How to make a burrito bowl

One of my favorite weeknight meals is a burrito bowl because it’s easy to switch up the protein and flavors and it’s easy to deconstruct for the kids, who aren’t always into spicy foods, or foods touching each other on their plates.

The Rice

The rice is the base for this burrito bowl. You can use white or brown rice, or even quinoa if you prefer. If you want to prep this ahead of time on the weekend for a quicker weeknight meal, you can cook the rice in two different ways.

  1. Cook plain rice, then season it in a skillet when you’re ready prepare dinner.
  2. Cook the rice with the seasoning in the water. (Don’t use this method if you’re using fresh ingredients like cilantro and lime to season the rice.)

I prefer the first method and here’s why. The kids don’t love the seasoning, so I usually add corn and black beans to the rice in the pan, set some aside for the kids, then season the rest for us.

My favorite ways to season the rice are:

The Veggies

I like to add corn, black beans and diced red peppers to mine. You could also add onion, garlic or jalapeno if you want. Again, to make weeknight preparation quicker, chop your veggies ahead of time and rinse and drain your beans. This reduces some of the steps for busy weeknights.

The “Meat”

The picture shown above is a vegetarian version of a burrito bowl with roasted sweet potato. When I say “meat” I mean anything to add more texture to your bowl. Pulled pork or jackfruit, barbacoa beef, shredded chicken, grilled shrimp or fish and spicy chorizo are all excellent options. Consider providing a few different protein options if you’re going to serve these buffet style and allow everyone to choose their own toppings.

The Toppings

The sky is the limit on toppings. I like to use fresh or pickled ingredients to top my burrito bowls. Pickled jalapenos, banana peppers or onions pair well with avocado or guacamole. You can even add some fresh salsas like this tomatillo salsa or this pineapple salsa.

The Finishing Touch

No burrito bowl is complete without crispy tortilla chips and a bit of shredded cheese. You can also top it with your favorite hot sauce, some chimichurri or a drizzle of sour cream.

Meal Prep Tips

Here are few meal prep tips you can use to save some time in the kitchen when making these burrito bowls:

  • Cook, portion and freeze meat when you bring it home from the store
  • Pre-chop veggies
  • Rinse and drain black beans
  • Pre-cook rice
  • If using fresh salsa, make it ahead of time
  • Make extra and take them for lunch the next day
  • Use leftover cooked rice from a previous meal

If you like bowl-style foods, check out these Back-to-school lunch bowls with maple tahini sauce for another quick meal idea.

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