March 17, 2024

Cheesy Bean Burrito Bowls

Cheesy Bean Burrito Bowls are an easy and fun weeknight meal, perfect for meatless Monday or any other plant-based night of the week!

Cheesy Bean Burrito Bowls might fall into the comfort-food category for me. There’s something very satisfying in the textures and flavors of a burrito bowl. The creamy refried beans and slightly chewy brown rice, topped with juicy fresh tomatoes, cool avocado, and grassy cilantro never fails to hit the spot.

I’ve had several conversations recently with folks who say they don’t like brown rice. I’ve found that it usually comes down to whether they are buying short-grain or long-grain brown rice. Short-grain brown rice tends to be very dense, with a much firmer texture than its long-grain counterpart. It can feel laborious to chew, and tends to feel very filling, very fast. Long-grain brown rice is lighter and fluffier, and much more closely resembles white rice. After they try long-grain brown rice, most folks have renewed interest in brown rice again! 

I’m a fan of both white rice and brown rice, and always have both on hand in my pantry. White rice often gets unfairly demonized by diet culture, which ignores the long history and cultural traditions of this staple food, as well as nutritional science. There’s a place for both white rice and brown rice in your meals. As a nutritionist, here’s a few of the things I take into consideration when choosing which to prepare: 

  • I tend to choose white rice when the textures of what I am pairing it with are firm or crunchy, such as a veggie-packed stir-fry or curry, because the softer, more tender white rice better complements the other textures; and when I am serving it with a complete protein such as tofu, tempeh, or fish. 
  • I tend to choose brown rice when I am looking for more texture from the grain, to stand up next to a soft/creamy/saucy dish, such as refried beans; and when I am looking to enhance the protein content of my meal or make a complete protein, such as the combination of rice and beans.

Both white and brown rice have nutritional value. Using both in your meals adds to the variety of nutrients, as well as flavors and textures. It just keeps things interesting! So give these Cheesy Bean Burrito Bowls a try with cooked, long-grain brown rice, and see what you think!

Ingredients assembled for Cheesy Bean Burrito Bowls
Assemble your ingredients.

Stages of making the refried beans on the stove in an enameled pot
The key component of these burrito bowls are the refried beans, which come together with pantry staples like canned pinto beans and green chiles.

Mashing the cooked beans and adding grated cheddar cheese
Once the beans have simmered for a while, mash them to your desired consistency. I like them smooth, but still with some good texture. Then, add the grated cheddar cheese and stir until melted and incorporated.

Refried beans, cooked brown rice, diced tomato, diced avocado, and cilantro leaves in bowls surrounding a prepared Cheesy Bean Burrito Bowl
Serve the cheesy refried beans with cooked brown rice, diced tomato and avocado, and chopped cilantro.

A Cheesy Bean Burrito Bowl
Cheesy Bean Burrito Bowls are a delicious plant-based weeknight meal!

Cheesy Bean Burrito Bowls

Cheesy Bean Burrito Bowls are an easy and fun weeknight meal, perfect for meatless Monday or any other plant-based night of the week!


Kira Freed - The Joyful Plateful











2 Tbsp. avocado oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

7 oz. can green chiles

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

3 14-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

For serving: 

Cooked long-grain brown rice

Diced avocado

Diced tomatoes

Fresh, chopped cilantro

Plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)


  1. n a medium-sized pot, heat avocado oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and saute until very soft, about 7-8 minutes. 
  2. To the sautéed onions, add the minced garlic and kosher salt, and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  3. Add the ground cumin and chili powder to the onions and garlic, and stir to combine. Sauce the spices until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  4. Add the green chiles and vegetable broth to the pot, and gently scrape the bottom to remove any bits of toasted spices and onion. 
  5. Add the pinto beans to the pot, and stir until everything is combined. Reduce heat, and simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes. 
  6. After the beans have simmered about 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat. Mash the beans with a potato masher or fork until creamy, leaving a few bits of beans for texture. Stir in the grated cheddar cheese until melted and fully incorporated. Return the pot to very low heat to keep warm until ready to serve.
  7. Serve the cheesy refried beans over cooked brown rice, topped with diced avocado, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream. 
  8. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 
Thanks for contributing to our community! Your comment will appear shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
March 19, 2024
Sounds sooooo yummy. I will definitely prepare this