This quickie lunch is all about whole foods. No, not the grocery store chain. We’re talking ingredients that stay as close as possible to their natural state. 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 additives found in processed foods.


  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce (any variety)
  • 1 cup microwavable pre-cooked brown rice (choose one that has no additives)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ avocado, cubed
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne (ground red pepper)


  • 2 Tbsp. sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro


Add chicken, use kale 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.


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

2   Drain and rinse the black beans. Add the cumin and cayenne pepper. Sauté on low heat until the food is warm.

3   Heat the brown rice in the microwave.

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

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

Nutrition tips: Those black beans contain fiber and protein to keep you satisfied. The bell pepper gives you a big dose of Vitamin C, and avocado is one of those fats that tastes amazing and is good for you.

Ingredients laid outBlack beans
Bowl of ingredientsFinal bowl

Recipe review


Richard Buote

PhD candidate in medicine (community health), Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador


These black bean burrito bowls are a great solution to those nights I don’t feel like cooking. This recipe is super quick, satisfying, and delicious. As a health-conscious student on a budget, this is a perfect weeknight meal.

CostRating: Three out of five stars

This recipe gives you about three meals for $20, but there are ways to reduce that. Dried black beans and rice are cheaper than the prepared versions.

TasteRating: Four out of five stars

So yummy; I will definitely be making this again. I’d like to try it with the addition of some other vegetables like red onion and roasted sweet potato.

Photos and text by Joanna Carmona 

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.