Skip that trip to Chipotle Mexican Grill. Make a vegan burrito bowl at home.
This easy weeknight meal is packed with flavor. It’s great for meal prep.
With lentils, black beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo, there’s a tantalizing mix of tastes – bite after bite.
Plus, it’s ready in less than 20 minutes, thanks to a few handy shortcuts!
Vegan burrito bowls are one of my favorite weeknight meals.
They come together quickly.
And they’re loaded with a variety of delicious tastes and textures.
This version is made with healthy, whole plant foods. Plus, it’s all gluten free.
There’s toothsome lentil taco meat, brown rice, pico de gallo, leafy greens, and a hearty helping of guacamole.
These colorful bowls come together so quickly, I doubt you could get to Chipotle and order in less time!
What is a burrito bowl?
A burrito bowl is exactly what it sounds like.
It’s composed of all of the tasty fillings you might find in a burrito.
But instead of being wrapped up in a tortilla, it’s scooped into a bowl.
You can enjoy each flavor one by one.
Or you can give it a stir & taste it all collectively.
Burrito bowls are terrific for meal prep. Because you can make the components separately to be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
It’s also simple to customize the ingredients, depending on your preferences.
Here are the ingredients you will need for this plant based burrito bowl recipe.
Lentil taco meat: Protein-packed lentil and black bean taco meat is seasoned with Mexican spices, onions, and garlic.
The soft texture of the lentils vaguely reminds me of the ground beef-style taco meat I ate growing up.
Brown rice: For an easy, low fuss dinner, I like to use frozen brown rice. It’s so easy to heat in the microwave and enjoy in minutes.
Of course, if you’d prefer, you can make rice from scratch.
Leafy greens: Chopped romaine lettuce or baby spinach adds color and nutrients to the bowl.
Pico de gallo: Instead of chopping tomatoes and onions, store-bought pico de gallo is a great timesaver.
Or you can use your favorite homemade or store-bought salsa.
Guacamole: Any meal is more delicious when guacamole is part of it.
I recommend making guacamole just before serving, so that it doesn’t have time to brown.
Don’t feel like making it from scratch? Store-bought guacamole is fine too.
Quick pickled jalapeños: Add some spice with crisp jalapeño slices.
If you’d prefer, you can save time with store-bought pickled jalapeños.
Pickled red onions: Homemade pickled red onions are easy to prepare.
They add tang, crunch, and vibrant color.
If you don’t feel like making them, simply omit them.
Cilantro: Chopped cilantro is lovely as a garnish. Plus, it adds fresh, herbaceous flavor.
Step by step instructions
(For full ingredient amounts, keep scrolling to the recipe box below. This is a summary with process photos.)
First, make a batch of lentil taco meat.
Sauté onions and garlic with oil in a skillet.
Once the onions and garlic are translucent & fragrant, add the following:
- Cooked black beans
- Cooked brown lentils
- Ancho chili powder
- Granulated onion
Stir until spices are evenly combined. And cook a few minutes more.
Add a splash of hot sauce.
Warm frozen brown rice in the microwave. Or make it from scratch.
Make a batch of guacamole.
Mix the following in a bowl:
- Minced garlic
- Chopped onion
- Chopped cilantro
- Lime juice
Finish out the burrito bowl station with the following:
- Chopped romaine lettuce or baby spinach
- Pico de gallo or salsa
- Jalapeño peppers
- Pickled red onions
Assemble burrito bowls with a mixture of any or all of the toppings.
It’s especially delicious with a handful of tortilla chips for crunch.
You can also use chips to scoop up the perfect bite!
Time saving shortcuts
You can make all of the elements of this bowl from scratch.
Or you can use some shortcuts to make it a super easy, weeknight friendly meal.
I used some of my favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products to simplify dinner.
- Use pre-cooked lentils & canned black beans for the lentil taco meat recipe
- Use pre-cooked frozen brown rice (store-bought or leftover from a previous meal)
- Use store-bought pico de gallo & guacamole
- Use store-bought pickled jalapeños or fresh peppers
Make it your own
Personalize your bowl by omitting or modifying the ingredients.
Replace lentil taco meat with any of the following:
- Spicy black beans
- Tempeh taco meat
- Seasoned chickpeas
- Sweet potatoes & black beans
- Walnut taco meat
- Seitan chorizo
- Seasoned tofu
- Jackfruit carnitas
- Refried pinto beans
- Refried black beans
Replace brown rice with cauliflower rice or quinoa.
Replace guacamole with sliced avocado or vegan sour cream.
Add any of the following for flavor:
- Fajita-style veggies for nutrients & color
- Vegan ranch dressing for the leafy greens
- Sweet fried plantains for caramelized sweetness
- Cilantro chimichurri for garlicky goodness
- Cashew queso for creaminess
- Sweet corn for texture and another whole grain
- Hot sauce for tang and heat
How to store leftovers
Store all of the components separately in the refrigerator in covered containers.
Except for the guacamole, most of the ingredients will last 3 to 5 days.
Because of browning, guacamole is best the same day it’s made. Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap tightly against it.
This gluten free, vegan burrito bowl also packs beautifully for lunches.
Just pack the hot & cold parts separately, so that it’s easy to warm the rice & lentil mixture on its own.
Leftover lentil taco meat also freezes well in a freezer-proof container.
Move it to the refrigerator to thaw when you’re ready to use it. Then reheat in the microwave.
If it has gotten dried out, add a splash of water.
Vegan burrito bowl
For lentil taco meat
- ½ teaspoon organic canola oil or your preferred oil
- ½ medium onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 ½ cups cooked brown lentils (One package of Trader Joe's steamed lentils)
- 1 ½ cups black beans drained & rinsed
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- Pinch salt
- 2 Tablespoons water Plus more if necessary
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce Adjust more or less to taste
To make the lentil taco meat
- Bring a large non-stick skillet to a medium heat with oil.
- Add onion and garlic to the skillet. Sauté a few minutes, until fragrant and translucent.
- Add cooked lentils, black beans, ancho chili powder, cumin, paprika, granulated onion, salt, and water to the skillet.If you're using a package of Trader Joe's steamed lentils, crumble it with your hands to break it up as you put it in the pan.
- Stir until the spices are evenly combined. Continue cooking for a few minutes more, until the lentil mixture is fully heated.
- Add hot sauce to taste and combine. Taste for spices and add more if needed.
- If the mixture starts to stick to the skillet, add a splash of water a Tablespoon at a time. Remove from heat and set aside.
To assemble vegan burrito bowls
- Warm frozen brown rice in the microwave until fully heated. Or cook rice from scratch according to package directions. (Be aware this will obviously take more time.)
- In each bowl, put a few generous spoonfuls of lentil taco meat, ½ cup brown rice, a handful of chopped romaine or baby spinach, 2 Tablespoons pico de gallo, 2 Tablespoons guacamole, 1 Tablespoon pickled red onions, 1 Tablespoon pickled jalapenos, and a sprinkling of cilantro.
- Repeat with the remaining bowls.