Make an All Natural Burrito/Taco Bowl Better than Restaurants

By: Ben Warren

Have you ever gotten a burrito bowl or taco bowl at a restaurant? I'm talking rice, beans, protein, maybe some toppings like guacamole, onions, cilantro? You can get these at Chipotle, Barberitos, Moe's or any tex mex place. These bowls are all the same. It's just rice beans and chicken plus a ton of salt - I'm not a big fan. Granted, burrito bowls are easier to eat then an actual burrito. Real burritos are like eating a football.

How could I make a better burrito bowl?
It's hard to imagine that I could do this - I'm not a chef nor do I consider myself good at cooking. I make a lot of my own food, and I just do my best. I knew I had to keep things simple - I wanted to be able to make these in less than ten minutes (once the meat is cooked). I started to experiment - first with the meat and then with toppings.

Ground beef is my protein; you don't need to grill fancy steak or sauté some little pieces of chicken like the restaurants. Ground beef is the way to go; it's cheap, you can freeze the leftovers, and if you buy lean it's healthy. I am cheating a little bit here because I do own grass fed beef cows, but store bought beef is good too. Once the spices are mixed in, you won't be able to tell the difference.

How to flavor a burrito bowl
The key to a good burrito bowl is flavor - most of the restaurant food is very bland. When you're making your own burrito bowl, you need lot of spices, onions, and limes. Do not forget this last ingredient - it is the most important. For one serving, you will need an entire lime, unless it's a really large and juicy one in which case you can get by with half a lime.

I'm going to go through in detail how I make the best burrito bowl that I've ever eaten, and you're going to love it. I don't measure anything; this is an easy-to-make burrito bowl. For the spices, I just shake each one onto the meat until it looks like enough. You just have to get a feel for it, measuring things is for the birds. I don't. have time for that. If I realize I've put too much of something, I'll just use less on the next batch. It's really hard to mess this up unless you pour the whole bottle of cayenne pepper on there.

The best burrito bowl I've ever eaten: Recipe
The following ingredient list is what I buy at the store to make a batch of these burrito bowls. It will make about four adult meals - the meat being the limiting factor. For spices, just get the cheap ones with the shaker holes in the top.


  • 1-2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 can of hot Rotel
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • chili powder
  • cayenne pepper

Meat Directions:
Brown the meat in a skillet and pour off the fat. Add the can of Rotel - this is optional, and sometimes I forget the Rotel becuase I forgot to buy it. Add spices - just shake as much as you want on there. I never measure. Add enough water to mix in all the spices. You need 1-2 cups of water. I just add enough until the I like the consistency. Cook for a few minutes and stir regularly. Do not let it dry out too much, and if too much water cooks off, just add more.

By doing the meat this way and not using any pre-prepared taco seasonings, you keep the sodium level down. This is really a low sodium taco/burrito bowl. It has very little salt except what's in the pinto beans. With the right spices, you don't need to add salt, and if you are on a low salt diet, these are perfect. I don't salt the meat at all. I only use the spices listed above.

  • sweet onions (1/2 onion minced)
  • pinto beans (canned)
  • cheddar cheese
  • green salsa
  • red salsa
  • jalapeño based salsa
  • jalapeño ranch
  • habanero sauce
  • lime 1/2 or 1 whole squeezed

Bowl Directions:

How you do this bowl is very important. I put about 1/3 can of pinto beans in the bottom of a pyrex dish as shown in the picture. Then I put meat on top of that, and I never measure any of this. I just put about enough meat on there that I feel like I can eat. Then I squeeze the lime on it, add a couple spoons of green salsa and a couple spoons of red salsa. The red salsa isn't as necessary, but you really need the green salsa. At this point, I put some cheddar cheese on top, and then I put the whole thing in the microwave and heat it until everything is really hot. It usually takes 3-5 minutes if everything is cold. While that's heating, I mince about half an onion. The bowl should be pretty watery when you take it out if you did everything right; the consistency of chili is what your looking for. The meat has some water in it, the salsa, the limes, and rotel all add water. You really don't want it to be dry.

Once you get the bowl out of the microwave, and it's really hot. Pour your half minced sweet onions on top. Then it's time to add the jalapeño based salsa and jalapeno based ranch. Sometimes I have ranch and sometimes I don't. Habanero sauce is optional also, but it does add a really nice amount of flavor. Sometimes I have this red garlic sauce that I put in there, and that really makes it good. Experiment with different sauces, and decide what you like best.

Lastly, you need some chips, preferably Sea Salt & Lime chips from Whole Foods. That's my favorite chip to use. I either dip it out with chips or break the chips up and eat it with a spoon. Sometimes as I'm eating down into my bowl, I'll add more jalapeno salsa.

This is the best taco or burrito bowl I've every eaten. It's better than any restaurant I've ever been to.


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