No guilt, low-sodium burrito bowls
Who doesn’t love going out for a fun and flavorful Mexican meal? The chips and guac, gooey quesadillas, big burritos, crunchy tacos, warm churros, and of course a cold, classic margarita for mom – all so delicious and irresistible. The whole experience is a joyful celebration; BUT, we also often leave feeling overly stuffed and lethargic due to the high-carb/high-sodium meal. Have no fear! These super easy and super healthy burrito bowls are here to save the day.
I find that one reason so many people love tacos and burritos is because they can easily be customized to your exact liking. The various protein, vegetable, grain, and sauce options are so vast and interchangeable, it becomes a meal that everyone in the family can find something to enjoy. However, a simple grilled chicken, brown rice, peppers, and black bean burrito can easily become high in calories when you add the wrap, cheese, a “special sauce,” sour cream, and tortilla chips on the side. So let me break it down for you into two words: QUINOA BOWL. Ditch the flour wrap and the high-salt sauces and seasonings. Because making your own quinoa burrito bowl is easier than that English essay you’ve been procrastinating on writing.
While you may think the “essence” of a burrito (or taco or enchilada) is the wrap or shell that holds all the ingredients together, what really gives these tasty meals their flair is the flavor. Using my homemade taco seasoning those spices and flavors we all love shine through without any added salt. Further, by eliminating the tortilla wrap or shell, you can eliminate hundreds of empty calories, unhealthy fats, and nearly 50% of carbohydrates. Here is an example of comparing a Chipotle burrito with chicken, brown rice, black beans, green salsa, cheese, guacamole and lettuce to its burrito bowl equivalent to my quinoa burrito bowl:
Chipotle burrito (with a white flour tortilla): 1,160 calories; 53g fat; 13.5g saturated fat; 2,275mg sodium; 118g carbohydrates; 25g fiber; 58g protein.*
Chipotle burrito bowl (same ingredients as above without the wrap): 860 calories; 43g fat; 12.5g saturated fat; 1,585mg sodium; 72g carbohydrates; 22g fiber; 51g protein.*
TLC’s quinoa burrito bowl with ground turkey and cheese (no additional toppings): 266 calories; 6.7g fat; 1.6g saturated fat; 239.4mg sodium; 33.7g carbohydrates; 7g fiber; 25.2g protein.
Of course, if your family chooses to use a different protein (tofu, black beans, chicken, ground beef, or shrimp, etc.), brown rice over quinoa, and other vegetables to mix in or eliminate, the nutritional value will change. As long as you stick to the guidelines of whole, non-processed, foods there is no reason to worry about the specific nutritional breakdown. The biggest take away here is how you can create your own take-out favorites with low-carb, low-sodium, and low-(unhealthy) fat options.
So, no matter if it’s #TacoTuesday or #FiestaFriday, get cooking in the kitchen little clementines!
- Prep Time: 10m
- Cook Time: 30m
- Total Time: 40m
- Serves: 6 people
- Category: Main Meals
- 1 c uncooked quinoa (makes about 3 cups cooked)
- 1 tbsp. avocado oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- any other vegetables you have on hand, chopped
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 2 tbsp. homemade taco seasoning*
- 1/2 c bone broth or stock
- 1 c corn kernels (or 1 can organic, no salt added, whole corn kernels)
- 1 can organic fire roasted tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cook quinoa in a pot following directions on package. Typically 1 cup uncooked quinoa = 2 cups water.
- Heat avocado oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Once skillet is hot, add chopped veggies and garlic and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add ground turkey, breaking it up with a spatula and cooking through until mostly no pink is showing (does not need to be 100% cooked through in order to move on to next steps).
- Add homemade taco seasoning and stir altogether.
- Turn heat down to low and pour bone broth over the vegetable and turkey mixture. Cover skillet and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- In a 9"x13" oven-safe dish, add cooked quinoa, corn, and fire roasted tomatoes. Next add the vegetable and turkey mixture. If desired, add shredded Mexican blend cheese. Combine all ingredients well. Top with more cheese, if desired. Cover entire dish with in foil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Serve in individual bowls and add desired toppings (i.e. cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, diced avocado, tortilla chips, and/or cilantro, etc.)
- * Search "homemade taco seasoning" for my low-sodium version.