These delicious vegan burrito bowls are the perfect quick and easy weeknight dinner for a crowd. Top a gluten free base of cilantro lime brown rice and spicy black beans with homemade guacamole, salsa, vegan cheese and hot sauce!
Why Vegan Burrito Bowls are the Perfect Meal for a Crowd
I’m usually a taco kind of gal. However, these flavorful vegan burrito bowls are much easier to make for a crowd. They’re a great way to please everyone. Whether you have a mix of picky eaters, people with allergies or food sensitivities. These burrito bowls are the DIY dinner that will satisfy the full range of food preferences.
And the top reason these vegetarian and gluten free burrito bowls are ideal for entertaining? They’re super easy to make! All it takes is a simple and healthy base of rice and beans. Then a few Mexican toppings of your choosing round out this easy and tasty meal for a crowd.
Just recently, my parents had about 15 of their friends over to play Euchre (it’s a Michigan thing – if you know, you know). Instead of ordering out, we prepped a burrito bowl station. It didn’t take very long to prep. Mostly just cooking the brown rice, which is totally hands-off. And all of the guests were thrilled with the options! We had at least five requests for recipes.
How to build the best vegan burrito bowl
Start with a Healthy Base
These hearty dinner bowls start out with a simple base if cilantro lime brown rice. Sounds fancy, I know. But it’s simply cooked brown rice flavored with lime and cilantro. Easy, right? We choose brown for its higher fiber content and generally better nutrient content. Of course, if you’re out of brown rice or simply prefer white, the cilantro lime seasoning will be just as good.
You could even experiment with other whole grain bases. Quinoa would work well and cook up quickly. If you’re not gluten-free, farro would also be delicious. That’s what’s great about these vegan burrito bowls–you can build them however you like!
Add Flavorful Plant-Based Protein
To top off the lime cilantro rice, we have creamy homemade spicy black beans. We boosted their beany flavor with some spice and umami.
- Tomato paste gives nice texture and flavor. And you might be surprised to learn how the quality of tomato paste can really affect its flavor. Next time you’re reaching for one of those cute little jars, consider splurging on the high-quality stuff from Italy. It often comes in a tube and labelled “double concentrated”. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how it enhances your meal.
- Cumin, is the classic Mexican spice these vegan burrito bowls need.
- Smoked paprika gives just the right amount of smokey flavor with heat. It’s a delicous secret ingredient to add smokiness to food without getting near the grill.
- The rest of the heat in our spicy black beans comes from chili powder. Again, if you want really potent chili powder, go for the high-quality stuff. And don’t buy too much at once. Spices lose their flavor over time, so it’s best to buy smaller quantities that you’ll lose before they die.
Not into black beans? You can easily substitute pinto beans. Or for a really protein-packed vegan dinner, try crumbled tofu. Season the with the same spices and sauté them for crispy vegan sofritas.
Top off your burrito bowls
Now that you’ve covered your whole grain and protein bases, it’s time to mix and top your vegan burrito bowl. Again, bowl toppings are totally up to you.
My personal favorites are homemade guacamole, salsa, pickled jalapeños, shredded vegan cheese (we used this one) and a squeeze of lime juice.
When it comes to salsa, I’m more of a salsa verde girl. I like something well-blended that can melt into my burrito bowl. Of course, if you’re more of a chunky salsa fan, stick with what you love. For a sweet-spicy take on these bowls, you could try our homemade fire roasted tomato and peach salsa.
Oh, and a bit of hot sauce never hurts! We’re currently loving the entire line of Yellowbird hot sauces. They’re so flavorful and fresh tasting! The Habanero is my favorite for this bowl in particular.
Pickled red onions are another favorite and they’re super easy to make at home. You can check out our guide to making quick pickles at home here. If you want more crunch, serve these with a side of tortilla chips. I don’t know about you, but there’s never enough chips and guac at our house.
The Bowl to Upgrade your Weeknight Dinner or Meal Prep Game
These vegan burrito bowls don’t stop at perfect party food. Bowl dinners like this recipe are perfect for busy weeknights. Plus, they pack well for leftovers the next day. This recipe for burrito bowls makes an easy and healthy vegan meal prep recipe too. If you’re prepping for a whole group, it’s easy to offer a bunch of different toppings so everyone can eat what they like.
As most of you already know, my husband (and the rest of our family) is not vegan. So I always prepare a meat-based protein option for him. He’s currently not eating red meat. He hasn’t for a few months now, by his own choice! And he doesn’t eat fish. So I usually make a simple shredded chicken.
I usually make it in our pressure cooker. I don’t use a recipe, but it’s basically a few chicken breasts, a bit of broth, Mexican spices, salt and a few chipotles in adobo sauce. Ground chicken (or beef) is also easy to cook up and works well in these bowls!
We hope you give these bowls a try next time you’re craving Chipotle (or any other regular weeknight).Print
These delicious vegan burrito bowls are the perfect weeknight dinner and can be easily customized for just about any diet. We like ours with cilantro lime brown rice, spicy black beans, homemade guacamole, salsa, vegan cheese and hot sauce!
Cilantro Lime Rice:
- 2 cups rice (cooked in 3-3 1/2 cups vegetable broth)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped well
- Juice from one lime
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- 1 can black beans, drain a little bit of the liquid but not all
- 3 avocados
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- 1/2–3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 of a lime
- 3 tbsp cilantro
- Optional: 1 tbsp finely diced pickled red onion
- Pickled onion or jalapeño
- Vegan cheese
- Fresh cilantro & lime wedges
- Hot sauce of choice
Cilantro Lime Rice:
- Cook rice according to package directions. We usually sub water with vegetable broth, but up to you.
- When rice is finished cooking, add lime, cilantro and salt. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Spicy Black Beans:
- In a small pot, sauté onion in a bit of neutral oil until softened – about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for a minute or two until garlic is softened and fragrant.
- Add tomato paste, cumin, paprika, salt and chili powder. Stir well, then add black beans. Let simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to blend mixture – we usually just pulse it a few times so there are still some larger pieces of black beans. If you’d prefer, you don’t have to blend it at all.
- Add avocados to a large bowl. Mash well with the back of a fork, then stir in remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust as desired.
- Fill bowl with rice, beans, guacamole, salsa and other desired toppings. Store guacamole separately if storing leftovers.