Swap the long lines and underwhelming takeout for this Chipotle-inspired Vegan Burrito Bowl instead!
It has everything you love about Chipotle’s vegan burrito bowl: sofritas, black beans, vegetables, corn and tomato salsa, cilantro lime rice, and guac.
But the super-charged smoky, spicy, and tangy flavors make it infinitely better and fresher.
Each component is fairly easy to make, plus you can mix and match as you like. Mix up the vegan proteins, add as many toppings as you can think of or just one or two, or play with the spice level. The options are almost endless.
Table of Contents:
1. Why this recipe works
2. What’s in a vegan burrito bowl?
3. Step-by-step instructions
4. Tips for making this recipe
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. Recipe Card with Notes
Why this recipe works
Easy to customize.
There are endless ways to make this burrito bowl your own, whether you want to mix up the flavors, spice level, and toppings, or cater to allergies.
- Allergic to soy? Use the Mexican Black Beans as the main protein instead of the vegan sofritas.
- Looking for more tang? Top your bowl with pickled onions, a few squeezes of lime, or vegan sour cream.
- Love spicy food? Add an extra chile pepper in the corn salsa.
- Want to add a cheesy element? Drizzle homemade vegan queso on top.
- Craving a crunchy element? Crush tortilla chips on top before serving.
The list goes on! Head to the What’s in a vegan burrito bowl? section for even more topping ideas.
A meal prep master.
If you’ve been looking to mix up your weekly meal prep, then you need a copycat Chipotle burrito bowl in your life. Not only is it packed with plant-based protein and fiber, but the wholesome, vegan and gluten-free ingredients help you feel great while the BIG flavors keep you coming back for more.
Every element here can be made as-is (or doubled and tripled) and stored separately in the fridge for days. Once lunch or dinner time rolls around, toss them all together and enjoy!
Fast food all grown up.
Sure, this bowl is inspired by a fast food favorite, but it’s the artfully curated list of delicious, yet naturally vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free elements that make it feel grown up and unlike any other burrito bowl you’ve tried.
Just think of it as healthy fast food that doesn’t taste healthy. Tofu and beans pack it with protein while the fajita vegetables and salsa add a wide range of nutrients. Antioxidant-rich ingredients like garlic, cilantro, spices, and chile peppers are just the cherry on top.
What’s in a vegan burrito bowl?
There are 4 basic layers to this vegan burrito bowl with endless topping options at the end. Each element is customizable, meaning you can make every bowl with the same elements or mix things up:
Rice. Cilantro-lime rice is the base of the burrito bowl. You can make it with any long-grain white rice (or brown rice), either cooked in the Instant Pot, rice cooker, or on the stove. Whatever grain you choose, flavor it with fresh cilantro and lime zest/juice at the end for a fresh and tangy pick-me-up.
Fajita Veggies. Like Chipotle’s classic sauteed onions and peppers. You can stick with the classic green bell pepper, or use a mix of red/yellow/orange peppers for a pop of color and more sweetness.
Vegan protein. Sofritas or Mexican black beans (or both) are the main vegan protein here. Both will keep you full for hours while filling the bowl with plenty of nutrients and flavor. If you’re soy-free, use the black beans instead of the tofu-based sofritas.
Salsa. Chipotle offers 4 different salsa options when customizing a burrito bowl. Since I know you don’t have time to make all four, I combine all the best parts of their salsa into just one recipe.
A pico de gallo base gives you the fresh tomato salsa factor; folding in charred corn kernels lends the sweetness of their corn salsa, and fresh chile peppers add the heat you’d normally get in Chipotle’s medium or hot salsas.
Tip: The salsa will naturally taste best when made with fresh summer corn. If corn isn’t in season, use defrosted frozen corn or canned corn instead.
Guacamole. You can’t go wrong with a dollop of buttery homemade guacamole on top. My version is super quick and easy, and adds a creamy and cooling element to each bite.
More toppings. Add some shredded romaine lettuce, vegan sour cream, pickled onions, mango avocado salsa, crushed tortilla chips, pickled jalapeños, cilantro, shredded vegan cheese, or vegan queso sauce on top.
