I love a good bowl recipe. The meals are just as flavor-packed and nutrient-filled as any other meal, but they’re so much cooler because they’re served in a bowl. Drawing inspiration from the classic Chipotle bowl, I came up with a vegan dinner bowl recipe worthy of bookmarking for later. I love knowing exactly what ingredients are going into my recipes and customizing them to my liking. This is a healthy, delicious, plant-based meal that is easy to make and great for lunch or dinner.
There are so many things to love about this dish. To begin with, it’s bursting with color: a pop of orange from the carrots, the green guacamole, the dash of white from the dairy-free sour cream, and the reddish-black black beans. Also, there’s a whole lot of flavor! You’ve got your fresh, fragrant cilantro, some umami-rich vegan cheese, and tangy lime juice.
WHY WE LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Great for meal prep. You can prep most of the components ahead of time, which makes this recipe a quick and yummy weeknight dinner option.
- Extremely nutritious. You’ve got plenty of fiber from the pink rice, proteins from the pumfu and black beans, and healthy fats from the avocado. Yum!
- Incredibly filling. With a mix that includes sautéed mushrooms, carrot pico de gallo, and creamy guacamole, this plant-based Chipotle bowl will keep you satisfied until your next meal.
- Versatile. This bowl recipe is pretty flexible. For example, you can add different kinds of beans, mix in some bell peppers, or maybe throw in some jalapeños.
Here are the key ingredients you'll need to make this Chipotle bowl recipe:
- Red onions
- Olive oil
- Dairy-free sour cream
- Vegan cheese
- Sea salt
- Salad dressing
- Lettuce: Leafy greens add freshness and healthy roughage to a Chipotle bowl recipe like this one. The crunch of lettuce adds texture and crispness to the dish.
- Rice: I love the pink rice from Lotus Foods. It’s aromatic and loaded with nutrients, which makes it a healthier alternative to the white variety.
- Pumfu: This is a tofu alternative that is made using pumpkin seeds. It’s similar to extra-firm tofu and is rich in protein and fiber. In addition, it’s soy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free.
- Red onions: Adds a little zest to the dish!
- Beans: Black beans help make this bowl ultra-satisfying and give it a distinct southwest flair.
- Avocados: Guacamole elevates the flavor of this Mexican-style dish. Mix avocados, lime juice, diced red onions, cilantro, and sea salt for quick, tasty, guac.
- Fresh cilantro: Not only does it add flavor to the lime rice, but it also makes a great garnish.
STEP 1: PREP THE RICE AND BLACK BEANS
Cook the black beans according to package directions. If you’re making them from scratch, it takes an hour or so. I used a regular saucepan on the stove top, but you can prepare them in an Instapot to shorten the cooking time. And if you prefer to skip cooking the beans altogether, just used canned beans instead.
Rinse the rice and then parboil it, starting with dropping it in boiling water. After a few minutes, pour out the cooking liquid. Next, give the rice a good rinse under cold, running water.
Once that’s done, return the rice to the saucepan, add fresh water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the rice and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes or until the grains are fluffy and tender.
I like to use this two-step cooking method to reduce the natural starch found in rice. But if you prefer, you can just cook according to package directions.
STEP 2: MAKE THE CARROT PICO DE GALLO
Peel and dice the carrots.
Next, place the chopped carrots into a saucepan, add some water and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Prep the remaining vegetables while the carrots are cooking: juice the limes, cut the lettuce, slice the scallions, and chop the cilantro.
Peel the red onion and cut it in half, making sure to remove any green core. Next, dice each half and then put them aside.
To a bowl, add the drained, cooked carrots, diced red onions, chopped cilantro, sea salt, and some fresh lime juice.
Stir everything together and let the mixture marinate to help tone down the red onion's bite.
STEP 3: MAKE THE GUACAMOLE AND CILANTRO RICE
To make the guacamole, first cut the avocados into halves and remove the seeds.
Next, scoop out the flesh into a bowl. You can either mash the avocados completely for a smooth texture or leave some chunks for added texture.
Add some lime juice, diced red onions, sea salt, and chopped cilantro. Mix everything together.
To make the cilantro lime rice, put the cooked rice in a bowl. Next, add some chopped cilantro, lime juice, and sliced scallions. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients.
STEP 4: SAUTÉ THE PUMFU AND MUSHROOMS
Remove the stems from the button mushrooms and thinly slice them.
Next, cut the pumfu into bite-size pieces.
Heat up a frying pan over medium heat and add the sliced mushrooms and some sea salt. Cook and stir for a few minutes while stirring occasionally using a wooden spoon.
Next, add some dairy-free sour cream to the pan and let the food cook for a few minutes. Add the cubed pumfu to the pan. You can also add spices of your choice at this stage. Cook and stir the mixture for 5 more minutes.
STEP 5: ASSEMBLE THE BOWL
Grate the vegan cheese. If it’s naturally soft at room temperature, try chilling it before grating.
