Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Burrito Bowls: Two or Three Ways!

On my recent food  journey, I found one of the largest stumbling blocks to eating more plant based and less refined sugar has been my family's resistance to embrace this healthier lifestyle. It has been a tricky juggling act but I have found that my favourite techniques have been "hidden healthy", learning just how much I can hide without getting caught and working diligently to modify my traditional recipes to closely replicate the originals while improving on the nutritional value. Some days, I've even resorted to cooking 2 separate meals which is a total pain in the you know where! So, when I come across a meal that requires very little finagling to provide a meal that makes both me AND my family happy, I can truly do the Happy Dance.

While I was "away", my daughter introduced me to burrito bowls, which we could also call "deconstructed burritos" in the foodie world... ooooo how fancy! This is such a simple meal and easy to customize based on what you have on hand. You can make it completely plant based and without much effort, provide the meat eaters in your family with the meat they want. Yes, you can satisfy the vegans, vegetarians and the  omnivores without cooking 3 completely different meals! Wahoo! 

The hardest part about the Burrito Bowl is the prep work, and certainly if you have a knife, a box grater, a blender, a pot and 2 fry pans, you've got this covered.

Basic Burrito Bowl Components (some or all of the veggies ROCK)
  • Brown Rice
  • Refried beans
  • Kale, mixed greens, or romaine lettuce, sliced finely into ribbons
  • Carrot, grated
  • Zucchini, grated
  • Bell peppers, yellow, red or orange, OR a combination finely diced
  • Green onions, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes, finely diced/chopped
  • Seasoned ground meat - beef, chicken, or pork (pasture raised and organic if possible)
  • Sour cream or dairy free sour cream (scroll down the page to find the recipe) or organic plain yogurt.
  • Old cheddar cheese, grated
  • Fresh limes
Seasoned Ground Meat
2 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced)
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb ground beef, chicken or pork - pasture raised if possible

Mix all ingredients together.
Brown ground meat until well done.
Add 1/2 cup of water and seasonings and let simmer until liquid is absorbed.
Add additional salt if necessary. 

Refried Beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp chilli powder
2 cups black turtle beans or one 19 oz can, drained and rinsed 
2/3 cup chicken or veggie broth, plus more if needed (veggie broth for vegan or vegetarian)
Salt and pepper 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender.
Stir in the garlic and chili powder and cook for a few minutes.
Stir in the beans and slowly add broth, cooking until the beans are warmed through, about 5-6 minutes.
Mash the beans coarsely with the back of a wooden spoon (I used a potato masher first), adding more broth to moisten, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
Stir in the cilantro** at the very end.

**Note:  If you don't have any fresh cilantro and IF you happen to have some cilantro pest cubes in the freezer, you can toss 2-3 thawed cubes in to the mix instead.

In a large shallow bowl, I like to use a pasta bowl, put a scoop or two of  rice, meat (if using), refried beans, carrots, zucchini, greens, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Squeeze some fresh lime over the whole works; add a big dollop of sour cream, regular or non dairy and a sprinkle of cheese (if desired). 

There you have it... a meal for omnivores, vegans and vegetarians alike with not a lot of extra effort. For the vegans, HOLD all animal products. For the vegetarians, HOLD the meat, and for the omnivores, EVERYTHING into the bowl! This is the perfect meal to satisfy a variety of tastes - at the same time. I know I will need more of these kinds of meals to make meal preparation easier for me when I would prefer a plant based meal but my family would not. I will have to put my thinking cap on for that!

Sometimes I mix a spoonful of mayonnaise in with about a 1/2 cup of yogurt to round out the flavour. It is almost a dead ringer for sour cream. Since I always have plain yogurt and mayo on hand, this is a great option because I don't always use sour cream in large quantities so the rest of the container usually spoils before I do. No tossing money in the green bin for this girl!

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