And if you have my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, you can use the Frijoles in Chapter 3 to round out this burrito bowl.
Make the salsa. After salting the tomatoes and macerating the onions, combine in a bowl along with the charred corn. Season with black pepper and lime juice as needed, and toss to coat. Rest for 5 to 10 minutes (or refrigerate) to allow the flavors to meld.
Cook the rice. Cook the rinsed rice in a pot of boiling water (add a bay leaf, salt, and oil for flavor) on the stove until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Off the heat, steam the rice, covered, for 10 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and season with olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, lemon juice, cilantro, and salt to taste.
Make the fajita veggies. Slice the onions thinly and slice the peppers into strips. Heat some oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the vegetables, oregano, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the peppers are crisp and the onions are beginning to caramelize.
Assemble the bowls. Scoop some rice into a bowl. Top with the Sofritas or Mexican Black Beans first, then add the fajita veggies. Next, add scoops of salsa and guacamole. Finish with any other toppings you like and enjoy!
Tips for making this recipe
Don’t skip the rinse! Rinsing the rice and agitating the grains with your hands removes excess starch and prevents your rice from sticking together.
The steam is important, too. Leaving cooked rice to steam is a no-brainer in most recipes that involve rice. But to prevent the rice from getting soggy from condensation, replace the pot lid with a clean kitchen towel. This method will always leave you with light and fluffy rice.
Make more fajita veggies. If you want more veggies, use 2 large bell peppers. It will look like a lot of veg in the pan, but it’ll eventually cook down the same way (it’ll take 15 minutes instead of 8-10 minutes).
Speed it up. As much as I love the homemade corn salsa, if you’re in a pinch, skip it and use your favorite storebought salsa instead.
Adjust to your heat level. In the corn salsa, use a jalapeño for moderate heat, or a serrano pepper for extra spice; for mild heat, use a jalapeño but take out the seeds and veins. If making the sofritas, use less chipotle in adobo for milder heat (or the opposite).
More protein options. You can swap the sofritas and/or the Mexican Black Beans for crispy tempeh taco meat, pinto beans, saucy refried beans (3rd recipe card), or vegan taco meat instead. All 4 have heaps of plant-based protein.
Have a burrito bowl party! A fun way to go all out with this recipe is to make all of the burrito bowl components, put out a ton of toppings, and let your family and friends go cray with the customizations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sure! It won’t be the same as a Chipotle burrito bowl, but use whatever grain suits your dietary needs best. I’ve included basic stovetop cooking instructions for brown rice in the recipe card as well.
It’s best to keep all of the layers in separate airtight containers in the fridge rather than storing the assembled bowls. The sofritas, beans, rice, and peppers will all last for up to 5 days. The salsa and guacamole, on the other hand, are best on day 1 but can be stored for up to 3 days.
Pair the sofritas with Just Egg or your fave vegan egg substitute to make breakfast burritos, or the Mexican Black Beans with my tofu scramble for epic breakfast burritos or tacos.
Or stir the black beans into good-quality vegetable broth and simmer away to make black bean soup. If you have leftover rice, you can do a Mexican-spin on fried rice. Leftover salsa? Pair it with tortilla chips for a game day snack, or mix it with cooked beans for a bean-corn salad.
The last thing you want is brown guacamole when you go to eat a burrito bowl for lunch. To avoid this, store the guac in an airtight container in the fridge with the avocado pit pressed into the center. This will help preserve its freshness and prevent it from turning brown.
Kind of. The black beans and rice freeze especially well, so feel free to make a double or triple batch and keep them in the freezer for whenever you need them.
Watch! How to make this recipe
If you love these flavor-packed Chipotle-inspired Vegan Burrito Bowls as much as we do, please be sure to leave a rating and review below :) And as always, I love seeing your remakes on Instagram!
Vegan Burrito Bowl (Better than Chipotle!)