To a large dinner bowl, add scoops of the cilantro lime rice. Next, spoonfuls of the black beans, carrot pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, guacamole, and the sautéed pumfu and mushrooms.
Drizzle the salad dressing over the components of the bowl.
Add a dollop of sour cream to the middle of the bowl.
Finally, garnish with chopped cilantro and sliced scallions.
- Make extra of the individual components. Cook a double batch of the rice to turn into a stir fry or fried rice the next night. In fact, you can do the same with the sautéed pumfu and mushrooms mix, and later in the week pair it with some green beans and mashed potatoes.
- Make it spicy. I’m not a big spice fan. However, for this recipe, you can amp up the flavor (and heat) with some fajita seasoning, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, or whatever Mexican seasoning you like.
- How to store leftovers. Store each component in the fridge in its own airtight container. Store for 3-5 days. When you’re ready to enjoy, warm up the ingredients that need to be hot, and then assemble your bowl.
- Make burritos from leftovers. Wrap any leftovers in tortillas and make burritos. Pair them with a green salad or some chips and salsa.
- Change the grain. While black beans and rice is a classic combination, any grain will do. For example, you can try a whole grain like quinoa, barley or wheat berries. Use cauliflower rice to make it grain-free.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What comes in a Chipotle bowl?
Traditionally, rice, pinto or black beans, your protein of choice, and additional toppings like tomatoes, salsa, cheese, avocados, and sour cream come in a bowl at Chipotle.
Is a Chipotle bowl healthy?
While Chipotle does offer “lifestyle bowls” options that are meant to cater to those on keto, paleo, Whole30, and vegan diets, you can never be quite sure about all of the ingredients. To begin with, most restaurants use highly processed vegetable oils such as canola oil. The problem with canola oil is that it can contribute to inflammation in your body if heavily consumed. Also, you can never be 100% certain that Chipotle doesn’t use factory-farmed products, which we do not advocate.
As much as possible it’s better to make your own burrito bowls at home where you can use healthy, good-quality, organic ingredients.
How much is a bowl of Chipotle?
A Chipotle bowl costs between $9 and $12, depending on the protein you choose. If you factor in extras like toppings, sides, and a drink, the cost quickly adds up. And we’ve not even factored in the delivery costs yet. In comparison, the average price per serving of home-cooked meals is around $4.31. This blog post from Journey Foods breaks down just how expensive it can be to eat out, as well as all the benefits of cooking at home.
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DIY Chipotle Bowl
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
A Chipotle-inspired vegan bowl that’s full of flavor and just as good - if not better - than takeout!
1 cup dried black beans
CILANTRO LIME RICE:
1 cup Lotus Foods pink rice (or other uncooked rice of your choice)
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. sliced scallion
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro
CARROT PICO DE GALLO:
2 large carrots, diced (about 2 cups)
¼ cup diced red onion
Sea salt to taste
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tbsp. diced red onion
2 tsp. chopped cilantro
PUMFU + MUSHROOMS:
1 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
8 oz. pumfu, diced
FOR THE BOWLS:
8 oz. dairy-free sour cream (I used Kite Hill)
4 oz. shredded vegan cheese or cheese of your choice (I used Nuts for Cheese Black Garlic)
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Primal Kitchen Cilantro Lime Dressing & Marinade
1. Cook the black beans according to package directions.
2. Rinse the rice. Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil. Add the rinsed rice. Boil it for a few minutes. Drain through a strainer and rinse. Place the rice back in the pot and add 1 ¾ cup fresh water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 40 minutes or until tender. Place in a bowl to cool. Add the lime juice, scallions, and cilantro. Stir well.
3. Place the diced carrots in a medium pot. Add 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Drain any remaining water and place the carrots in a bowl. Add the remaining pico de gallo ingredients. Stir well. Set aside.
4. Make the guacamole. Remove the pits from the avocados. Scoop out the avocado and place it in a large bowl. Partially mash the avocado. Add the remaining guacamole ingredients and stir to combine.
5. Prepare the pumpfu and mushrooms. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and a pinch or two of sea salt. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Add a tablespoon of the dairy-free sourcream. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Add the pumpfu. If you want to add seasonings like fajita seasoning, add it at this point. Cook for 5 more minutes.
6. Assemble your bowls. Add a scoop of cilantro lime rice to each bowl. You can arrange the ingredients in rows or scoops around the bowl. Add a portion of beans, lettuce, guacamole, carrot pico de gallo, and pumpfu-mushroom mixture. Top each bowl with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese and a drizzle of dressing. Sprinkle with some cilantro.
TRY THESE RECIPES NEXT:
- First, try my vegan quinoa bowl recipe. It’s easy to make, loaded with veggies, and nourishing without sacrificing flavor.
- Also, have a go at my gorgeous vegan charcuterie board recipe that will be perfect for your next get-together. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
- Finally, try my vegetarian sushi recipe. It’s light yet delicious, making it the perfect lunch and dinner that doesn’t leave you feeling very full. In addition, it’s really fun to make at home!
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