There is a terrific little Mexican restaurant chain in the Midwest called Panchero’s that makes fantastic burritos. Before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, Drew and I would stop there after work to grab a quick dinner. The restaurant’s slogan is “it’s all about the tortilla” because they hand press a homemade tortilla for each burrito. I really missed the burritos after going on the gluten-free diet, and decided to try to make one myself. I haven’t found a tortilla that compares to the ones at Panchero’s—corn tortillas are more grainy and fall apart very easily, so while they’re great for fajitas and quesadillas, they don’t really hold up to a burrito. So, I decided to skip the tortilla and put all of the burrito toppings into a bowl. The recipe has gone through several iterations, and here is the final one that Drew and I love.
Gluten-Free Burrito Bowl (makes 3-4 servings)
- ½ C. quinoa (or white or brown rice)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 2 C. lettuce or spinach
- 1/3 jar of your favorite salsa (I recommend Frontera Jalapeno Cilantro Salsa)
- 1 chicken breast (optional)
- 1 red or green pepper
- ½ yellow onion or green onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- ½ C. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 avocado, halved then sliced
- Juice of ½ a lime
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Start by cooking rice according to the instructions on the package. While the rice is cooking, mince the garlic, and dice the pepper, onion, jalapeño, and chicken. Salt and pepper the chicken and vegetables. Put a skillet on medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Once the oil is hot, put in the garlic and then the chicken. When chicken is about half done, sprinkle it with the lime juice. When chicken is nearly done, put in the pepper, onion, and jalapeño. Stir occasionally. While chicken and vegetables are cooking, put the black beans in a microwave safe container and cook on high for 1-2 minutes. When the rice is done, gently stir in the black beans and salsa.
Divide the spinach between two plates or large bowls. Place rice mixture on top of the spinach. Add chicken, peppers, onions, and jalapeños. Sprinkle cheese on top of the chicken, and top with the sliced avocado. Serves 2.
To make the recipe even easier, you could leave the vegetables raw and exclude the chicken. You will get plenty of protein from the quinoa and black beans. To make it into more of a salad, simply leave out the rice or quinoa. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s pretty much foolproof. All of the ingredients taste great together, so you should modify it however you like, and it will still taste great.
Burrito bowls are an easy, healthy gluten-free dinner. They are very filling, and contain a good amount of fiber and nutrients, especially if you use quinoa instead of the rice. We often have enough leftover for lunch the next day.