Southwest Steak Bowls

$10.50 recipe / $2.63 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.89 from 18 votes
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I came up with this recipe because I had half of a flank steak in my freezer that I needed to use up. As usual, I bulked up the meat with beans, rice, and other yummies, so that the one pound (or less, actually) covered four servings. I really had a hard time deciding what to put in these bowls because there were just SO many delicious possibilities. So, I’ll tell you what I put in mine below and then give you some other options!

I started the bowls with a base of brown rice cooked in chicken broth. The chicken broth makes a big difference in the overall flavor of the bowl. Feel free to use white rice, I just wanted to try to incorporate more brown rice into my diet lately. I topped the bowls with black beans, corn, freshly made pico de gallo, cumin-lime marinated flank steak, a dollop of sour cream, and  a few sprigs of fresh cilantro. It was so. good. oh. my. 

So here are some other ideas: avocado (or an avocado/sour cream sauce), your favorite salsa (instead of the pico de gallo), fresh or pickled jalapeños, satuéed onions & peppers (for a fajita style bowl), sautéed mushrooms, or shredded cheese. Basically, anything that you like in a burrito or on a taco would be amazing on this free-form bowl. Be creative!

Southwest Steak Bowls

Top view of a Southwest Steak Bowl

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Southwest Steak Bowls

4.89 from 18 votes
These Southwest Steak Bowls have everything you love about burritos in a quick and easy bowl. 
Servings 4
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
Total 1 hour 5 minutes


For the Steak

  • 1 lb. flank or skirt steak ($4.48)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1 clove garlic ($0.08)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1 lime ($0.33)

For the Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice ($0.56)
  • 3 cups chicken broth* ($0.21)


  • 1 small onion ($0.32)
  • 1 large tomato ($1.06)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro ($0.50)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans* ($0.63)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels ($0.47)
  • 8 oz. sour cream ($1.47)
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  • To make the steak marinade, mince the garlic and combine it in a bowl with the olive oil, cumin, salt, and the juice from half of the lime (1-2 Tbsp juice). Save the other half of the lime to use in the pico de gallo. Add the marinade and steak to a zip top bag or shallow dish, make sure the steak is well coated in the marinade, and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes while the rice cooks.
  • Cook the rice according to the package instructions, but substitute chicken broth for the water.
  • While the rice is cooking and steak is marinating, prepare the pico de gallo. Dice the tomato and half of the onion. Combine the diced tomato, onion, juice from the second half of the lime, 1/4 tsp of salt, and a handful of roughly chopped cilantro in a bowl. Stir until combined, taste, and adjust the salt if needed.
  • Rinse the black beans in a colander and allow the corn kernels to thaw.
  • To cook the steak, heat a large skillet over medium-high until very hot. Add the steak and cook for 3-5 minutes on one side, or until deeply golden brown. Flip and cook in the same manner on the second side. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and allow it to rest for five minutes. If desired, thinly slice the second half of your onion and cook it in the skillet for a few minutes, or until they are caramelized.
  • Once the steak has rested for a few minutes, slice it thinly against the grain (look for the lines in the meat and cut across them). To build the bowls, lay down one cup of rice, 1/4 cup each of beans, corn, and pico de gallo, a few slices of steak, a few sprigs of cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve hot.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


*I used chicken base to make the chicken broth, which is much less expensive than buying canned or boxed broth.
*I used beans that I had cooked from dry, which is less expensive than canned beans.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 782.85kcalCarbohydrates: 97.75gProtein: 42.7gFat: 28.45gSodium: 971.85mgFiber: 16.05g
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Top view of a Southwest Steak Bowl with staged ingredients on side

Step by Step Photos

Marinade ingredients in mixing bowl with forkThe first thing I did was prepare the marinade so that the meat could be marinating while the rice was cooking. Just mince up a clove of garlic and combine it with the olive oil, cumin, salt, and juice from HALF of the lime. Save the other half of the lime for the pico de gallo.

Marinade and steak in ziplock bag I had this half of a flank steak in my freezer. I thawed it over night in the fridge and then just added the marinade straight to the bag. Massage it around a bit so that the marinade gets all over. You can also do this in a shallow dish, just make sure to coat the steak in the marinade. I put this back into the refrigerator to do its thing while the rice cooked.

