After a few nights of veal for dinner last week (that recipe still to come), we were ready for a meatless dinner. For our vegetarian dinners, my go-to sources of protein are usually beans, lentils, or tofu. We almost always have all three on hand. Knowing that I also had some great avocados and tomatoes, burrito bowls came to mind.
I used quinoa instead of rice for my burrito bowls because it cooks up faster than rice and it packs in some great protein. Burrito bowls aren’t hard to make, but they do require some hands on time. For these burrito bowls, I topped the beans and quinoa with grilled onions and peppers, pico de gallo, avocado, freshly grated cheddar, and some plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I started with the onions and peppers because they required the most cooking time, then turned to the beans and quinoa, and made the pico de gallo and cut up the avocado while the rest was on the stove. Lots of chopping and grating to put these bowls together, but I did it all in about 40 minutes.
QUINOA AND BEAN BURRITO BOWLS
For the Grilled Onions and Peppers:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced into ½ inch thick rings (I used a red onion, because they are sweeter, but you use whatever you’ve got. I recommend the sweeter varieties of onions, Vidalia would work nicely.)
½ Red Pepper, sliced into long strips, reserve the other ½ of the pepper, we’ll use it for the beans and quinoa
½ Yellow Pepper, sliced into long strips, reserve the other ½ of the pepper, we’ll use it for the pico de gallo
For the Quinoa and Beans:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion
2-3 cloves garlic
½ red pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 15 oz. cans of black beans
1 15 oz. can of red kidney beans (light or dark, your preference)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to your taste)
1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 cups water
For the Pico De Gallo:
2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
¼ of a small red onion, diced
½ yellow pepper, diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (I didn’t have any so I skipped this, but it is better with it!)
juice of 1 lime (or 1 teaspoon of orange juice will work too!)
1 avocado, halved, pitted and cut into small cubes
¼ cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
dallop of plain greek yogurt or sour cream for topping (I used non-fat greek yogurt)
For the Grilled Onions and Peppers: In a medium-sized heavy bottom pan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook over medium heat, flipping and moving the pieces around occasionally to ensure even cooking. The goal is to get the onions somewhat caramelized and get a nice sear on the peppers. This can take 10-15 minutes.
While the onions and peppers are cooking, prepare the quinoa and beans. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions are becoming translucent. Add the garlic and peppers. Cook for another 3 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, cook for 1 minute, stirring the mixture so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Add the beans and quinoa and stir.
Add the coriander, cayenne, bouillon and red wine vinegar. Stir everything together for 1 minute. Add the water, stir everything together and turn the heat to high to bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat make down to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed most of the water and is soft. Salt and pepper to taste.
While the onions, peppers and quinoa are all on the stove, prepare the pico de gallo. Chopping all of the ingredients and tossing them together in a medium bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
When the quinoa and beans are ready and the onions and peppers are caramelized, it’s time to put your burrito bowl together! Start with the quinoa and beans.
Add the peppers and onions.
Top with the pico de gallo, avocado, cheese and greek yogurt. Enjoy!