I’m obsessed with Mexican food. Obsessed. You know you have a problem when eating a really good burrito bowl fills you with pure joy. Yeah, it’s that bad. If they had an Intervention show for Mexican food addicts, I’d be on it.
Growing up in Texas and Oklahoma, I had easy access to an abundance of Tex-Mex restaurants and this is where the addiction started. Then, after college and early into my career, I lived in Northern California where taquerias and authentic Mexican food restaurants are on every corner. Needless to say, the addiction increased.
When we moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia, getting a loaded burrito, spinach enchiladas smothered in sour cream sauce…or even good guac…was really difficult. There were plenty of places downtown but it was a 30 – 45 minute trip one way, and with a toddler in tow, forget about it. The suburban Mexican food options have gotten better since 2008, but at the time, choices were extremely limited. So, I started making my favorite Mexican dishes myself in order to get my “fix”.
One of the first recipes I perfected was the burrito bowl. It’s so easy to make, it’s almost embarrassing. It’s an awesome way to use leftover proteins too. What I love about this dish is you can make it as simple or sophisticated as you want. It can be a quick lunch you pull together in 5 minutes or an elegant dinner where you make everything from scratch. Serve it up with an ice cold beer….mmmmmm. Delicioso.
The Building Blocks of a Killer Burrito Bowl
There really are four “building blocks” of a burrito bowl:
White, brown or Spanish or Mexican rice
This is the base of your bowl and sets the “tone” of the dish. The key here is getting the serving size right – so be sure to cook the rice according to the instructions on the package. Or, if you’re making Spanish or Mexican rice yourself, pay attention to the yield.
You can use plain white or brown rice, or, you can jazz it up by squeezing a little bit of lime and adding some chopped cilantro and a dash of olive oil to make cilantro-lime rice. I’ve also used Zatarain’s Spanish rice before. It’s super tasty, but a tad on the salty side. So, if you do use a boxed rice, be sure to taste it and adjust your seasonings accordingly throughout the bowl.
This ingredient isn’t necessary, but it does add to the dish. If you’re using leftovers, to get a more authentic Mexican taste, you can toss the protein with a little bit of vegetable oil or olive oil and sprinkle some taco seasoning on it. Make sure everything is coated, and heat up the seasoned protein in a skillet. Here’s another tip. If you want a chicken burrito bowl, you can always use a rotisserie chicken. Easy peasy.
My personal preference is black beans. But, pinto beans work really well too. All you need to do is open a can, rinse the beans, and boom…you’re done with this block.
This is where you can get really creative. Here are a few ideas:
- Avocado or guacamole
- Shredded cheese
- Pico de gallo
- Raw onion
- Pickled veggies – jalapenos, onions, carrots…
- Grilled/sauteed veggies – onions and peppers
- Sour cream or Mexican crema
- Crunched up tortilla chips (my fave)
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