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.

Four seasonings to gift

There are three more days until Christmas, and since we can only head into stores for essential items, why not make a few spice blends that you can make from ingredients you most likely have in your pantry or can grab on a quick grocery run.

Jars & tags

You can make your blends and gift them in any type of packaging you’d like. I prefer mini 125 ml mason jars, because they are reusable and they also stack nicely if you want to gift a few different ones to the same person.

A cute handwritten tag with a list of ingredients and a few uses for the spice is also helpful for the recipient. Tie them on the jars with some jute, hemp or baker’s twine and you’re good to go!

Measuring out your blends

The first three blends are super easy to measure (equal parts of all ingredients) so I recommend using the amount of jars you want to make as a guideline. (I’ve included the exact measurements to make one jar.)

Everything Seasoning

You’ve seen it before. You’ve tried it before. The best thing about Everything Seasoning is that it literally goes on everything!

I love it on eggs, avocado toast, pizza pretzels and of course the traditional bagel. I typically like a salty Everything Seasoning but the salt affects the quality of the spice when mixed in, so I leave it out and just add salt whenever I use the seasoning. The recipe is equal parts of:

  • Dried minced onion
  • Dried minced garlic
  • Poppy seeds
  • Sesame seeds

To make one 125 ml jar, you will need 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of each ingredient.

Dilly Italian Seasoning

This is a great one to use as a marinade for chicken or pork, as a salad dressing or mixed with butter to make an herby garlic cheese toast.

You need to make sure when you’re jarring this one, that you fill each jar one scoop at a time, alternating jars, as the dill tends to fall to the bottom of the bowl when you mix it. It’s also important to use the dried minced onion and garlic, as the powder equivalents fall to the bottom of the jar. Doing this ensures you have equal distribution of all the herbs. The recipe is equal parts of:

  • Dried minced onion
  • Dried minced garlic
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Dill

To make one 125 ml jar, you will need one tablespoon of each ingredient.

Simple Seasoning Salt

In our house, the kids refer to this as “Fry Spice”. This is a great basic seasoning to use on fries, hash browns, meat, fish, and a great multipurpose spice for a sheet pan meal. The recipe is equal parts of:

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika

To make one 125 ml jar, you will need one tablespoon of each ingredient.

Taco Seasoning

This taco seasoning requires some more precise measurements, to get the flavour just right. This blend tastes almost exactly like the store-bought version, minus the excess salt & preservatives. Three heaping tablespoons is approximately the same as one package of store-bought taco seasoning. This is a great cost-effective option if your family eats tacos as much as mine do. Blending this seasoning with some lime juice , white vinegar and olive oil, also makes a great dressing for a fiesta salad.

  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried chilies

I also gifted another seasoning for shawarma that is very flavourful. You can find the recipe on my Tried & True Pinterest Board.

Gift yourself

Even if you don’t have anyone to gift these to, why not make a few batches for yourself?