Quick and Easy Mexi-Bowls

Talk about a bowl loaded with freshness!

Vertical mage of a black bowl with a white rice base topped with spiced meat, vegetables, beans, jalapeno slices, and cheddar cheese, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

Instead of going out for Mexican food, which is something that typically happens at least two times a week in my world, I finally stayed in and made something easy and quick at home instead.

This recipe only takes 20 minutes to make, which is the same amount of time – or less – than I would spend going out for takeout and it’s faster than delivery, too.

All I can say is that I am in love with these Mexi-bowls. This is a deep and serious relationship that I plan to escalate over the coming weeks by eating this recipe regularly. Don’t be surprised if I decide to eat it a few times a week instead of ordering in… It’s just everything I could ever want, right in one bowl.

Vertical image of a black bowl with an assortment of rice and vegetables topped with salsa, thin green pepper slices, a dollop of sour cream, and cilantro next to a towel and a fork.

You might be wondering, what exactly is a Mexi-bowl? The best way I can put it is that it is essentially a layered burrito bowl. It has all your favorite fillings that you would normally see in a burrito, minus the tortilla.

With fresh veggies and a homemade seasoning blend, what’s not to love about this recipe?

The best part is, you can customize these bowls with your favorite proteins. This is a fantastic way to use up any leftover meat in the refrigerator if you happen to have some lying around. Personally, I am a big fan of chicken (breast or thigh meat works great here), but you can also use pork or beef.

Vertical top-down image of two Maxi-bowls in black dishes on a towel next to a fork, cilantro, and a bowl of red salsa.

Bowls like this are usually served over rice, which can be white, brown, or black, depending on your preference. You can even use quinoa as the base if you prefer to be a little bit healthier with your grain choices.

If you’re looking to lighten things up even more, you can also serve the meat, veggies, and salsa over shredded romaine lettuce. I have been doing this a lot lately, and I think it is a wonderful option for anyone looking to cut down on their carb intake.

Vertical mage of a black bowl with a white rice base topped with spiced meat, vegetables, beans, jalapeno slices, and cheddar cheese, with a fork inserted into a part of the dish, with another bowl and cilantro in the background.

Surprisingly, there’s so much flavor in the meat and vegetables that I don’t even miss the rice when I serve it as a salad.

Let’s break things down to the specifics, shall we? Here’s everything that goes into a homemade Mexi-bowl:

  • Seasonings: a homemade seasoning blend made with paprika, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and a few more common spices that you likely already have in your spice rack is key to boosting the flavor of this dish.
  • Rice: I usually use cooked white rice, but you can change things up as I mentioned before.
  • Meat: My preference is for chicken or beef, but you can also use pork. Vegetarians can skip the meat, or give tofu or jackfruit a try. For an idea, use the mix of onions, mushrooms, and peppers in our vegetarian taco recipe.
  • Vegetables: A simple combination of beans, onions, and bell peppers comes together in mere minutes on the stovetop.
  • Toppings: Shredded Mexican blend cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro, and sliced jalapenos are all delicious topping choices. Feel free to get creative with your toppings. I’ll give you a full list of ideas at the end of this article, so keep reading to check it out.

You’ll find yourself wanting to make this meal multiple times a week, not only because it’s so easy, but because it is so flavorful and easily adaptable as well.

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Horizontal image of a black bowl filled with white rice, vegetables, meat, salsa, sliced jalapenos, and shredded cheese on a white towel next to a bowl of salsa.

Quick and Easy Mexi-Bowls

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


These Mexi-bowls are loaded with your favorite protein, rice, beans, peppers, and a variety of toppings to keep things interesting and fresh.



For the Spice Mix:

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Bowls:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (rinsed and drained, if using canned)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, beef, or pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and reheated
  • 2 cups cooked white or brown rice, reheated
  • 1 1/2 cups your favorite salsa (homemade or store bought) 

For the Toppings:

  • Sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Shredded Mexican-style cheese blend


  1. Add all ingredients for the spice mix to a small bowl. Stir together until combined. Set aside. 
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add yellow onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell peppers and black beans. Cook until everything is warmed through, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Add chopped meat to a medium bowl with the spice mix. Toss to coat the meat evenly. 
  4. Divide rice, black beans, meat, and salsa between four bowls, layering them in this order. 
  5. Serve with toppings as desired.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Rice Bowl
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: rice, burrito bowl, beans

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Chop Vegetables, Reheat Meat and Rice, And Measure Remaining Ingredients

Horizontal image of a wooden table with bowls of assorted prepped vegetables, black beans, chicken, and salsa.

With a sharp knife and sturdy cutting board, peel and chop a yellow onion (and don’t shed any tears when you do it!).

Seed and chop half of a red bell pepper and half of a yellow bell pepper. Note that you can use any color sweet pepper you prefer here, and green makes a nice option too!

Reheat the meat and the rice. This is a wonderful opportunity to use up any leftovers you may have in the fridge. Skip the meat if you like, or try a vegetarian substitute.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as they are listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Make Seasoning Mixture

Horizontal image of a light spice mixture in a small glass bowl on a wooden table.

Add all of the spices for the spice mixture to a medium-sized bowl. Stir to combine, and set aside.

Step 3 – Cook Vegetables

Horizontal image of a blue pan cooking an assortment of mixed chopped vegetables and black beans.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet. Once it’s hot, add the onion and cook until it has softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the peppers and beans, and cook until everything is warmed through, stirring occasionally. This will take about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set the vegetable mixture aside.

Step 4 – Season Meat

Horizontal image of a metal bowl with a chopped chicken and spice mixture.

Combine the reheated meat with the spice mixture, tossing to coat everything evenly.

Step 5 – Assemble

Horizontal top-down image of two Mexican rice bowls on a towel next to cilantro and salsa.

To assemble, divide the rice between four bowls. Top with even amounts of vegetables, meat, and salsa in layers. Not sure which type of salsa to choose? Check out this roundup of some of our favorites for ideas.

Serve with your choice of toppings.

For the Love of Toppings

Some people just love toppings, and I don’t blame them.

Personally, I am all about the toppings. They are what makes it easy to customize a variety of dishes to your personal preference.

Horizontal image of a black bowl filled with white rice, vegetables, meat, salsa, sliced jalapenos, and shredded cheese on a white towel next to a bowl of salsa.

Here’s a list of toppings that go well with these Mexi-bowls, in addition to the ones suggested in the ingredients list above:

What are your favorite toppings? Tell us in the comments below!

Love all things Mexican-inspired? Check out the following recipes from Foodal to try next:

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on May 27, 2011. Last updated on July 2, 2020.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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