Saturday, April 5, 2014

Slow-Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowl (gluten-free, dairy-free)

Life has gotten in the way of this Slacker Gourmet these past few weeks. Our oldest cat, Oliver, was diagnosed with lymphoma in March (following over a month of mysterious symptoms and red herrings leading to incorrect diagnoses), and the 3 weeks that followed were filled with vet visits, tube feeding, and absolutely no cooking at home. Unfortunately, chemotherapy was unsuccessful and he had become too weak to fight any longer, so we had to make the devastating decision to put him to sleep on March 30. The house feels so much emptier without his room-filling purrs. :(

But - life goes on, and our other two kitties, Amber and Orville have been getting awfully spoiled this past week. The emotional toll of the past couple of months plus the constant stream the takeout and restaurant food of the past few weeks haven't done good things to our bodies. It was time to ease back into home cooking, and what better way than with a home adaptation of a takeout favorite?

Burrito bowl

One of my favorite fast-food(ish) compromises is a burrito bowl from Chipotle. 85% of the deliciousness of a burrito, with about 50% of the guilt. It's easy to recreate most of the yummyness of the bowl at home with a few simple ingredients (and some Slacker Gourmet shortcuts)! Jarred salsa (I use Goya Salsa Verde, due to the hubby's tomato sensitivity), frozen rice and corn (Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn is amazing, if you can get your hands on it!), prepared guacamole, and boneless chicken thighs make this come together so quickly - 5-10 minutes of prep in the morning, and another 10 minutes at night.

This is not a beautiful dish. If I had used sour cream and shredded cheese and sliced avocado, it could have been prettier... but that's at odds with the dairy-free (and always-lazy) Slacker Gourmet household these days. Of course, you can use whatever toppings you'd like!

The recipe as written makes A LOT of the chicken and bean mixture - but it freezes really well for future use! You can always use it as an actual burrito filling or nacho topping, too.

Burrito bowl (Project 365: 93/365)

Slow-Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowl 
Adapted from Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pinto Bean Burrito Bowl
Serves 6-8

  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 16-18oz jar of your favorite salsa
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • a healthy squeeze (approximately 1 tsp) agave nectar
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans
  • cooked brown or white rice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Any combination of your favorite toppings or add-ins, including:
    • cooked corn
    • guacamole
    • sour cream
    • shredded cheese
    • sliced olives
    • finely diced onions
    • chopped cilantro
    • lime wedges

Put chicken in a medium (3-4 qt) slow cooker. Mix together salsa, cumin, chili powder and agave nectar and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6 hours (chicken thighs are pretty forgiving, so you can go longer, but it's better if you have a slow cooker that can switch to "keep warm" mode after 6 hours). 

After 6 hours, shred chicken with 2 forks right in the slow cooker. Drain and rinse the pinto beans and add to the chicken mixture in the slow cooker. Stir to combine, and cover the slow cooker and cook for an additional 1/2 hour on high or 1 hour on low. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed (I usually don't need to add any).

Meanwhile, cook rice, if it's not already made. Season hot rice with a bit of salt and pepper (some lime juice is nice if you happen to have it, but completely optional). 

Make your burrito bowls by spooning a bed of rice into a bowl, and topping with a hearty serving of the chicken and bean mixture. Top with your favorite additions (corn and guacamole are the standard toppings in the Slacker Gourmet household). Enjoy!

Print this recipe!


  1. This was seriously good! I made some brown rice with vegetable stock, sauted up some onions and peppers, and added some homemade guacamole to the top, and it was delish! My 3 year old asked for seconds! going on our meal rotation!

  2. Chicken, beans, and spinach herb tortilla.