Package of rice and jar of better than bouillon Cook the rice according to the directions on the package except replace the water with chicken broth. This adds a LOT of flavor to your bowls. I like to use Better Than Bouillon because it’s less expensive than canned or boxed broths and I can make any amount that I need, then keep the rest of the jar in the fridge. It lasts forever.

Pico de Gallo in bowl with fork I love fresh pico de gallo, but you could always just use your favorite salsa instead. To make the pico de gallo, dice half of a small onion and one large tomato. Roughly chop a handful of fresh cilantro. Squeeze the juice from the second half of the lime over top and add a 1/4 tsp of salt. Stir and you’re done!

Searing Steak in hot skillet To cook the steak, heat up a large skillet over medium-high heat until it’s really hot.There was a lot of oil in the marinade, so I didn’t find that I needed to add anymore to the skillet. If you’re using a metal (not non-stick), you may want a touch of oil, but again, there was a lot in the marinade and already coating the meat. Let the meat cook without touching it for about 3 minutes on one side. Peek underneath and see if it’s nice and brown. If it is, go ahead and flip it and cook the same on the other side. Skirt steak can be tough if over cooked, so we’re aiming for nice and brown on the outside and light pink on the inside.

Letting cooked steak restAfter the steak is browned on both sides, let it sit for a few minutes before slicing (this will keep it juicy).

Caramelizing onions in skillet I didn’t want to waste the other half of the onion that I used for the pico, so I sliced it thin and sauteed it up really quickly in the skillet. It picked up all of the yummy bits of meat left over from cooking the steak. YUM.

Slicing steak into thin slices Now you can slice the steak. Look for the lines or the “grain” of the meat and slice it in the opposite direction. This helps keep the steak tender and easy to chew by cutting across the connective tissue. I love skirt steak. omgomgomg.

black beans in colander to rinse Also, while all that is going on, drain and rinse the beans. Take the corn out of the freezer and let that thaw, too.

Top view of building a Southwest Steak Bowl with ingredients Now the rice is probably done so you can fluff that up and build your bowls! Put a cup or so of the rice in a bowl and top with about 1/4 cup each of beans, corn, and pico de gallo. Add some of the sliced steak, a few sprigs of fresh cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream. And that’s that!

Adding a dollop of Sour Cream to top of bowl I think the sour cream really adds something great to the bowls… I thought about making an avocado/sour cream sauce, but wanted to keep it simple. That would be awesome, though.

Fork in bowl of Southwest Steak BowlAnd when it all starts mixing together… oooooooh. Go make it now!

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  1. This recipe has literally all of the ingredients I like in it. My family insisted on stuffing this into tortillas, but I didn’t even need one for a satisfying Taco Tuesday.

  2. Looooooove this. The marinade is simple but just fantastically delicious, even with my cheap bottom round steak. I sliced it for our dinner bowls, but the next day for lunch leftovers I diced it up as another commenter suggested and I think next time I make it I’ll do that from the start. I had half a sweet onion in the fridge, and I used that with some quartered cherry tomatoes to make the pico de gallo.

  3. I am making this tonight. I gave it a rating already because of the ease in making it + one can be creative with the toppings, which I already had! I’m adding green onions, home baked tortilla chips, and lettuce to ours. Can’t wait! I follow BudgetBytes on Instagram and have already made a couple of the entrees, including several one pot meals.

  4. Do you think I could “meal-prep” this recipe for the freezer (without the sour cream of course)? I’m looking for “bowl” recipes to make ahead, and reduce lunch costs!

    1. I think the pico de gallo (tomato, onion, cilantro) would also suffer from freezing and thawing. I’m not sure how the steak would do, though. It might get dry if pre-sliced like that.

  5. I uploaded this recipe into My Fitness Pal and it came back as over 650 calories per bowl! This can’t be right-I divided this into 5 bowls for this weeks dinner. Do you know about what the calories are for each bowl?

    1. Unfortunately, those calculators can sometimes be extremely inaccurate and that’s exactly why I don’t use them to provide nutrition info like other blogs do. :(

  6. I made this last night and it was the best steak bowl ever, my partner and I loved it!

  7. oooh I’ll have to try this! I love eating the Evol fire-grilled steak bowls from the freezer section, let’s see if I can make an equivalent at home…

  8. DELICIOSO!! My picky family devoured these. That marinade is something I’ll be using more often. 500/5 stars!

  9. I have some steak in the freezer that needs to be used. I’m looking forward to making this recipe for dinner this week.