This vegan burrito bowl makes for a hearty weeknight meal that’s packed with flavor. With lentils, black beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo, there’s a tantalizing mix of tastes – bite after bite.
A few weeks ago I was able to visit Des Moines’ newest (and only!) vegan restaurant, Brightside Kitchen. I ordered their special of the day, which was a burrito bowl.
(You can read all about my visit in the newly updated Vegan Iowa round-up. If you live in or are traveling through Central Iowa, be sure to check them out!)
Days later, I was still thinking about that bowl.
Instead of using beans alone for the protein-dense part of the bowl, they used a combination of lentils and black beans. It had been a while since I’d made my taco meat that way, and I’d forgotten how good it is.
So not surprisingly, brown lentils make a vegan burrito bowl that much more inviting. They have a softer texture that vaguely reminds me of the ground beef-style taco meat I ate growing up. Except this version is vegan, of course, and uses whole plant foods instead.
So I decided to make a vegan burrito bowl of my own…
Rather than gas up the car for a road-trip, I decided to make a vegan burrito bowl of my own, inspired by the one I’d had at Brightside Kitchen.
How to make a vegan burrito bowl:
Start by sautéing onions and garlic in a skillet.
Add cooked black beans, brown lentils, spices, and just enough water to get the spices evenly mixed.
Then serve the lentil & black bean mixture in bowls with brown rice, spinach, guacamole, pico de gallo, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, and hot sauce.
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 frozen brown rice (store-bought or leftover from a previous meal)
- Use store-bought pico de gallo & guacamole
- Use pre-cooked lentils & canned black beans, instead of making them from scratch
After the bowl is complete, I like to give it a good stir, so that every bite has a mixture of tastes. It’s not quite as pretty that way, of course, but you can’t argue with delicious.
Serve it with chips for extra crunch and to scoop up the best parts. If you feel like upping the yum factor even more, I bet this bowl would be delicious with a drizzle of cashew queso.
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.
Vegan burrito bowl with lentils & black beans
For lentil taco meat
- 1/2 teaspoon organic canola oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils I used one package of Trader Joe's steamed lentils
- 1 1/2 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, depending on your preferences and the heat level of the sauce
For vegan burrito bowls
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 3/4 cup pico de gallo store bought or homemade
- 3/4 cup guacamole store bought or homemade
- Optional garnish: Cilantro, jalapeño pepper slices, hot sauce, cashew queso, vegan sour cream
To make the lentil taco meat
- Bring a large non-stick skillet to a medium heat with organic canola 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.
- 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 make vegan burrito bowls
- In each bowl, put a few generous spoonfuls of lentil taco meat, 1/2 cup brown rice, a handful of baby spinach, 2 Tablespoons pico de gallo, 2 Tablespoons guacamole. Add any of the optional garnish options if using: cilantro, jalapeño pepper slices, hot sauce, cashew queso, and/or vegan sour cream. Repeat with the remaining bowls.
This makes a pretty sizable amount of lentil & black bean mixture. So if you have leftovers, consider using them in any of the recipes below.
Just swap the black bean & lentil mixture in for whatever the filling had been originally in the recipe, if necessary.