When I first heard of the concept of a burrito bowl, I didn't have much interest. Give up the tortilla? No thanks! I like my burritos complete with beans, rice and tortilla. Double carbs wrapped in carbs. What could be better?
I think it was a post-burrito coma one afternoon that gave me that first nudge to try out burrito bowls. Wouldn't you know it, I didn't miss the tortilla! There's plenty going on in most burritos, and generally, when you bowl-ify them, you end up adding more stuff, because you're no longer limited to the amount of food that can fit inside a tortilla.
At some point I even started ditching the rice. It was cauliflower rice that first did it for me, and now I'm even experimenting with different types of veggie rice to create lightened-up burrito bowls. For this particular bowl, I went with carrot rice, because I love how the sweetness of carrots pairs with spicy Tex-Mex flavors.
The process for making carrot rice is essentially the same as that for making cauliflower rice, and you can substitute cauliflower for the carrots here if you're really attached to cauliflower rice. I topped my carrot rice with some refried black beans and fajita-style pan-seared peppers and onions. The refried beans satisfy my need for some creamy texture, allowing me to resist the urge to top my bowl with gobs of guacamole and instead go with just a couple of avocado slices. If you want to lighten up your bowl even more, skip the avocado altogether and top it with a few spoonfuls of your favorite salsa.
For the refried black beans:
For the carrot rice:
For the veggies:
- 1 medium red bell pepper cut into strips
- ½ large onion cut into strips
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
For topping (optional):
- Avocado slices
- Fresh cilantro
Make the refried black beans:
- Coat the bottom of a large saucepan with oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and sauté until it's soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin, and continue to sauté until very fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the beans and broth. Raise heat to high and bring the broth to a simmer. Lower the heat and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans begin to soften up. Use a fork or potato masher to mash about ⅓ of the beans (or more if you prefer). Allow the beans to continue simmering over low heat for about 10 minutes, adding some water to the pot if they become too dry.
- Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the carrot rice:
- While the beans cook, place the carrots into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S-blade, and pulse until they're chopped into pieces about the sizes of rice grains. Work in batches if you can't easily fit all of the carrots in your food processor.
- Coat the bottom of a large nonstick skillet with oil and place over medium heat. Add the carrots, cumin, ancho chile powder and lime juice. Cook, flipping frequently with a spatula, until the carrots are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then divide the carrot rice among 6 bowls.
Make the veggie:
- Using the same skillet you cooked the carrot rice in, raise the heat to medium-high. Add the pepper and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, flipping with a spatula occasionally, until the veggies are tender and browned in spots. Add the lime juice and flip to coat the veggies. Remove from heat, stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the refried beans among the bowls with the carrot rice, then top with the veggies and toppings of choice. Serve.