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This quickie lunch is all about whole foods. No, not the pricey grocery store chain. We’re talking ingredients that are kept as close to their natural state as possible. Here, we’re featuring a vegetarian burrito bowl with black beans, veggies, and rice. Eating whole foods ensures we get the maximum amount of nutrients without the unhealthy additives found in processed foods.

What’s good about this meal?

The black beans contain fiber and protein—which help you feel full and keep things moving, if you know what I mean. Brown rice is high in magnesium, the bell pepper gives you a big dose of Vitamin C, and avocado is one of those elusive healthy fats that tastes amazing and is good for you. The best part? You can throw it together in a couple of minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup chopped Boston lettuce (also known as butterhead lettuce)
  • 1 cup microwavable pre-cooked brown rice (choose one that has no additives)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground (cayenne) red pepper

Toppings

  • 2 tablespoons sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro

Directions

1. Chop up lettuce, bell pepper, and avocado.
1. Chop up lettuce, bell pepper, and avocado.

2. Drain and rinse black beans thoroughly using a colander or strainer. Then place black beans in a small pot or microwave safe bowl. Add cumin and cayenne pepper. Sauté on low heat or microwave until warm.
2. Drain and rinse black beans thoroughly using a colander or strainer. Then place black beans in a small pot or microwave safe bowl. Add cumin and cayenne pepper. Sauté on low heat or microwave until warm.

3. Heat brown rice in microwave.
3. Heat brown rice in microwave.

4. Combine warm ingredients (black beans and rice) together with lettuce, pepper, avocado, and salsa.
4. Combine warm ingredients (black beans and rice) together with lettuce, pepper, avocado, and salsa.

5. Add your toppings (cheese, lime juice, cilantro) and mix everything together.
5. Add your toppings (cheese, lime juice, cilantro) and mix everything together.

Alternatives

Add chicken, use kale or mixed greens instead of lettuce, swap brown rice for quinoa, or roast your vegetables instead of leaving them raw. Not into cheddar? Sprinkle on some Cotija or Monterey jack instead.

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Joanna Carmona is communications coordinator at the National Patient Safety Foundation. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Student Health 101. She has also edited collegiate textbooks for Cengage Learning and creating language learning materials for the US Department of Defense, libraries, and other educational institutions. Her BA in Spanish is from the University of New Hampshire.