In undergrad, one of the most impactful events to grip my tiny college town was the opening of Chipotle. Every bite of this homemade chicken Chipotle Bowl takes me back to those glorious moments in a strip mall four miles from campus.
In anticipation of opening day, students camped out on the sidewalk overnight, the true enthusiasts wrapping themselves in aluminum foil to match the chain’s signature burrito packaging.
Since that moment when I sunk my teeth into my very first Chipotle chicken burrito—or rather since that moment when I took a really big bite of the top third because THEY ARE SO BIG—I’ve been a Chipotle believer.
Now that I’m older and wiser, however, I much prefer the burrito bowl.
Traditionally rice, pinto or black beans, your protein of choice, and additional toppings like salsa, tomatoes, cheese, and sour cream come in a bowl at Chipotle. Avocado is extra—another compelling reason to make your own!
Think of a burrito bowl as a burrito without the tortilla. But better.
Why I Love this Chipotle Bowl Recipe
Only a person with a mouth wide enough to swallow a bowling ball could bite all the way through a Chipotle burrito, so most of us are left nibbling separate bits of cold sour cream and hot beans.
The burrito bowl? By mixing together the ingredients, you get a little bit of the good stuff in every bite.
This tasty Chipotle bowl is the way to go!
As an additional bonus, this recipe is excellent for healthy meal prep. See below for tips.
5 Star Review
“I am seriously obsessedddddd with these bowls! These could easily put Chipotle outta business. Awesome!”
A Healthy Fast Food Favorite You Can Make at Home
While Chipotle is one of the better fast food options out there, to call a bowl from Chipotle “healthy” can be a stretch, especially when you factor in all of the toppings. (With all the fixings, a Chipotle bowl can run over 800 calories.)
This homemade burrito bowl, however, delivers a total nutritional package that’s slimmer on calories without sacrificing an ounce of flavor.
It’s also cost effective.
A Chipotle bowl costs between $8 and $10, depending upon the protein you choose. Factor in extra toppings (like avocado) and multiply if you are feeding a family, and it adds up quickly.
Making your Chipotle bowl at home offers a far more friendly price point per serving.
How to Make a Copycat Chipotle Bowl
This better-for-you version of the fast food favorite is a filling, super scrumptious, all-in-one meal.
It’s also a dream for meal prep. You can assemble all of the components in advance, portion them into containers, then reheat for nutritious meals on demand.
- Quinoa. The base of our wholesome chicken burrito bowl. My healthy spin on Chipotle’s signature cilantro lime rice. Quinoa offers far more fiber and protein than white rice.
- Chicken Breast. A delicious lean protein choice for these burrito bowls. It’s seasoned and grilled to perfection.
- Lime. Lime juice adds flavor and acidity to both the quinoa and the chicken. I also used the lime zest on the chicken breasts.
- Red Onion. Crisp and lively for a burrito bowl.
- Cilantro. Added to our quinoa to mimic the beloved Chipotle cilantro lime rice.
- Black Beans. Black beans help make this bowl ultra satisfying and give it distinct southwest flair.
- Corn. Sweet, juicy corn is a must-have in our burrito bowls. Either canned, fresh, or frozen corn will work great.
- Cherry Tomatoes. Add a burst of sweetness to every bite.
- Jalapeño. For a touch of heat.
- The Dressing. A mixture of olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper, the dressing for these bowls is bright, light, and full warm spice.
- Avocado. Because at home, we do not get charged extra. Pile it on!
- Pound the chicken breasts.
- Rub the oil, spices, lime zest, and juice on the chicken. Let it rest.
- Cook the quinoa, then fluff it with a fork.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
- Toss the dressing with the quinoa and cilantro.
- Grill the chicken over medium-high heat.
- Dice the chicken, then add it to the quinoa with the red onion.
- Stir the beans, corn, tomatoes, and jalapeño into the mixture. Serve with desired toppings. DIG IN!
- Chicken and Rice Burrito Bowl. If you prefer using rice in your burrito bowl, swap in either white or brown rice for the quinoa in this recipe.
- Chipotle Steak Burrito Bowl Recipe. Swap the chicken for diced pieces of cooked steak.
- Chipotle Vegetarian Bowl Recipe. Omit the chicken, or add in pieces of cooked and crumbled tofu.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm burrito bowls in a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Plan Tip
Grill the chicken, cook the quinoa, chop the jalapeño, tomatoes, and red onion, and whisk the dressing ingredients together up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate each item in a separate airtight storage container until you’re ready to combine.
Turn leftovers into a true burrito by wrapping them in a tortilla. This burrito bowl would also be tasty served over a bed of lettuce for a hearty salad.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Grill Pan. Perfect for grilling the chicken breasts indoors.
- Instant Read Thermometer. No more guessing when your chicken is done.
- Citrus Juicer. My go-to tool for juicing lemons and limes.
All of the Chipotle burrito bowl goodness for a fraction of the calories, no upcharge for avocado, and we didn’t even need to stand in line.
I’m so excited, I could wrap myself in foil!
For the Burrito Bowls:
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts about 1 pound
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lime zest and juice
- 1 small red onion diced
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for serving
- 1 can black beans (14 ounces) rinsed and drained
- 1 can corn (14 ounces) drained, or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn (thawed if frozen)
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes about 1 pint
- 1 jalapeño seeded and diced
For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice plus additional for serving
- 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper use less or omit if sensitive to spice
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For Serving (optional):
- Diced avocado or guacamole
- Shredded cheese
- Non-fat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board with some space between and cover with a large piece of plastic wrap. With a mallet, lightly pound the meat to an even thickness so. Place in a shallow dish.
- Top the chicken with the olive oil, salt, pepper, lime zest, and lime juice. Rub and turn to coat. Let rest at least 15 minutes while you prep the other ingredients or refrigerate for up to 8 hours (let stand at room temperature at least 10 minutes prior to cooking). Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium high (about 425 to 450 degrees F).
- Place the red onion in a small bowl and cover with water (this takes off some of the red onion's bite while preserving its flavor. You can skip if you like raw red onion just as it is). Set aside.
- Prepare the quinoa according to package directions. Once cooked, fluff with a fork, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- To make the dressing, in a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt, cayenne, and black pepper.
- Drizzle over the warm quinoa, then add cilantro, and toss to combine.
- Lightly oil the grill. Grill the chicken until completely cooked through and the temperature on an instant read thermometer reads 160 to 165 degrees, about 8 to 12 minutes total, flipping once or twice throughout. The amount of time you need will vary based on the size and thickness of each breast. Remove to a plate, cover, and let rest 5 minutes.
- Cut into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the quinoa.
- Drain the red onion, then add to the bowl with the quinoa.
- Gently stir in the black beans, corn, tomato, and jalapeno. Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and any desired toppings.
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