Healthy meal prep recipe: Mexican-style cauliflower and brown rice bowls

This Mexican-style meal prep recipe is low in calories yet bursting with flavour and nutrients, plus vegan to boot. An easy dish to add to your meal planning roster.

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Spiced and roasted cauliflower, creamy black beans, brown rice, fresh tomato salsa and a dash of hot sauce (if you dare).

This recipe is designed for two people, making six portions altogether, but can be easily halved if you’re meal prepping for one, or served up all at once if you’re feeding a crowd.

These cauliflower and brown rice bowls are comforting and filling without being heavy and they’re bursting with fresh veg. Vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, they’re packed with a variety of flavours and textures so carnivores won’t miss the meat.

What makes this recipe healthy?

These vegan Mexican-style cauliflower and rice bowls:

  • Are low in salt and sugar
  • Are high in fibre
  • Are high in protein
  • Feature complex carbohydrates
  • Are low in calories
  • Contain 3 of your 5 A Day

This recipe has been split into sections to help you meal prep. The list of ingredients may seem long but in practice it’s very simple to make.

Our top tips for cooking this recipe are:

  • Weigh your rice before you cook it to make sure you’re eating the right portion.
  • Similarly, measure out your oil so you’re not using more than you need.
  • Read through the ingredients and chop everything that needs chopping first. It’ll make cooking much quicker.
  • You’ll need good Tupperware to store the portions you won’t eat immediately. We like to use containers with two sections to keep the hot and cold elements separate.
  • You can use regular brown rice but we prefer boil-in-the-bag, 10-minute or microwave brown rice for this recipe because it saves on time. If you do use regular rice, you’ll need to factor in the cooking time, which should be given on the pack.

Mexican-style cauliflower and brown rice bowls

Makes six portions

Ingredients

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For the salsa:

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

400g cherry or baby plum tomatoes, quartered

1 lime

For the cauliflower:

2 tbsp olive oil

2 whole heads cauliflower, cut into florets

1-1.5 tsp chilli powder

¼ tsp garlic granules

¼ tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

For the black beans:

2 tins/tetra packs black beans in water (not brine or salted water), rinsed and drained

200ml water

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To serve:

200g fresh spinach, roughly chopped

3 packs microwave brown rice
Or
3 packs boil-in-the-bag/10 minute brown rice (1 portion = half a bag/62.5g dry weight)
Or
450g (dry weight) brown rice

Optional:

Extra limes

Extra salad toppings such as sliced spring onions, sweetcorn, avocado slices, chopped herbs (coriander or parsley would both work well)

A little hot sauce

Method

1. Mix the chopped tomatoes and red onion in a bowl with the juice of one whole lime, season with a pinch of salt and set aside.

2. Turn the oven to 200°C / 180C fan. Place the cauliflower into a large roasting tray and drizzle over the olive oil.

3. Combine the chilli powder, garlic granules, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl or ramekin. Mix well, then sprinkle half the mixture over the cauliflower. Set the other half aside for the black beans.

4. Toss the cauliflower so it’s fairly evenly coated in oil and spices. Put it in the oven on the middle shelf for around 25-30 minutes until it’s done to your liking. You’ll need to turn it halfway through so that it doesn’t catch.

5. Meanwhile, place a small saucepan over a medium-low heat and tip in the beans and 200ml water along with the rest of the spice mixture from earlier. Bring to a low simmer, then mash the beans with the back of a spoon until the mixture becomes creamier.

You can carry on mashing intermittently as they cook until they reach the texture you like.

6. Divide the cooked rice between 6 containers and top with the beans and cauliflower.

To any portions you’ll eat immediately, add the salsa, spinach and any extra salad toppings. A squeeze of lime juice and a splash of hot sauce go perfectly.

The rest of the toppings should be stored separately, that way you can heat up the rice, cauliflower and beans together without losing the freshness of the salsa and salad.

Tip: If you’re using microwave rice, there’s no need to cook it before you portion it out. Just cook the portions you’ll eat immediately and simply squeeze out half a bag into each of the four portions you’re putting in the fridge.



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