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Healthy Alternatives: Mission Burrito's Burrito Bowl

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Last week we attempted to find a figure-friendly burger to fill up our bellies. This week we were craving a Houston favorite: Mexican food. Specifically, something yummy from Mission Burrito. We love going to the original location at 2245 W. Alabama so that we can sit on the patio under the enormous tree and nibble on something yummy.

While we could have gone the easy way and ordered a salad (the Que Mas is great), we decided to be more adventurous and build a burrito bowl for ourselves. We love a challenge, and as we eyed all the mounds of cheese, hot queso and sour cream, we knew we had found one. We started off with a bowl instead of a wrap because we thought this would allow us to portion out some tortilla for our meal without having to eat the massive thing in its entirety.

We began our recipe with a little bit of rice and a big scoop of black beans for protein and healthy carbs. We decided to go for the veggies instead of meat, so our burrito bowl builder piled on some sautéed spinach, mushrooms and red bell pepper for us. We asked if the veggies had been cooked in a lot of oil and were told that they were lightly fried in just a bit of oil. They didn't appear to be shiny or weighed down, which we took as a good sign. Next, we added a ton of fresh veggies, including lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, and some corn for good grain measure. We topped this off with a bit of salsa roja and a scoop of guacamole, because hey, we're only human.

We have to admit, we were pretty proud of our gorgeously arranged silver bowl with mounds and mounds of veggies, beans and grains. We admired it on the way out to the table and along the way, we might have thrown an occasional self-righteous smirk at fellow diners with their cheese- and beef-filled concoctions. Perhaps this was masking a tinge of jealousy, but that's between us. But any envy quickly vanished once we tore off a hot piece of spinach tortilla and loaded it up with bits from our bowl. It was divine.

The sautéed veggies added a nice counterbalance of texture to the dry rice and hearty frijoles negros. The richness of the guacamole made us forget that we were eating "healthy," and we were happy for the mini splurge. Plus, the corn was so sweet and juicy, it really brought all the flavors together nicely. The ratio of sweet to salty and light to dense kept our taste buds entertained throughout the meal and left us feeling satisfied, but not overly full. We'll count this one as another big success. Next week, we'd like to try a healthy Asian option. Any suggestions?

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