I want to start this post by saying that this is truly one of my favorite dishes ever. This isn’t surprising for 2 reasons. Firstly, because it hits all three marks for me; delicious, healthy, and easy. And secondly, because the flavors in this dish were inspired by two very memorable restaurant dishes I’ve had. The first of these restaurants is a little Mexican dive in the East Village of NYC called Hotel Tortuga. I’ve eaten here (or ordered delivery from here) more times than I can count. When I lived in East Village I ate from Tortuga on a weekly basis, and although my standard order was a burrito bowl with their signature pozole (aka tomatillo and hominy stew), I’ve also order a bomb burrito bowl called Dylan in Durango which consists of brown rice, black beans, cheese, and a garlicky kale and sweet potato mixture that is packed with flavor and nutrients. I loved it, and thought it much easier to recreate than a home hominy stew. Although I’ll want to make pozole at some point.
I also had the combo of kale and sweet potato in a burrito at El Cortijo, a Mexican diner in Burlington, Vermont, and it was crazy good too. Clearly, garlic, kale, and sweet potatoes were made for burritos. So of course I had to make my own version.
My version of this dish is a healthy, flavor-packed, power bowl. Fluffy brown rice, Sriracha flavored black beans, cubed sweet potatoes, garlic, robust kale, a little shredded cheddar, and my awesome guacamole come together to create a heavenly bowl of wholesome goodness. This dish is naturally gluten-free and simple to make vegan (just eliminate the cheese or use vegan cheddar). Love when that happens. Although giving up the melty cheese isn’t something I usually do.
Good to know is that this recipe makes a lot of food. It easily feeds 5, maybe even 6 if light eaters are involved. Matt and I both have hearty appetites and we got 5 meals out of this recipe. Also good to know is that meat eaters won’t be disappointed in the least. It’s hearty and tasty and a definite crowd pleaser. You could even use it for casual entertaining. I love setting up “bars” when feeding a crowd because everyone gets exactly what they want. Plus it’s super easy for the cook. This is pretty much a perfect meal for anyone and everyone. You can thank me later. Or now.
Garlicky Kale & Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls
Serves: 4-6 Start to Finish: 45 minutes
1 cup dry Brown Rice
2 cans Black Beans (no-salt added variety)
1 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
2 Sweet Potatoes
1 large bunch Kale
4-6 ounces shredded Cheddar (optional)
For Guacamole Topping
1 clove Garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup finely chopped Red Onion
2 tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
2 Pinches Black Pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp Olive Oil
Make brown rice according to package instructions, using 1 cup rice, 2.5 cups water, and 1/2 tsp salt. I cook brown rice for about 35-40 minutes, even though the package says it takes a bit longer.
While the the rice cooks, make the other components of the burrito bowl. Drain and rinse 2 cans of beans. Add the beans to either a small sauce pan or a microwave safe bowl (depending on how you want to hear them). Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce. Mix and set aside.
Make the guacamole. Scoop avocado flesh from skin and add to small bowl. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, 1 clove finely minced garlic, 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 2 pinches black pepper. Mix lightly to combine with a fork, keeping some of the texture. Set aside in fridge.
Now make the kale and sweet potato mixture. Chop sweet potatoes into bite size pieces (1″ cubes). Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add sweet potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss. Cook for 10-12 minutes, toss occasionally to prevent burning.
Rinse and trim kale leaves of woody stems and rip leaves into big pieces. Prepare 3 cloves minced garlic. After potatoes have cooked for 10 minutes, reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, toss, and cook for a minute. Then add 1/3 cup water, kale leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to potatoes. Toss. Cook until kale is wilted and all water is cooked off, about 3 minutes. Add another 1/3 cup of water if mixture gets too dry. Remove from heat.
At this point, rice should be about done. Heat the beans over low heat on the stove top or microwave for a minute. Now assemble to burrito bowls. Divide rice, beans, and veggies between 4-6 bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with 1 ounce shredded cheddar if desired. Finally, top each bowl with guacamole. Serve immediately.