Recipe: Robert Lustig's Quinoa and Black Bean Burrito Bowl

Email a Friend

Serves 4

Serving Size: 1½ cups

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

This is an easy, packable lunch. It’s good hot or cold. Here, quinoa takes the place of rice; it’s got the most fiber of any food in the starch category. Teamed up with black beans it’s full of protein. This is vegetarian, but if you need your meat fix, add 1 pound of browned ground turkey and serve it as the main dish of a Mexican fiesta!


1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 ½  cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup peeled and minced onion

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans or 2 cups black beans, cooked, rinsed and drained

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon mild chili powder

1 pinch (1/8 teaspoon) of cayenne pepper

¼ cup fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups shredded lettuce

Optional Topping Ingredients:

Grated cheddar or jack cheese

Sour cream or Greek yogurt

Pico de gallo or salsa

Diced seeded tomatoes

Hot sauce or sriracha sauce

Sliced avocado


Corn kernels

Step 1: Pour the quinoa into a saucepan along with 2 cups of water. Bring the quinoa to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover the pot. Let the quinoa simmer for about 20 minutes, until it becomes tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Keep a close eye on the pot to make sure the quinoa doesn’t burn.

Step 2: While quinoa is cooking, heat the oil in another saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced onion to the saucepan and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until it softens and begins to turn brown. Add the minced garlic to the pot and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Step 3: Add the black beans to the saucepan along with the remaining ½ cup water, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, the chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the beans simmer until the liquid is mostly evaporated, 15 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice. Season with salt to taste.

Step 4: When the quinoa is fully cooked, remove from heat and fluff it with a fork. Use the fork to mix in 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice. Season with salt to taste.

Step 5: Assemble your burrito bowls. Divide the cilantro-lime quinoa among 4 bowls. Top each portion with 1/2 cup of  lettuce and 1 tablespoon of cilantro. Top each portion of lettuce with simmered black beans. Top the black beans with your choice of toppings. Serve warm or cold.

This recipe can be doubled.


• Use cooked barley, cracked wheat or brown rice in place of quinoa.

• Add roasted vegetables.


• Fresh fruit salad

Per serving: Calories 320, Calories from Fat 60, Total Fat 7g (11% DV), Saturated Fat 1g (5% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 630mg (26% DV), Carbohydrates 52g (17% DV), Dietary Fiber 12g (48% DV), Sugars < 1g, Added Sugars: 0g, Protein 14g, Vitamin A 40%, Vitamin C 10%, Calcium 6%, Iron 25%.


Hudson Street Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company., from The Fat Chance Cookbook by Dr. Robert Lustig. Copyright © 2013 by Dr. Robert Lustig