Another easy dinner using black beans: this vegan burrito bowl is so delicious and satisfying! Let everyone build their own bowl by putting everything on the table, family style. Or, portion out everything and have lunches ready to go for the whole week.
If you knew the number of times I have eaten a vegan burrito bowl at Chipotle, you would trust me when I say that this one tastes exactly like a copycat version.
My copycat recipe is so good that you just might delete the ordering app on your phone. Truly, making this recipe vegan is just as simple as using plant-based mayo or sour cream and any of the new amazing shredded 'cheese' alternatives on the market right now.
This recipe has all the things we know and love about a burrito bowl:
- hearty black beans
- piquant cilantro lime rice
- charred sweet corn
- crisp shredded lettuce
- scoop of creamy guacamole
- spicy pico de gallo
- sprinkle of vegan cheese
- fajita-style grilled peppers
The first time you make this vegan burrito bowl, it might seem like a lot of steps. However, you will quickly get the hang of it, and please know that you can make a lot of the parts ahead of time and keep in the fridge up to one day ahead. This is what I commonly do!
How to Make a Vegan Burrito Bowl
When you first walk into Chipotle, you have to decide: am I eating everything wrapped inside a giant tortilla, or am I putting everything into a bowl instead. Personally, my burrito wrapping skills aren't that great, so I have always ordered bowls.
Next, you select the type of rice. We all know that the cilantro lime white rice is the best option for rice. However, you can absolutely make this same recipe with brown rice, but know that it will take longer to cook.
Then, it's time to choose the protein. In all the years that this chain has been open, I have never once tried their meat! I am so tempted by the bin of steaming black beans or pinto beans that I have never even been tempted to order meat. If only I knew years ago that my extreme love of beans would turn into a website for you!
Now that we have beans and rice, it's time to load up on smoky grilled vegetables, crisp shredded lettuce for freshness, a scoop of pico de gallo (or drizzle of your favorite salsa), sour cream (vegan version), or anything else you typically add to your order.
Finally, you must add a dollop of guacamole. As your stir everything together, the creamy guacamole coats and makes every bite of the bowl so delicious! The mayo is the secret that makes the guacamole so creamy and so delicious. If you're fully opposed to it, use a scoop of pico when mashing the avocado instead.
- Rice. I tend to make this with white rice more than brown rice, but if you make it with brown, just increase the cooking time from 19 minutes to 39 minutes. Proceed with the resting, and then add salt, lime juice and cilantro as usual.
- Lime Juice. Tossing the freshly cooked hot rice with lime juice is paramount for the flavor.
- Fresh Cilantro. We're tossing the cooked rice in chopped cilantro, and also using some for the guacamole. You need one small bunch total for this recipe, or a big handful of fresh leaves.
- Olive Oil. It doesn't need to be extra virgin since we're charring the vegetables in olive oil to give them that grilled fajita flavor.
- Corn. You can use 1 cup of frozen corn (no need to defrost) or one small 8 ounce can of corn, drained.
- Bell Pepper. Any color bell pepper is fine; I use red most commonly.
- Onion. Charring the onion slices in a cast iron skillet gives them the fajita-flavor. I use a small white or yellow onion, about 1 cup of sliced onion.
- Oregano. Dried oregano, specifically Mexican oregano, is the best here.
- Black Beans. One 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed. Or use about 1 ¾ cup of my instant pot black beans, drained.
- Avocado. Make sure your avocado is ripe and ready to go. You can absolutely skip making the guacamole in this recipe and just use store-bought guacamole.
- Mayonnaise. Use plant-based mayonnaise. Or, you can use vegan sour cream in its place.
- For topping: pico de gallo, salsa, vegan shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, vegan sour cream.
See recipe card for exact quantities.
Gather all ingredients and get your work station ready. Roughly, we're going to make our rice, sear our veggies, stir in the beans, and then make our guacamole. Are you ready?
First, make the rice: combine the rice with 2 cups of cold water in a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, cover and let cool for 19 minutes. At the end of 19 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the pan lid, place a kitchen towel on top, and put the lid back on the pan. Let sit for 5 minutes. After the rice has sat, remove the lid and kitchen towel, and stir in the salt, lime juice and chopped cilantro. Set aside with the lid on to keep warm.
Next, heat the olive oil in a 12” skillet over medium heat. Add the corn, sliced peppers, sliced onions, salt, pepper and oregano. Cook this mixture until everything softens, stirring only occasionally. You want black char spots to form on the peppers and corn, and it’s okay if the onions get a little brown on the edges. It will take 10-15 minutes for this to happen. Be sure to use a large, shallow pan; don’t crowd the ingredients in a pan or else they will steam.
Remove the veggies from the pan into a serving bowl, and then turn off the heat. Pour the canned beans into this pan, and use the residual heat to warm them up. Set aside.
Finally, make the guacamole! Mash the avocados with a fork, and stir in the vegan mayonnaise and salt. Stir in the chopped cilantro.
To Serve: place a scoop of rice in each bowl, top with a scoop of black beans, a scoop of the charred vegetables, and a dollop of guacamole. Add any other things you like; I like crisp shredded lettuce for crunch and a scoop of pico de Gallo. My family likes to crush tortilla chips on top, too.
This is just how I make my vegan burrito bowl. You can swap in anything you prefer.
- Beans - instead of black beans, use pinto beans; specifically my instant pot pinto beans.
- Veggies - use any color bell pepper, add jalapeños, use red onion instead of yellow, extra corn (or no corn), add zucchini or summer squash. Whatever veggies you need to use up are great seared and added to this bowl.
- Vegan - to keep this recipe vegan, use vegan mayo (or vegan sour cream) and vegan cheese shreds.
I really recommend a 12" cast iron skillet to make this recipe. It is wide enough that the veggies will sear and develop a golden crust.
This 12" cast iron skillet is a workhorse in my kitchen; I know you'll love it.
To enjoy this vegan burrito bowl recipe for many lunches throughout the week, it's best to pack up all the ingredients separately. Everything will last for 4 days when kept separately.
Then, the night before you want to pack your lunch, layer everything in a bowl with the rice on the bottom, a scoop of beans and veggies. Pack the guacamole, lettuce, and any other cold toppings separately.
Final Tip for Vegan Burrito Bowls:
Please note that this is just how I build my vegan burrito bowl with black beans, but if you order slightly different than me at Chipotle, feel free to make substitutions. If you like sour cream, grab some vegan sour cream. Or, if you like two types of salsa, use one red and one green. If fajita-style charred peppers or charred corn are not your thing, just omit and use whatever vegetables you love.
Here are all of my black bean recipes.
For the rice:
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- For the vegetables:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 small onion, sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
For the guacamole:
- 2 super ripe medium-sized avocados
- 2 tablespoons vegan mayo (or vegan sour cream)
- Big pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- pico de Gallo
- shredded lettuce
- Gather all ingredients. We will first make the rice, saute the veggies while the rice cooks, stir in the beans last, and then make the guacamole.
- First, start the rice: combine the rice with 2 cups of cold water in a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, cover and let cool for 19 minutes. At the end of 19 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the pan lid, place a kitchen towel on top, and put the lid back on the pan. Let sit for 5 minutes. After the rice has sat, remove the lid and kitchen towel, and stir in the salt, lime juice and chopped cilantro. Set aside.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 715mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 15gSugar: 6gProtein: 14g