Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls

I recently heard the word “flexitarian” used to describe a fellow food blogger’s eating habits. After learning more about the word, it seems to describe my diet perfectly. I eat vegetarian most of the time, reserving meat only for when I really crave it. In my case, that means I’m eating meat once or twice a week (sometimes less). My husband is the same way. Growing up in Israel, his mom cooked lots of vegetarian dishes like eggplant, hummus, and shakshuka. One of his favorite snacks was a simple slice of freshly baked bread toasted on the stovetop and dipped in olive oil and salt. We’re happiest with a simple dinner of eggplant stew or lentils with rice. Our eating habits change around the holidays, when we tend to splurge a bit. I love cholent or a well-cooked brisket on occasion. But generally speaking, being a flexitarian feels right to my body. I don’t have trouble staying at a healthy weight, my cholesterol tests always come back perfect, I have lots of energy and I feel great.

While I love eating flexitarian-style, I can’t eat too much soy, which is a major meat-free protein source. Soy negatively effects my hormones, so I can only eat it sparingly. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been trying to work more quinoa into my diet; it’s a clean and healthy vegetarian source of protein. Native to South America, this ancient seed was once called “the gold of the Incas,” and was fed to their warriors to increase stamina. It’s been cultivated in the Andes for centuries, and was a major agricultural commodity in Inca and Aztec society. Only recently, quinoa has been “rediscovered” here in America, showing up on health food market shelves across the country. Quinoa is closely related to spinach; much like spinach, it is packed with nutrients. It is a terrific source of protein, amino acids, insoluble fiber, magnesium, riboflavin, and phytonutrients. Regular consumption of quinoa can improve your cardiovascular health, reduce the frequency of migraine headaches, and even decrease your risk of certain cancers. It’s also gluten free, which is helpful to people with Celiac disease and those who are on gluten-free diets.

With Cinco de Mayo coming up, I decided to feature a few Mexican-style dishes this week. This Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowl is the perfect flexitarian lunch or dinner. It’s a deconstructed burrito, loosely based on Chipotle’s burrito bowl. I’ve replaced rice with cilantro lime quinoa to add protein and nutrients. Black beans are simmered with onions, garlic, and spices for added flavor. I’ve listed several optional toppings, so you can make this bowl your own. Make it vegan-style with toppings like pico de gallo, tomatoes, corn, or guacamole. If you don’t mind adding dairy, try shredded jack or cheddar cheese, lowfat sour cream, or even Greek yogurt. Spice it up with hot sauce or sriracha. It’s good stuff, and loaded with nutrients… a simple, tasty meal you can feel good about!

Recommended Products

Organic Olive Oil from Israel

Citrus Juicer

Mesh Strainer

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Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder (mild)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (spicy)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • Salt

Optional Topping Ingredients

  • Grated cheddar or jack cheese
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Pico de gallo or salsa
  • Diced seeded tomatoes
  • Hot sauce or sriracha
  • Sliced avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Corn
Servings: 4
Kosher Key: Pareve or Dairy
  • Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a mesh strainer or sieve, drain.
  • Pour quinoa into a saucepan along with 2 cups of water. Bring the quinoa to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover the pot. Let the quinoa simmer for about 20 minutes till it becomes tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Keep a close eye to make sure the quinoa doesn't burn.
  • While quinoa is cooking, heat 1 tbsp of oil in another saucepan over medium heat. Pour minced onion into the saucepan and saute for a few minutes till it softens and begins to turn brown. Add the minced garlic to the pot and let it saute for 1-2 minutes longer till aromatic.
  • Add the black beans to the pot of onions along with 1/2 cup water, 2 tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Let the beans simmer for 15 minutes till the liquid is mostly evaporated. Stir in 2 tbsp of fresh lime juice. Season with salt to taste.
  • When the quinoa is fully cooked, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Use the fork to mix in 2 tbsp of chopped cilantro and 2 tbsp fresh lime juice. Season with salt to taste.
  • Assemble your burrito bowls. Divide the cilantro lime quinoa between four bowls.
  • Top each portion of quinoa with 1/4 cup of shredded lettuce.
  • Top each portion of lettuce with simmered black beans.
  • Top the black beans with your choice of Optional Topping Ingredients (ideas listed above).
  • Serve warm.

Comments (133)Post a Comment

  1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I thought I should let you know we make these OFTEN. We just add a tortilla and make it into a MASSIVE vegetarian burrito. The flavor is so great. And I love that the black bean mixture is like a very quick recipe for refried beans! It’s delicious! We use dry black beans and just cook them in the crock pot the night before so they’re ready. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Kristen, I don’t offer calorie breakdowns on my recipes. The nutrition calculators available online are not always reliable, and nutrition stats of various ingredients can vary from brand to brand (sodium content, calories, etc.). There are calorie calculators online you can use where you can plug in the specific brands you use. Just Google “calorie calculator” and you should get many results.

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks amazing and easy to make! Have you ever toasted your quinoa before rinsing it? I do it in a saute pan on medium heat, stirring occasionally until it turns light amber brown. It really adds another layer of flavor…nutty and satisfying. Plus it’s fun to listen to them popping gently as they finish toasting.

  3. I’ll be borrowing your new word. I usually refer to myself as a part time vegetarian but flexitarian has a much nicer ring :) thx for recipe!

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Just discovered your site while researching black bean recipes. I am doing a cleanse which involves eating lots of beans and rice :) so was glad to find your recipe! I made this with organic black beans I had soaked and cooked the night before (tastes waaaay better than canned!) and red quinoa. Your recipe was delicious. Thank you! I cannot have cheese, so just topped it with fresh homemade salsa and lots of lime and cilantro. Superb!

  5. THIS WAS FABULOUS!!!! I made this for dinner and EVERYONE LOVED it! Even my 10 year old son. I did have to modify the veggies a bit since I didn’t have exactly what it called for. I sauted chopped zucchini and shredded carrot with the onion and garlic before adding the beans. Topped with a teensy bit of cheddar blend cheese and ff greek yogurt and home made guacamole. Will definitely be making these again. Oh… I also used red quinoa and cooked it in vegetable broth.

  6. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight. I did just what the recipe said and it was delicious.We both loved it. I’ll be making it again.

    1. Nancy, it’s sort of similar to couscous in texture. It’s not like tabbouleh (which is made with bulgur), it is more tender and dainty in texture and has a different flavor. Like couscous, it’s not much on it’s own– it’s all about what you combine it with. :)

  7. Thank you! The recipe sounds good and full of good healthy protein so I will give it a try. Who knows, I might like it! I eat less and less meat but still need low fat alternatives.

  8. Forgot to mention the brown rice. I had cooked quinoa in the freezer, left over brown rice in the fridge, a perfect avocado, a lime, I had to make it! My son´s comment: “you have to tell my sister about this.” It was fabulous. Thanks!

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