Cilantro-Lime Rice and an Unexpected Rice and Bean Burrito Bowl - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Cilantro-Lime Rice and an Unexpected Rice and Bean Burrito Bowl

Cilantro-Lime Rice from Pamela Salzman

We all love to cook, right?  Ok, maybe some us just like to cook.  And I know that I’m the biggest cheerleader of planning your meals ahead so that dinnertime is stress free and a walk in the park.  Yeah.  Well, gotta tell you that this week did not go as planned.  One day especially was just a doozy.  There was a lot of traffic on the way home from work.  AND I forgot to defrost the chicken I wanted to make for dinner.  AND I had to pick up one daughter who I thought had a ride home.  AND my other daughter wanted “to go study at the library, can I please have dinner right now?” AND I had a headache.  Can you see my grumpy face?

cilantro and lime

I had this whole orange chicken thing planned with spicy sweet potatoes and sautéed spinach.  Sounds nice, right?  Well, the chicken was frozen solid and I had no time to roast sweet potatoes.  You know what cooks really fast?  White rice.  I know, it has nothing going for it.  A totally devoid food, nutritionally-speaking.  However, white rice is a bit easier to digest than brown and as the well-respected nutritionist Linda Prout claims, you can close the nutritional gap with white rice by eating a few extra forkfuls of spinach.  And did I mention my headache?  Sold!  White rice it is!  And with some doctored up black beans out of a (BPA-free can), I would figure something else out so that I wouldn’t need to get take-out.

chopped cilantro, lime juice, olive oil

It’s not that I am completely opposed to take-out once in a while.  But where I live, there really aren’t too many good take-out options and what is decent is so expensive.  Even with a headache, it doesn’t make me happy to spend $80 on dinner for the five of us when I know I can make something good for under $20.  And the meal I put together on this particular night probably cost me under $10.  For the five us.  And I didn’t have the guilt of throwing away a hundred plastic to-go boxes and bags.

One fast-food restaurant that my family likes is Chipotle, which we never get here at the beach, but I always google when I am traveling for a soccer tournament with Mr. Picky and I’m in the middle of who-knows-where.  We all love rice and beans, especially the kids and Chipotle has a yummy cilantro rice that I thought would be perfect with beans and some quick veggies.  It ended up being a really satisfying, nutritious and easy meal that the kids asked me to make again.  I’ve noticed that anytime the kids get to “assemble” their own dinner, they are very pleased.  I put out the cilantro-lime rice, black beans, two fresh salsas that I purchased at the farmer’s market, my cheater guacamole, leftover grilled asparagus and some quick-roasted carrots.  Everyone except Mr. Picky made deconstructed burrito bowls which were DELICIOUS.  He, of course, can’t have have different food groups touch each other, so 4 bowls and 1 plate, please.

rice and bean burrito bowl

I know a few of you will frown at my white rice, but I also believe in keeping it real.  The internet and social media allow people to show the side of themselves that they want to be shown, which is usually only what is positive and perfect and sometimes unrealistic.  It can be a bit daunting to think that the grass is always greener on the other side or that every food blogger can seamlessly put together a visually perfect, well-balanced, delicious meal every night.  That is certainly not me and I can’t say that I aspire to that level of competence.  But rather I hope that whatever curveball life throws me whether it’s in the kitchen or out, I will find a way to roll with it and not worry about the fiber content.

rice and bean burrito bowl

3.0 from 2 reviews
Cilantro-Lime Rice
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 cup long-grain rice or basmati rice, brown or white
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons unrefined olive oil, coconut oil or unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (chop, then measure)
  • 2 teaspoons unrefined olive oil
  1. If you have time, soak the rice in a bowl with lots of water to cover. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1-8 hours. Drain. If you're not sure why you should soak your rice, read this post on arsenic and rice.
  2. In a small saucepan, add drained rice, 2 cups water, 2 teaspoons oil or butter, garlic and salt. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes for white rice or 45 minutes for brown rice. (If you didn’t have a chance to soak your rice, cook another few minutes.) Turn off the heat and allow to sit covered for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. In your serving bowl, combine lime juice, cilantro, remaining 2 teaspoons oil and cooked rice. Toss to combine.

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  1. We always make this rice, it’s so good and hard not to overeat!

  2. Made it twice. Threw it out the first time it was like rice pudding, second time same thing. Ugh!

    • Hi Heather, if your cauliflower rice is mushy and wet, I think you may need to use a larger skillet or use less rice in the skillet you have. Maybe your heat was too low. Did you start with fresh or frozen cauliflower rice?

  3. Hi Pamela, I know I will not make it to the store today and want to make this tonight. How do you make canned black beans taste good?

    • To make a real quick tasty bean dish — saute a little diced onion and a minced clove of garlic in olive oil. Add the beans and the liquid from the can (I use 2 cans for our whole family) and salt to taste. Simmer uncovered until hot, or up to 30 minutes if you have the time. Add a handful of cilantro leaves finely chopped with the beans if you have it — I prefer the beans with cilantro! You can even add a little minced jalapeño for heat.

  4. Hi Pam, This looks great. Can I just double the recipe for a larger group? Also could I cook the rice alone the day before and then warm n coat with lime/cilantro just before my guests arrive? My family loves rice n I think this ill be a hit. Thank you!

    • Of course you can! And to reheat the rice, do it in a saucepan with a little water to steam it. Transfer it to a bowl and then add the lime and cilantro.

  5. It is an enormous relief to hear you may not be perfect, as my envy was beginning to get the best of me 😉 …although, I am not entirely convinced…you seem to always have it so perfectly together! Thank you for the quick, easy and delicious post! Always my preferred ones…:)

    • Haha! SO not even close to anything resembling perfection. Not even a little. But somehow all my friends seem to have their acts together 😉

  6. My kids love rice! I can’t wait to make this tonight.

    • It goes with everything. Hope everyone likes it!

  7. So well said Pamela! I went back and forth 20 times on how to approach my WHITE Persian saffron rice post. Which is a staple in Iranian cuisine (much like Asian cuisine). Ultimately it’s about balance and moderation. It’s brown rice on most days but sometimes what’s really needed is a bowl of fluffy white rice!

    • I just pinned your rice, Naz! It’s gorgeous! Can’t wait to try 🙂

      • Enjoy! And please let me know how it turns out. Excited for everyone to get their tahdig on!

  8. Mmmm! Another dish I will try! Thanks Pam!

    • You definitely should! This is an easy one!

  9. Wow, that burrito bowl looks amazing! And I really, REALLY love what you said about keeping it real (along with your 90/10 philosophy). As someone who’s Asian and, therefore, can’t stay away from white rice all the time, it’s affirming to hear (well, see) your words.

    • Thank you for that, Holly. Hope you’ll try it!

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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