I have said it before (but I will say it again) I love Tex-Mex and Mexican food! It is one of the few cuisines that infinitely sounds good to me. You would think living in a large college town would expose you to abundant choices. I can think of a handful of sophisticated (read: expensive) restaurants around here, but for the most part am a bit disappointed in the local offerings.
My solution is to make my favorite Mexican-themed foods at home! Enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, nachos, tacos, salsa, guacamole, margaritas…yum! With a few pantry staples and some fresh vegetables hundreds of combinations can be prepared. In our vegetarian days my husband and I survived on black beans and rice; there is something to be said about a tried and true recipe that you know is delicious, satisfying, and will nourish you. Kind of like a food friend. A very inexpensive, easy food friend.
I have made this recipe two ways: one vegetarian and one with spiced chicken breast. To be perfectly honest I enjoyed the vegetarian version more; sometimes simplicity and purity in ingredients bring out their best qualities. My husband seemed to enjoy the chicken version better. So I will give you both; choose your own adventure!
- 1 c. brown rice (Uncle Ben’s is my favorite)
- 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
- 1 lime
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 chicken breast (one standard package)
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 lemon
- Mexican blend shredded cheese, for garnish
- Prepared salsa, for garnish
- salt/pepper to taste
Bring 2 c. water and 1 c. brown rice to a boil. Cover and cook according to package instructions. Add black beans (with juice) to a small saucepan and begin to warm gently over medium heat.
Combine spices in medium bowl; add juice of one whole lime and olive oil to finish the marinade. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper and add to spice marinade.
Dig in with your fingers and toss chicken around in the marinade until coated; set aside for just a moment. Sometimes its fun and acceptable to play with your food!
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat and add chicken breast. Cook 6-8 minutes per side or until completely cooked through.
Remove to cutting board and let cool before slicing into bite size pieces.
Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Use a knife to cube avocado flesh in the skin and then spoon into a bowl.
Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent the avocado from turning brown. We are ready to assemble!
Add brown rice in the bottom of a bowl; use a slotted spoon to top with a scoop of drained black beans. If you chose the vegetarian preparation skip the chicken and top with the salsa, cheese, and avocado at this point and then serve.
If you are choosing the carnivore version add the diced chicken, a sprinkling of shredded cheese, 2 tbsp prepared salsa, and some diced avocado. Customize the amounts of each topping based on your favorites. Additional topping ideas could be lettuce, sour cream, cilantro, green onions, or black olives.
Use your fork to mix all the ingredients (don’t forget that rice at the bottom). Just looking at the photos is making me crave a burrito bowl again. I took leftovers to work today which satisfied my craving; all the flavors play very well together. I encourage you to make this, and then make it again. And again. Enjoy!