We love it when dinner is all in one bowl. Sure, there might be lots of veggies and other healthy goodness mixed in, but when it’s all in one bowl and you don’t have to make separate sides, somehow it feels like less work. That’s why we love recipes like our Instant Pot chili, our chicken shawarma bowl, and this vegan cilantro quinoa burrito bowl.
We are big fans of Chipotle Burrito Bowls. Our 4-year-old really loves them and can almost devour an entire bowl in one sitting all by herself. But since driving to Chipotle every other night isn’t physically or financially feasible, we decided to start experimenting with our own homemade burrito bowl. The end result is a Vegan Cilantro Quinoa Burrito Bowl that we all love, especially our 4-year old. Read on for the details.
I’ll be honest, sometimes I’ll look at the menu at the local Mexican restaurant and think “Isn’t this sort of all the same thing?”. I’m sure I couldn’t tell you the exact differences between a Burrito and an Enchilada and a Chalupa, but they all sure are good. So why do so many of us love Mexican food? I think it’s because of the simplicity. Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be great. Sometimes it’s just about simple ingredients blended with great herbs and spices. Mexican cuisine really seems to do this really well. If you’re really concerned about the subtle differences between dishes you can always check out a list of Mexican recipes on Wikipedia.
Perhaps in part because of the simplicity and certainly because of the great flavors, Mexican cuisine has definitely found its way into our diet. We have regular taco nights, there’s this layered taco dip that we love, and of course, who doesn’t love guacamole?!
Quinoa vs. Rice
Recently, we’ve also started to frequently use quinoa as a rice substitute. First, we’ve found that our kids just like it better and so that’s always a big selling point. But, the benefits don’t stop there. It’s cheaper and easier to make at home. And, because it’s high in protein and lower in starch, many nutritionists recommend quinoa over rice . So…it’s healthy…it’s good…SOLD! We use it in our Quinoa Fajita Casserole and it was an obvious choice for our burrito bowls which have a somewhat similar flavor profile.
We’ve recently discovered that the more we prep on Sunday for the week, the smoother the week goes. Now, we have 3 young kids so understand I use “smooth” in the relative sense, but anytime you can lower the level of craziness just a bit, you do it. So, we make a big batch of the cilantro quinoa on the weekend and then one night during the week we can pull it out and quickly throw together some Cilantro Quinoa Burrito Bowls.
To make prep go even easier I bust out our rice cooker that we bought a few years ago. Before buying it, I used to make rice and quinoa on the stovetop, but could never get the heat or amount of water quite right; It would either boil over or end up too watery or it would end up too dry and stick to the bottom. But now with the rice cooker, I feel like the rice and quinoa end up perfect every time. Not only that, I’ve discovered you can add herbs and other ingredients while it’s cooking and it comes out even better! I’m not a proponent of all kitchen accessories or luxury items, but when something makes your life easier then I think it’s worth making the investment and our rice cooker makes this meal prep so much easier.
The recipe is straight ahead. This burrito bowl is gluten free and vegan, but feel free to add grilled chicken, cheese, or whatever toppings fit your tastes and your diet.
Vegan Cilantro Quinoa Taco Bowls
- 1 1/2 c . quinoa
- 3 c . water
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 T . oil
- 1 tsp . cumin
- 1/2 tsp . garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- 1-3 T . fresh cilantro
For the Taco Bowls:
- black beans
- grilled jalapenos
- avocado or guacamole
- chopped tomato or salsa
- chopped lettuce
- lime wedges
Put all cilantro quinoa ingredients except cilantro in rice cooker.
Cook on white rice setting.
Once cooked, mix in cilantro.
Use immediately or store in fridge for up to a week.
For taco bowls, top the cilantro quinoa with your favorite taco/burrito toppings.
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