Review: Helen’s Kitchen Fiesta Black Bean Bowl

I love burritos. I ate Chipotle all the time before I was diagnosed – nothing compared to that big flour tortilla stuffed with so much vegetable and rice goodness. As a teenager I was addicted to Taco Bell bean and cheese burritos (before I realized what good food was). I love anything wrapped in a tortilla. Well, now I can’t have my magical burrito – but I can have something just as good, the burrito bowl. I’m a regular at my Chipotle, pretending like I  enjoy watching everyone else eat their giant burritos while I eat with a fork like a proper human.

I’m always on the look out for new “burritos” in the market. I’m a fiend for Amy’s bean and cheese burrito, but it’s better to eat something a bit more substantial and a bit healthier for lunch on the regular. Several months ago, I stumbled upon Helen’s Kitchen line of burrito bowls at my local Whole Foods. I was naturally drawn to the “gluten free” label on their packaging, as well as their use of quinoa along with rice in the burrito bowl. Talk about inventive – I had never thought of putting quinoa in a burrito! I just had to try it.

It’s really simple to prepare, perfect for a quick meal during lunch time or a stressed-for-time-dinner, just 4-5 minutes in the microwave. What I enjoy most about it – besides the taste – is how filling it is. After I eat a typical frozen burrito, I’m don’t feel satiated. With this bowl – perhaps it’s the 12 grams of protein or all the veggies – I feel full. I feel like I just ate something really healthy and my stomach feels good. I like frozen GF food with substantial portions – not talking Hungry Man size – but something that keeps me from wanting to stuff GF cookies down my throat directly after finishing my meal.  And it’s only 290 calories – which is far less than I expected for a filling meal.

I’m super impressed with the veggies in this bowl, as they are well proportioned and fresh-tasting. They don’t seem wilted or fake, they seem like the company put care into putting the veggies into it. The corn is sweet and crispy, the red peppers are very flavorful. The spinach doesn’t have much flavor, but I love having a green in here too. There’s also potatoes, carrots, and peas in there too. And there is cheese – although my body doesn’t like it – I love anything with cheese. I think it really completes the bowl.

FYI, I tried to make my own version of this after I first tried it. I baked quinoa, black beans, red bell peppers, and cheese in the oven. It was decent, but nothing like this (you’ll thank me that I didn’t include the recipe). You might as well let Helen (yes, there really is a Helen) do it for you.

I give this Fiesta Black Bean Bowl 5 out of 5 wheat stalks and hope to see it make its regular rotation in my freezer for lunch during the weekdays. It keeps me full and makes me feel like I put something good into my body.

I can’t wait to try the other bowls and entrees – seriously, they have a plantain-based entree, how cool is that?

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