General · Recipes

BBQ Bean Burrito Bowls

You guys, I have another great recipe for you. Well, actually like four recipes in one. To make delicious (and healthy) burrito bowls with spicy barbecue beans.

Have you heard of Thug Kitchen? If not, go check them out, I’ll wait. They are great right? Thug Kitchen is a food blog by a couple of vegans that make reading and making recipes so much fun. Oh, and they swear. A lot. My parents weren’t too excited about the language in their recipes, saying,”it’s just not necessary.” But everyone else I’ve shown gets it… It’s just hilarious to read a recipe that starts with”Makes 6 big-ass burritos” and ends with “Serve right away because burritos wait for no motherf*cker”. Their cookbook is one of my favorite birthday gifts (thanks Aa ♥).

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I haven’t talked to very many people about this, but I have decided to be mostly vegan. It’s kind of hard to put a label on what I’m trying accomplish, but by friend Jenna said it best explaining it to her husband, “she’s a sustainable eater, leave her alone!”

It all started when I gave up meat for Lent. I thought it would be too hard, so I allowed myself all animal products and fish (because that’s not technically meat, right?). After I started the no-meat-for-Lent thing, I’ve watched a couple of documentaries – yes I understand they have their own biases and agendas – but learned a lot about the way we grow our animals for food. Did you know there aren’t really any rules to the way animals are treated that are meant for consumption? And that animal emissions are more highly contributing to the CO2 levels in our atmosphere than all the transportation worldwide (yes, all planes, trains, and automobiles).  Also, the animal agriculture industry is cutting down rain forests at an alarming rate to graze and slaughter cattle and livestock.

I won’t get all preachy, but for me this was very eye-opening. After learning about the toll that animal agriculture takes on the environment, I’ve decided to cut out all animal products unless I can verify that they’re from sustainable, humane sources.

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So on that note, I have the PERFECT recipe to share: Barbecue Bean Burrito Bowls with the BEST RICE EVER. You cook this rice in the oven. Yes, in the oven! You pull it out and it looks like, some sort of weird casserole (below). And you think, “Aw man, I messed this one up.”

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Then you mix it up and it’s the most perfect rice you’ve ever made. In. The. Oven. I can’t get over it. It totally blew my mind. It does take a little over an hour, so it’s not exactly weeknight friendly, but make up a batch of this on Sunday and you can eat it all week!

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Thug Kitchen’s recipe included a grilled peach salsa, but since it’s not summer, peaches weren’t in season. Luckily my dad had randomly bought a mango that week, so that’s what I used. Homemade salsa is one of my favorite ways to dress up a meal. It’s super easy, all you do is throw the ingredients into a bowl and let them sit while you make the rest of dinner. And, to me, fruit salsa is the best kind of salsa. Enter mango salsa.

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Also, the recipe was for “big ass” burritos, but we made bowls. I’m not an expert burrito wrapper, and I don’t like to get messy when I eat. But you could totally throw all this goodness into a giant tortilla. Or make tacos. Or crumble some tortilla chips over the top.

I like having recipes because they show me new ways to cook with ingredients and what flavors go well together, but I have this thing where I don’t like to follow them too closely. I use them as more of a guide or a suggestion. Nigella was recently featured on Food52’s Burnt Toast podcast explaining that that’s how she likes to cook as well. And she’s one of my favorite famous chefs.

Back to the burritos. Below are all the recipes you need to put together the most amazing burrito bowls/tacos/burritos/taco salad of your choice. I highly recommend the rice. The beans were a little spicy, but I loved them since I’m a spice queen. Enjoy 🙂


Below are my recipes along with Thug Kitchen’s. Throw it all into a bowl with the toppings you love in your burrito and enjoy 🙂

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Thug Kitchen Barbecue Beans

  • Half an onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (or 10 garlic cloves if you’re like me and always add way more garlic)
  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, plus 1 Tbsp of the sauce (these little guys are pretty spicy, if you’re unsure just add two and then taste the sauce)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (or water if you don’t have any)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (Thug Kitchen’s recipe called for light brown, but I had dark brown and that works fine)
  • 1 Tbsp molasses (if you use dark brown sugar like I did, you can omit this. Fun fact: brown sugar is just white sugar that has molasses added to it.)
  • 1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed well (As you can see, there are two different kinds of beans in there… because I didn’t have two matching cans of beans. You can use any beans here; white beans, black beans, or I imagine chickpeas would be delicious)

Throw everything except the beans into a blender or food processor and blend ingredients together until smooth. Pour into a medium pot/saucepan over medium/low heat. Add the beans and let the flavors come together for 10 minutes or so. Boom, spicy BBQ beans.

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Thug Kitchen’s Amazing Oven Rice

  • Half an onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth can sub water if you don’t have it, but I suggest the broth)
  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice (like jasmine)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup corn kernals (I used frozen)
  • 1 cup green peas (frozen is fine, and easier)
  • The juice of half a lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Preheat your over to 375° and grab a 9×13 baking pan or ceramic baking dish. I used the nice, big Le Creuset braiser that my mom has – it was perfect. Just needs to be big and oven safe.

In a food processor or blender, combine the onion, tomato, garlic, jalapeño and tomato paste until a smooth salsa forms. Combine the salsa with the broth on the stovetop and cook over medium heat until it simmers. If you’re using an oven safe pan like I was, combine the rice with that mixture, adding the oil and salt. If not, put the rice in the 9×13 with the oil and salt and pour the salsa over. Cover tightly with foil (or the handy-dandy lid that your Le Creuset comes with) and keep it in the over for 1 hour. Don’t peek!

Pull that glorious rice out of the oven when your time goes off and fluff it up. If it doesn’t look done, stick a little bit more broth in there and cook for ten more minutes. Mine came out perfectly – but just in case. Now add the corn, peas, lime juice, and cilantro. YUM!

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Quick Mango Salsa

  • One mango, diced
  • Half a pint of cherry tomatoes (I used yellow ones so you can’t really see them, but they’re there!)
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • Half of a Jalapeño or Serrano pepper, minced (scrape out the seeds and the white ribs, or event omit the pepper if you’re a wuss for spicy stuff… it’ll still be tasty)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • The juice of one lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and let them marinate together while you prepare everything else. The longer it sits, the more flavorful and spicy it gets. Mmmm.

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Laura’s Tried and True Guacamole

  • 2-3 avocadoes
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Half of a Jalapeño or Serrano pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • The juice of one lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The the avocados in half and remove the pit. Peel the skin off the flesh and drop the avocado halves into a medium bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients, then mash. I like my guacamole on the chunkier side, so I just break up the bigger pieces.If you like yours smoother, you can use a potato masher, or even put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.  Test with a chip or two*, or pretzel crisps which are my new favorite snack food. Like I can’t keep them in the house or I’ll eat the whole bag in record time.

*Note: Make sure to really taste the guac before you’re done. The flavor can change based on ripeness of the avocado, quality of lime juice, etc. It’s never exactly the same amount for me. I like my guacamole with a lot of salt and a lot of lime juice.

Another note: You might have noticed that I didn’t include any tomato. That’s because I like my salsa and my guacamole separately. Get on my team with this one…

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Please let me know if you make any or all of this. There is PLENTY for 4-6 servings with all these goodies. The salsa, beans, and guac will probably all be gone that night, but the rice was leftover for me for days. It makes plenty.

Thank you for coming with me to the kitchen on this journey 🙂

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