If life is keeping you so busy that you think you don’t have time to cook a meal at home, I’ve got the answer to your problem right here– Easy Burrito Bowls you can make at home.
Life around here often runs at a frenetic pace, which can make it really hard to cook something at home for dinner. Can you relate? After a busy day at work, and then a full evening of activities, meetings, sporting events, etc., who wants to come home and prepare a big meal with lots of clean up? Not me.
On really busy nights, it’s tempting to just grab take-out, but we live in an area that doesn’t have a lot of choices, and the ones we do have aren’t super nutritious options. Often, we’d find ourselves grabbing Pancheros burrito bowls on the way home from work, because they are at least a reasonably better choice that most other fast foods.
But, if you think about it, the ingredients in a take-out burrito bowl are really simple, and fairly cheap. When you make them at home, you can control the quality of the ingredients, customize them exactly to your taste, and save a ton of money. Plus they are super quick to pull together. And if you’re really in a time crunch, you can prepare all the ingredients for the bowls the night before, and then everyone can assemble their own bowl quickly and easily. Convenient, economical, nutritious, delicious. That’s a homeroom in my book!
Let me tell you how…
You can grill your chicken breasts, or you can use rotisserie chicken that’s been pulled from the bone. Let me tell you, Costco rotisserie chicken is a life saver. We buy them frequently, pull the meat off, and freeze if we aren’t going to use it right away.
We also grill or smoke a few extra chicken breasts whenever we have the grill out. Then we can slice and freeze them to be used later to top salads or burrito bowls. Such a time saver!
This burrito bowl recipe is very customizable, so season your chicken however you prefer. We do it differently almost every time using various seasonings and rubs, or even just salt and pepper.
Right now, I’m really loving several varieties of Daks Spices, and used the Green Zest to season the chicken on this bowl. It’s salt-free and MSG free and adds great flavor.
Have you tried Daks? If so, I’d love to know what flavors you’d suggest I buy next. In addition to the Green Zest, I have the Original Red, Italian Blast, Lemon Pepper, and Pumpkin Spice. (Psst, the Pumpkin Spice is on sale for a ridiculously low price right now, so if you’re a PS Girl like me, grab it fast!)
We live in Iowa, so obviously I’m going to lobby for sweet corn on the cob for this recipe if it’s corn season. But right now it’s winter. Boo. So the next best option is frozen corn. Look for the fire-roasted kind at the grocery store. It has more flavor. If you can’t find it, or want to use frozen corn you already have in your freezer, just sautee it in a pan with butter until it’s golden and caramelized. Trust me please–this extra step is worth it. You don’t want soggy corn in your delicious burrito bowl. Please.
This step is simple. Open a can of black beans. Drain them. Warm them up in the microwave. Done. I promised you easy.
I love Basmati rice for these bowls, because it’s fluffier and doesn’t stick together as much as some other varieties do, but you can really use whatever kind of rice you prefer or have on hand. Plain old white rice would work fine, and is a budget-friendly choice. Brown rice, Jasmine rice…whatever. Remember, this is a very customizable dish!
After you’ve prepared your rice of choice according to the package directions, it’s time to kick it up a notch and turn it into “cilantro-lime rice”. Yeah, that’s right…no boring rice for us! The cilantro and lime add a lot of flavor to the base of these bowls, so don’t skip this step.
We love cilantro around here, so we add a lot. It can be kind of a pain to chop, especially if you’re trying not to include the stems. Then, I found these gems on Amazon….
These herb scissors are a game changer! The four, yes four blades make snipping that cilantro a piece of cake. And they clean up so easily with the little plastic thing that slides between the blades and gets the extra herbs out when you’re done. If you cook with fresh herbs, you need these.
The sauce takes these bowls over the top! I’m not a sour cream fan, which my husband and sons literally glop onto their burrito bowls from Pancheros. The creamy, limey (is that a word?) sauce in this recipe is divine, though. It might sound a little weird, but trust me, it’s so, so good.
It’s just mayo, lime juice, garlic powder, more cilantro (of course), and salt & pepper. Mix it together adding more lime juice or even a teaspoon or two of water until it’s a thin consistency for drizzling over the top. It adds so much creamy flavor to the bowls, without being overpowering like sour cream can be.
We keep the toppings pretty simple for this because it’s usually a recipe for nights when we are in a hurry. You really only need a 2 or 3 toppings to make this bowl a meal. Our must-haves are cheese, tomatoes, and avocados.
But there are so many other toppings that would be fabulous!
- diced onions
- sliced jalapenos
- hot sauce
- diced red or orange peppers
- black olives
ASSEMBLE YOUR BOWL
I prefer the rice on the bottom, followed by the beans, the corn, the chicken, the cheese, the toppings, and then the sauce. But, you do you. There is no wrong way.
And if you’ve had a really busy day, serve your bowl with a margarita on the side. My husband makes a superb fresh-lime margarita. I’ll have to share that recipe with you sometime, too. 😜
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Easy Burrito Bowls
- 3 chicken breasts grilled (or rotisserie chicken if you're in a hurry)
- 3-4 ears of corn (or frozen if in a hurry–I like fire roasted)
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice prepared according to package directions
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 limes (1 for sauce, and one for squeezing over bowls)
- 1 bunch cilantro (1/2 cup for rice, 4 T for sauce, more for topping)
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice I used a Mexican blend
- 1 can black beans drained and warmed
- sliced avocado
- sliced cherry tomatoes
- diced red or orange peppers
- Chicken:Salt & pepper chicken breasts and grill until no longer pink in the middle (165 internal degrees). You can also sub rotisserie chicken pulled from the bones for a quicker option.
- Corn:If it's sweet corn season, I definitely recommend brushing ears of corn with olive oil and tossing on the grill until golden on all sides. But, you can sub frozen corn instead. Look for the kind that is fire roasted, or toss a bag of regular frozen corn in a skillet with a little butter and sautee until caramelized.
- Rice:Prepare basmati rice according to package directions. After rice is fully cooked, add 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 3 tablespoons lime juice, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Fluff with fork.
- Sauce: Mix 1/2 cup mayo, 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Mix well and season with salt & pepper to taste. (You can add a little more lime juice or water to thin the sauce to your desired consistency. It should be thin enough to drizzle over the bowls).
- Assemble the bowls:Begin with a base layer of rice. Add black beans, corn, chicken and then your desired toppings. We used tomatoes, red peppers, avocados and extra cilantro but pick and choose the toppings your family will enjoy. Some other ideas might be diced onions, salsa, black olives, jalapeno peppers, or guacamole. These are very customizable!
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