- 1 cup (190g) white Jasmine rice*
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ cups (360 mL) room temperature water
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium lime, zested + 1 ½ tablespoons juice
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup (16g) fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons avocado oil (or oil of choice)
- 1 medium to large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large green bell pepper, thinly sliced into strips**
- ½ tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Charred Corn and Tomato Salsa (recipe below) (or salsa of choice)
- Lazy Guacamole (recipe below)
- Chopped cilantro
- Vegan sour cream
- Shredded romaine lettuce
- Make the protein of your choice. Both the Sofritas and Mexican Black Beans can be made a few days ahead of time.
- Make the Charred Corn and Tomato Salsa, if using.
- Prep the rice. Add the rice to a bowl under cold tap water and rinse for 1 minute while you agitate the rice with your hands.*** Drain in a fine-mesh sieve and transfer the rice to a medium saucepan. Add the water, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon oil to the rice, stir well.
- Cook the rice****. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pan of rice and simmer for 7 minutes, without stirring, until all liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender (you may want to uncover once or twice to ensure it’s at a simmer and not at a boil, but don’t stir. Take off the heat, uncover the pan, layer a clean dish towel on top of the pan, and place the lid back on. Steam for 10 minutes.
- Finish the rice. Remove the bay leaf and fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the lime zest, lime juice, lemon juice, and cilantro. Toss, and season with salt. If desired, add the extra teaspoon of olive oil for a little richness.
- Meanwhile, make the Fajita Veggies. Heat the 1 ½ tablespoons oil in a 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the peppers, onions, oregano, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper to season. Toss occasionally but not too often, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until peppers are tender-crisp and the onions are starting to get caramelized. If there are lots of brown bits on the bottom of the pan, you can deglaze with a splash of water.
- Make the Lazy Guacamole, if desired (recipe below).
- Assemble the bowls: Layer some cooked rice into bowls, top with Sofritas and/or Mexican Black Beans, add a scoop of fajita veggies, a scoop of salsa, and a scoop of guacamole. If desired, finish with chopped cilantro and other toppings, such as vegan sour cream or shredded romaine lettuce.
Charred Corn and Tomato Salsa
- 12 ounces (340g) roma tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, diced*
- ¾ cup diced red onion, (100g) (about ½ of a small red onion)
- 2 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 medium-to-large-sized ears of fresh corn kernels (or 2 cups/300g of frozen, defrosted corn)
- 1 ½ tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 fat garlic clove, grated or crushed
- 1 cup (16g) fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Add the tomatoes to a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Rest for 20 minutes to draw out the water. Stir the tomatoes to remove any remaining water and drain the accumulated liquid.
- Meanwhile, combine the chile pepper, diced onion, salt, and lime in a large bowl and allow to marinate for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Shave the corn, if using fresh corn. Meanwhile, position a small ramekin facing down in the middle of a large bowl. Position an ear of corn upright on top of the ramekin. Use a sharp paring knife in a downward direction to shave the corn kernels, allowing the kernels to drop into the bowl.
- Char the corn. Heat a large skillet (I prefer cast iron) over medium-high heat for a few minutes to get hot. Add the oil and allow to heat for 30 seconds or so. Add the corn kernels. Cook undisturbed for 3 to 5 minutes, or until starting to char. Stand back, as the kernels might pop up. Stir, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes undisturbed, and stir again. Cook for a total of 10 to 11 minutes, or until nicely charred in spots. Sprinkle the corn with a pinch of salt at the end.
- Once the tomatoes have rested, strain them, using a spoon to coax water out of them (there's a lot). Add them to the bowl with the onion, along with the garlic and cilantro. Mix to combine, then fold in the corn and crack in some black pepper, and mix again. Taste, adding salt or more lime juice as needed. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld (or refrigerate for a few hours).
- 2 medium-large ripe avocados
- 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 small handful of cilantro, chopped
- 1 pinch of cayenne (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
- Kosher salt or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Scoop out the avocado flesh into a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice on top. Add the garlic, spices if using, and cilantro, and mash everything up with a fork until smooth but there are still some rough avocado chunks. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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