Brown Rice Taco Bowls with Lime Crema - a quick, healthy, filling flavorful dinner that is also great for meal prep. Read the recipe for a few variation ideas for these delicious rice bowls!
There's something so comforting about eating food out of a bowl, right? Well, at least *I* think so. Aldo (my husband) hates eating out of bowls - he thinks he can never get the food onto his fork when it's in a bowl instead of a plate. To that I say: "when you make dinner, you can decide what to serve it in." And also: "what are you, 3 years old??"
I'm half kidding.
I usually remember to put Aldo's food on a plate instead of in a bowl, unless it's soup. Soup, by the way, is also not his favorite. I'm not sure why he's so anti-bowl.
Even though Aldo ate this taco brown rice dinner out of a bowl begrudgingly, he loved all the flavors in this easy dinner recipe.
Related recipe: Ground Pork Tacos
These Taco Brown Rice Bowls are packed with flavor and textures: crumbly spicy ground beef, charred corn kernels, seasoned beans, juicy tomato, creamy avocado, cheese, and a generous drizzle of lime crema (which is just a fancy way of saying sour cream with lime juice). A squeeze of lime and some cilantro finish off this dish.
These taco bowls are great for meal prep because the cooked ingredients hold up well for several days. Just make a large batch of this and divide it into separate containers for several lunches.
Related recipe: Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Related recipe: 15 Minute Blackened Salmon Rice Bowls
A few ideas for variations to these brown rice taco bowls:
Just like with most recipes, I like to give you a few ideas of how to switch up some ingredients in my recipes so you can get a few different dinner ideas out of one recipe. So here's what you can do when you get tired of eating brown rice taco bowls exactly as the recipe below says (although who could get tired of these, really??):
- Make these with ground pork, ground turkey, or thinly sliced chicken breast instead of ground beef.
- Serve these with some chunky tomato salsa instead of tomato slices.
- Add some re-fried beans or pinto beans instead of black beans.
- Serve all the ingredients over quinoa instead of rice.
- Skip the rice and add the rest of the ingredients to a tortilla to make tacos.
- Throw everything on the floor methodically piece by piece. Just kidding, you're not my 20 month old son.
A few notes and tips about the ingredients:
Rice: you can use any kind of brown rice in this recipe. I like "regular" short grain brown rice (such as this one) the best for these taco bowls instead of any fancy basmati rice. Of course you can use a rice cooker or the traditional stove-top method to cook the rice, but I *love* cooking rice in my Instant Pot. It's so easy and it comes out perfect every time. You will find lots of different ways to cook brown rice in the Instant Pot online, but here is my fool-proof method:
Add 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil to the instant pot. Add 2 cups brown rice, 2.5 cups water, and about 1-2 teaspoons salt. Stir. Cook on high pressure for 23 minutes, allow pressure to release naturally for at least 10 minutes, then you can open the valve. Stir the rice if you want to prevent it from getting sticky, or let it sit until serving if you like sticky sushi-like rice. Carefully remove stainless steel pot from the instant pot (I use these cute little silicone pot holders/oven gloves) and place it on a wire rack or the stove to cool.
Taco seasoning: you can obviously make your own mix, but this recipe has enough ingredients as it is, so I used a packet of taco seasoning here. No shame.
Lime juice for the lime crema: I almost never buy bottled lime juice because I love the flavor and scent of fresh squeezed limes, I think taking a few seconds to squeeze your own limes is so worth the effort. I use this lemon/lime squeezer almost daily in my coking. I've had it for over 10 years and it's still going strong.
Corn: If you have fresh corn, use it! 1 large ear of corn or 2 small ears will do. If corn is truly fresh, you don't have to cook it for long, so the quick saute in step 4 will be enough. If you don't have fresh corn, a 15-oz can of corn is just fine.
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Taco Brown Rice Bowls
- 2 cups brown rice , uncooked
- water for cooking the rice
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (from 1/2 - 1 lime)
- 1-2 tablespoons water
- 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning , to taste
- Optional: Salt and pepper , to taste (see notes)
- 1 15-oz can corn , drained and rinsed
- 1 15-oz can black beans , drained and rinse
- 2 small tomatoes , thinly sliced (or substitute 1/2 cup tomato salsa)
- 1 Hass avocado thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons shredded cheese
- 2 tablespoons Cilantro leaves or sliced scallions for garnish
- Cook brown rice according to the package instructions. Prepare the rest of the taco bowls while the rice is cooking
- Slice the tomatoes and avocado. Prepare the lime crema: In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of water and stir well. Season with a pinch of salt. Add more water 1/2 tablespoon at a time until you reach a desired consistency.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-large skillet over high heat. Add the ground beef and allow to brown on the underside for 2-3 minutes. Use a spatula to break up the ground beef and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning (to taste). Season with salt and pepper, if desired (see notes). Drain the liquid and remove from skillet.
- Add the corn kernels to the same skillet and stir fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the corn is heated through. Remove corn from skillet. Add the black beans and stir fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the black beans are heated through. Remove from skillet. (The corn and black beans can be combined in the skillet, if preferred).
- Assemble the rice bowls: Divide the cooked rice between 4 bowls. Top each brown with 1/4 of the cooked ground beef, corn, black beans, tomatoes, avocado. Top with cheese, cilantro or diced scallions, and drizzle with lime crema.
- If your taco seasoning already has salt, you might not need to add any more. Check the ingredients list!
- You can heat up the corn and black beans together in the skillet if you don't mind mixing them all up.
- Instead of sliced tomatoes, you can put about 2 tablespoons chunky tomato salsa on each taco brown rice bowl (1/2 cup total for 4 servings).