black bean polenta burrito bowl

Have you ever taken the time to fully caramelize onions?  Why has it taken me to the age of 29.65 to do so?  Yeah, I work in decimal points this year.  Don’t judge.

black bean polenta burrito bowl // edible perspective

I think it’s always been the amount of time it takes to do the caramelizing that holds me back.  A solid 30 minutes??  That is just way too long.

But, if you’re not incorporating the onions into another part of the recipe, which would make you wait 30 minutes before getting started on the next step, it is worth 30 minutes of your time to make them.


In that 30 minutes you can whip up the entire rest of this meal!

I’m only slightly excited.

black bean polenta burrito bowl // edible perspective

The other pieces to this puzzle are a cinch to make. 

Polenta.  Scratch that.  CHEESY polenta.  Unless you’re vegan, then plain polenta will do juuuust fine.  A handful of sharp cheddar cheese was stirred in right at the end of cooking along with a few splashes of hot sauce.  Creamy, creamy goodness.

black bean polenta burrito bowl // edible perspective

And then there are the beans.

These are the b.e.s.t. black beans I’ve ever cooked.  You’ll need one pot, a spoon, and a few other ingredients.  The KEY is adding liquid to the beans and cooking them down to become flavor packed and tender.  No dry beans here!

black bean polenta burrito bowl // edible perspective

Don’t feel like whipping up guacamole?  No problem.  Mash an avocado, squeeze 1/2 a lime on top, and sprinkle with salt.  DONE.

Just call me Rachel Ray.

I suppose if I’m being completely honest this meal probably takes 33.35 minutes to complete.  But who’s counting??

I’ve tried to keep things as simple as possible by breaking apart each component into 4 mini recipes.  At the end you’ll find a guide for the ordering and timing to make this entire meal.


black bean polenta burrito bowl // edible perspective

Print this!

Black Bean Polenta Burrito Bowl gluten-free, vegan option // yields 3-4 servings

for the onions + peppers

  • 1 tablespoon ghee/coconut oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 sweet bell peppers, sliced
  • sea salt
  1. Heat the ghee or coconut oil in your largest pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and peppers and stir frequently until just softened. 5-7 minutes.
  3. Generously sprinkle with salt, stir, then reduce heat to med-low for about 25-30 minutes until fully golden brown and caramelized.  Stir every few minutes.

for the black beans

  • 2 teaspoons ghee/coconut oil
  • 1 3/4 cup cooked black beans, rinsed + drained
  • 1 small can diced mild green chiles
  • 1/4 cup no/low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup salsa, not chunky
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoons chipotle sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • sea salt
  1. Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds – 1 minute until fragrant and lightly browned.
  3. Stir in the black beans, green chiles, veggie broth, salsa, 1/2 tablespoon chipotle sauce, cumin, and a few pinches of salt.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer uncovered for 10 – 15 minutes until thickened and almost all of the liquid has cooked off, stirring occasionally.
  5. Taste and add more chipotle sauce or salt if desired.

notes/subs:  It’s best to use a pureed/thin salsa as the liquid is necessary for cooking.  Chipotle sauce comes in a small can in the ethnic aisle of your store.  It is very spicy so be sure to taste along the way and add in small amounts.

for the polenta

  • 1 cup dry polenta grits
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups low/no-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, optional
  • few splashes of hot sauce
  • sea salt + black pepper

I used Bob’s Red Mill polenta grits, so be sure to check your package for exact instructions as they may vary.

  1. Bring water + veggie broth to a boil.
  2. Slowly stir in the polenta grits, add a few pinches of salt, and reduce heat to simmer.
  3. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cheese [if using], hot sauce, and a few pinches of black pepper, then cover for 5 minutes before serving.  If it thickens too much add a bit more water and heat over med-low until smoothed out and creamy.
  5. Taste and add more salt if needed.

notes/subs:  The cheese is not necessary if you need this dairy-free or vegan.

for the quick guacamole

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 lime
  • sea salt
  1. Mash the avocado and add the juice from 1 lime.
  2. Mix together with a few pinches of sea salt.
  3. Taste and add more salt if desired.  If you’re not serving this right away, press saran over the surface [touching] of the mashed avocado and keep refrigerated.

<< quick guide for cooking this meal >>

  1. Follow onion + pepper cooking directions.
  2. Open all cans, prep garlic, and anything else that you will need to have on hand.
  3. When the onions/peppers have about 15 minutes left, start heating oil for the black beans and follow the instructions for those.
  4. After starting the beans start the polenta.
  5. Make the quick guacamole.
  6. Garnish with green onion or cilantro if desired.  SERVE!

black bean polenta burrito bowl // edible perspective

One more thing before I go!

The new and improved Ashley McLaughlin Photography website went live Friday night!  To kick the launch off you’ll find a brand new blog post featuring my sweet cousin, Elizabeth.

Hop on over and check it out!  The entire site is brand spanking new!