Bean Burrito Bowls

Teaching third and fifth graders to cook really brings you back to the basics.  You have to be extra mindful of knife and stove safety.  You need to demonstrate the art of seasoning: “a little at a time–you can always add more oil or spices, but you can’t take them out.” Explanations of tablespoons versus teaspoons and measuring precisely versus “eyeballing it” abound.

It is quite fun teaching kids to cook when they are all so excited and enthusiastic. They argue over whose turn it is to sauté the vegetables for burritos, but listen when you tell them that it is Ben’s turn at the stove.  They can’t decide who gets to bring the colander over to the sink to rinse the garbanzo beans for hummus, so two of them each take a handle and proclaim “teamwork!”  They beg for tastes of tahini, lemon juice, feta cheese, wanting to know what the ingredients taste like.  They remind each other of what can be composted and what cannot. They eagerly scoop the seeds out of a pepper and carefully lay them out on a paper towel so that they can be dried and later planted in the school’s new garden.

And most of them taste everything.  Last week, we made bean and vegetable burritos, and everyone tried at least a bite or two.  This week, we made hummus and tzatziki and marinated tempeh and Greek quinoa salad, and most of the class came back for seconds and even thirds of nearly everything.

But if we’re lucky, there will still be a little sauce or tempeh left over at the end of each class for the volunteers, like the little bag of leftover fresh salsa I got to bring home for my own burrito bowls last week.


Burrito Bowl 1

Bean Burrito Bowls

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4

Bean Burrito Bowls

You'll notice that this recipe is very imprecise. That's the beauty of these burrito bowls; everyone gets to build their own to fit their own tastes.


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cup pinto or black beans, cooked and drained
  • 1/2-1 cup salsa
  • 1/2-1 cup corn kernels or chopped bell peppers
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice, plus more to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. Combine the rice and water in a small saucepan, cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and allow to simmer until most of the water is absorbed. Stir and remove from the heat.
  2. While the rice cooks, pit and peel the avocado. Mash the lime juice and a bit of salt into the avocado with a fork. Taste and add more lime juice and/or salt as desired.
  3. For each burrito bowl, mix the cooked rice and beans. Top with salsa, vegetables, avocado and cheese to taste.

Make Ahead and Storage

Any unused avocado should be tightly wrapped with plastic wrap and refrigerated. If you didn't add much additional lime juice, it may brown a bit overnight, but will still be okay to eat.