. But because, once I said it, I worked my booty off for it. 

Once I set my mind to something, there’s no way I’m not going to achieve it. And this is not from something magical in the air that says, “once you make a goal, *POOF!* the fairies will make it come true”. No, this is because once I set a goal, I work at it until it’s achieved, even if it feels like something that is so far away, I’ll never get there. 

So, my friends. The point of this post is just to tell you that you can do it. Whatever it is you want to achieve, you can do it! Set it as a goal, work at it like it’s already going to happen, and you will get there. YOU CAN DO IT. And don’t let you tell yourself that you can’t. 

Okay, Let’s Get On to the Red Beans and Plantains 

So as we learned in my introduction to Burundi, meat accounts for only about 2% of the average diet in this country. Farming is the main job across the country, but raising livestock is not a strong suit amongst the Burundis. Instead, the people of Burundi have to get whatever protein they can from plant-based meals. Which why we’re making Red Beans and Plantains today! 

I cooked Burkina Faso and Burundi in one weekend, and I must admit… this was my favorite dish of them all. Don’t get me wrong, the other ones were good. But there was just something about this recipe– the delicious, homey flavor of cinnamon mixed with cumin– that made my mouth turn up into an immediate smile when I ate this dish! 

Where to Find Plantains for Red Beans and Plantains

Don’t let the word “plantains” scare you in this recipe. If you’ve ever been in the bananas section in your local grocery store, you’ll know that plantains are actually quite easy to find! Plantains look like a banana, but taste more like a potato. They are very starchy and tough, and can’t really be enjoyed without cooking. Stewing the plantains in chicken stock softens them up and FILLS them with flavor. Oh god, I’m drooling just thinking about it. 

The best thing about this recipe is just that you need to put all of the ingredients in a pan at once, simmer for 25 minutes, and call it a day. How easy is that? I’ll answer that for you: MEGA easy. 

If you liked this recipe, make sure to leave a comment letting me know! Don’t forget, too, to post a picture on instagram and facebook with the hashtag #TheForeignFork and tag @TheForeignFork. If you liked this recipe, you might also like my recipe for Plantain Chips from The Bahamas or this recipe for Red Beans and Coconut Rice from Belize. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! I will see you next week for a great dessert recipe from Burundi.

Red Beans and Plantains

Red Beans and Plantains is a 30-minute recipe from Burundi made with… you guessed it, red beans and plantains! It is flavored with cinnamon and cumin to give it a toasty, homey flavor. It then simmers on the stove to soften the plantains and allow the flavors to combine. SO GOOD!

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Burundi
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cans red beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 plantains w black skin peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 1 c water
  • 2 tbsp cilantro


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan on the stove.
  2. Cook the onions over medium-high heat until they begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the beans, plantains, and seasonings. Stir to combine. Cook for about one minute.
  4. Add the stock and the water, and bring to a low boil.
  5. Leave uncovered at a low boil for about 20-25 minutes until only a little water is left.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and serve. Enjoy!
  7. Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you thought of the recipe.

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 

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