If you are looking for a quick, simple, healthy and versatile lunch option you should give this Vegetarian Burrito Bowl a go. Brown rice with coriander/cilantro, soft and smoky refried black beans, zingy corn salsa and creamy guacamole are the main components. Optional toppings take these yummy bowls up a notch and include crunchy lettuce, sharp grated cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, and tabasco sauce.
This is a quick and simple recipe that is perfect for people on the go. You can create a tasty vegetarian burrito bowl in just 30 minutes. If you like to plan ahead, you'll be pleased to know that this is also a great recipe for meal prepping and packed lunches. I often make enough to last us for 2 to 3 days at the start of each week. Don't you just love it when lunch is sorted? I certainly do!
Key ingredients and possible alternatives
- Cooked brown rice - You can use microwaveable pre-cooked rice or boil up some dried brown rice. Quinoa and cauliflower rice are great if you want a healthy alternative.
- Canned black beans - these are fried in a little oil to soften them and seasoned with Mexican spices. You could use dried black beans but these will need to be cooked for a while first. Read the packet instructions. You can substitute black beans for pinto beans if you prefer.
- Ripe avocado - give your avocado a gentle squeeze before you purchase it if you can. It should be firm with a little give. Avoid soft or rock-hard avocados - they will not produce yummy guacamole.
Seasonings, herbs and sauces
- Chopped coriander/cilantro - brings a fragrant and citrusy freshness to the rice, corn salsa and guacamole.
- Lime juice - adds citrusy tartness to the rice, black beans, corn salsa and guacamole.
- Smoked paprika & garlic - brings umami and smoky taste to the black beans.
- Ground cumin - adds aromatic freshness to the corn salsa and black beans.
- Cayenne pepper - adds heat to the black beans and corn salsa. You may want to omit this if you are very sensitive to spice.
- White wine vinegar - brings a tanginess to the black beans and corn salsa. You can use red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead.
To serve (optional)
- Lettuce - cut romaine or iceberg lettuce into small strips to add an additional crunch.
- Tabasco sauce - I am personally a big fan of the green one and put it on most of my Mexican dishes.
- Fresh or jarred jalapenos - if you want to add a little more heat.
- Grated cheese - adds tangy saltiness and additional protein. Choose a hard cheese like cheddar.
- Sour cream - the coolness contrasts with the sharp and spicy flavours in the burrito bowl
How to make a Vegetarian Burrito Bowl
1. Prepare the rice
Place a frying pan on a medium heat and pour in a little oil. Add the rice when the oil is hot and stir in fresh coriander/cilantro and salt to taste. Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice and set aside.
2. Fry the black beans
Add a little more oil to the frying pan, add the black beans, smoked paprika, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and white wine vinegar and fry gently on a low to medium heat for 10 minutes until the beans are soft. When they are done remove them from the heat and stir in the lime juice.
3. Make the corn salsa
You can prepare the corn salsa while the black beans cook. Simply place the corn in a medium sized bowl and stir in the finely chopped red onion, fresh coriander/cilantro, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and lime juice.
Place the avocado, red onion, red chilli, coriander/cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, salt, pepper and sugar in the bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher and mix until the ingredients are incorporated. The texture should still be a little chunky. Feel free to mash more if you prefer a smoother guacamole.
Spoon a serving of rice into each bowl and then add portions of black beans, corn salsa and guacamole to each bowl. Top with shredded lettuce, grated cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, and Tabasco sauce as desired.
Tools and Equipment
You don't need any fancy kitchen tools to prepare a delicious vegetarian burrito bowl. Here are 3 key items.
- Medium-sized frying pan - for preparing the rice and cooking the black beans
- 2 medium mixing bowls - for preparing the corn salsa and guacamole
- Potato masher - I always use mine when I make guacamole and find it to be much more effective than a fork.
Top tips for a perfect Vegetarian Burrito Bowl
- Use pre-cooked microwaveable rice - it takes 20 minutes to boil brown rice so this is advisable if you are short on time. Of course, you can cook up some dry rice if you prefer.
- Make sure your avocado is ripe - ripe avocados are firm but give a little when gently squeezed. Test them out before you purchase and avoid any that are squidgy or rock hard.
- Don't skip the toppings - the toppings in this recipe are optional but are guaranteed to take your vegetarian burrito bowl to the next level. Make sure you add some or all of the suggested toppings.
You can store them in the fridge for up to three days. If you are meal prepping, I recommend storing the rice, corn, beans and guacamole separately to maximise freshness.
Yes, they are nutritious and satisfying because they provide proteins, carbs and healthy fats.
One serving without toppings contains just under 500 calories. If you want to reduce this you could substitute the rice for cauliflower rice and top with low-fat sour cream.
More light vegetarian recipes:
- BBQ Pulled Jackfruit & Quinoa Tacos Recipe
- Mexican Style Corn Soup Recipe
- Warm Mushroom Salad (with miso tahini dressing)
Mexican Rice Bowl
- ½ tbsp oil groundnut or vegetable
- 18 oz (500 g) cooked brown rice (note 1)
- 4 tbsp cilantro (coriander) finely chopped
- sea or kosher salt to taste
- ½ lime (juice)
- ½ tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil
- 14 oz (400 g) can of black beans rinsed and drained
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 2 cups (240 g) corn thawed frozen corn or canned
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp coriander/cilantro chopped
- 4 tbsp red onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Pinch sea or kosher salt
- 1 lime (juice)
- 1 medium avocado
- 2 tbsp red onion finely chopped
- 1 red chili finely chopped
- 3 tbsp cilantro (coriander) chopped
- 1.5 limes (juice + zest of half a lime)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp sugar
- 2 cups lettuce chopped into strips
- Grated cheese cheddar or similar hard cheese
- Sour cream
- Jalapenos fresh or jarred
- Tabasco sauce
- Prepare the rice. Place a frying pan on a medium heat and add the oil. Add the brown rice when the oil is hot and stir in the coriander/cilantro, salt, and lime juice and set aside.
- Fry the black beans. Add a little more oil to the frying pan and add the black beans, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt and white wine vinegar and fry on a medium heat for 10 minutes until the beans soften.
- Prepare the corn salsa - meanwhile prepare the corn salsa by mixing together the corn and salsa ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Make the guacamole. Scoop out the avocado flesh, remove the stone and carefully cut out any brown or black parts if necessary.
- Add the remaining guacamole ingredients, mash thoroughly and mix together.
- At this point the beans should be soft. Take them off the heat and stir in the lime juice.
- Assemble the burrito bowls. Spoon a portion of rice into each bowl and divide the beans, corn salsa and guacamole between the bowls.
- Add lettuce, grated cheese, sour cream, jalapenos and Tabasco sauce as desired.
- Use pre-cooked microwaveable rice for convenience or boil up some dried brown rice (this normally takes 20-25 minutes). If you salt the water when cooking dried rice you might not need to add additional salt. Taste it to see. Nutritional info is for 1 serving and does not include toppings.