A few nights ago I picked up my husband after a 14-hour work day. He was, unsurprisingly, exhausted and it had been a long time since his last meal.
Briefly, I toyed with the idea of stopping at the 24-hour drive-through taco stand down the street, but greasy food didn’t appeal. What could I make at home? Our normal lightning-fast emergency dinners are pasta-based (angel hair pasta cooks in four minutes!), but that just didn’t sound satisfying. I knew in an ideal world, Chipotle would be open this late and my husband would happily eat a burrito the size of his head — I couldn’t even make one at home since we were out of tortillas and they would take too long to make. It was midnight!
But what about a burrito bowl? That I could do.
Just like it sounds, a burrito bowl is not unlike a taco salad; it contains all the fillings of your traditional Chipotle burrito, sans tortilla. I do my best to replicate the Chipotle ingredients with less oil and salt.
Even though I’ve been working on improving my mise en place, late night emergency meals are a “chop as you go” affair for me. Once you start cooking the rice, you have twenty minutes to get everything else ready.
My favorite part of Chipotle is the contrasting textures and temperatures: warm starchy rice, crisp cool lettuce, juicy salsa, soft beans, sweet corn, smooth sour cream, and salty cheese. For the bowls, I layered chopped lettuce in the bottom, scooped some rice on top, piled beans next to that, topped it with corn, pico de gallo, sour cream, and cheese. Dinner.
The key to this dish was just having all the ingredients on hand. The beans I had cooked a few weeks ago and frozen flat in a zip-top bag. The corn was also frozen. The lettuce, tomato, and cilantro were CSA items; onions and rice are always in the pantry. After that it’s a matter of timing and multi-tasking.
Burrito Bowls a la Chipotle
Other ingredients we use if on hand: minced jalapeno pepper, sauteed diced bell pepper and onions (fajita-style!), guacamole.
1/2 cup medium or long-grain rice (I used basmati)
1/2 cup cooked black beans
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1/2 cup corn kernels, frozen
1 large tomato
1 small onion
10 stalks fresh cilantro
a handful of green lettuce leaves
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons sour cream
salt and pepper
optional: guacamole or avocado slices
1.) Bring the rice and 1 cup water to a boil in a small covered saucepan. Reduce heat to as low as possible and simmer for about 17 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand.
2.) While rice is cooking, heat a small non-stick skillet over low heat. Add canola oil and oregano, stirring until herbs are fragrant. Add beans and adobo sauce and heat through, stirring occasionally.
3.) Defrost corn in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove until hot.
4.) Dice tomato and onion and combine in a bowl. Chop cilantro and toss with tomato and onion. Squeeze half the lime over the top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir. Let marinate until serving time.
5.) Chop lettuce and place in bowls. Grate cheese if needed.
6.) When rice is ready, scoop onto beds of lettuce. Add beans, corn, salsa, sour cream, and cheese. Serve immediately as is or with corn chips.