I call this my California vegetarian burrito bowl: it’s nothing fancy, but it’s a favorite of mine. It’s rather easy to make, adaptable and healthy. This one-bowl meal is a great, reliable option for busy nights when you need something fast that’s not from the freezer. This is also a great meal option for my many friends who have kids in competitive sports, making it almost impossible to serve everyone in the house a meal at the same time.
With most of the work done in advance, kids can then easily assemble their own burrito bowls and re-heat them when they are ready to eat, making less work for mom and dad. Burrito bowls have become vastly popular these days; if you look around, you see them everywhere. The restaurant chain Chipotle first popularized the burrito bowl and amazingly now sells more of these than burritos. This is not so surprising as the trend of high protein, low-carb diets has gained mainstream acceptance and has shown no sign of stopping.
The one-bowl meal is also appealing for people on-the-run, or as an easy grab-and-go lunch option. I enjoy a good burrito bowl but as with a salad, I like fresh ingredients and I like them to look attractive. This recipe has brown rice, which you can easily exclude if you are carb conscious. (Brown rice has a similar glycemic profile to white rice, but it contains more fiber and nutrients.)
This is also a vegetarian recipe but you can also easily add additional protein such as grilled steak, shrimp, chicken, fish or tofu if desired. For those who need to make this a super fast meal option, try using pre-made frozen organic brown rice, available at most grocery stores, which can help save more prep time.
California Vegetarian Burrito Bowl
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 bag riced cauliflower (available now at most grocery stores)
- 1 can black beans, seasoned and heated
- 5 cups spinach, packed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack or spicy Pepper Jack cheese
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/2 cup your favorite spicy salsa
- tortilla chips
- cilantro leaves, for garnish
- sour cream, for garnish
- Step 1 For the cauliflower: In a large sauce pan, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the riced cauliflower and sauté, stirring occasionally, until cooked thoroughly, about 6-7 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Note, if pre-made riced cauliflower is unavailable, make your own by placing florets in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until cauliflower is ground into fine bits that looks like rice.
- Step 2 For the spinach: In a large saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil until hot, but not smoking. When hot, add the spinach and wilt/lightly sauté for just a few minutes. Drain and reserve.
- Step 3 To assemble the burrito bowl, try to work quickly while everything is warm. I suggest using two large shallow bowls. Spoon some cooked rice on the bottom to start. Add a generous scoop of the cauliflower rice into the bowl. Working in a circle, spoon some black beans next to the cauliflower. Place some sautéed spinach next to the beans. Place some diced avocado next to the spinach and some shredded cheese next to the avocado.
- Step 4 Top with a generous dollop of spicy salsa and some sour cream.
- Step 5 Add some tortilla chips for scooping and fresh cilantro leaves to garnish.