Chipotle Burrito Bowl with Chicken Quinoa and Avocado
When I was in undergrad, the most impactful event to grip my tiny college town was the opening of Chipotle. Every bite of these Chipotle Burrito Bowls takes me back to that glorious moment in a strip mall four miles from campus.
In anticipation of opening day, students camped out on the sidewalk, the true enthusiasts wrapping themselves in aluminum foil to match the chain’s signature burrito packaging. For the first six weeks of the restaurant’s tenure, the average wait for a burrito bowl was 1 hour 15 minutes, an allotment of time that most undergrads found perfectly reasonable. We didn’t have a Chipotle in my hometown at the time, so when the chain opened, I marveled at the fervor. Could a burrito or a burrito bowl (whatever that was) really be worth sleeping out on a sidewalk?
The answer: yes—at least for the first burrito experience. After that introduction, we can safely save our backs and our rolls of foil and make these homemade Chipotle Burrito Bowls with Quinoa, Chicken and Avocado instead.
Since that singular (dare I call it life-altering?) 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, but now I much prefer the burrito bowl. Yes, the original burrito boasts flashy foil packaging and a diameter that could be the punchline of a “yo-mamma” joke, but my beef with the burritos, be they chicken, veggie, or barbacoa, is that the ingredients are stacked and separated, versus evenly combined. 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 is the route for the Mexican fast-food perfectionist.
Want a little bit of everything in your bite? Burrito bowl all the way.
Today’s homemade take on the chicken Chipotle burrito bowl boasts all of the core flavors and ingredients, but is healthier, more customizable, and much easier on your budget, especially if you enjoy Chipotle with any kind of frequency.
Though Chipotle uses rice as its burrito bowl base, at home I prefer quinoa, which offers far more fiber and protein. I’ve tried dozens of brands over the years, and my favorite by far is Bob’s Red Mill Tricolor Quinoa. Other brands seem to come out mushy and slightly bitter no matter how I cook them, while Bob’s quinoa has a light, pleasant texture and smooth flavor, no pre-rinsing required. Though all of Bob’s quinoa varieties are excellent, the tricolor steals my heart, because it is just so darn pretty.
To make the burrito bowls, I mixed the quinoa in a cilantro lime dressing to mimic the Chipotle rice, then added diced grilled chicken, black beans, corn, onions, and tomato. Hints of cumin in the dressing provide the Chipotle spice, and because we are at home where guac does not cost extra (what’s up with that Chipotle?), I piled on the avocado too.
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!
Chipotle Burrito Bowls with Chicken, Quinoa, and Avocado
For the Burrito Bowls:
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Tricolor Quinoa
- 2 grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts, — cut into bite-sized pieces
- 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 vine-on tomatoes — diced
- 1 small red onion — diced
- 1 jalapeño — seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro — plus additional for serving
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
- Sour cream — or Greek yogurt
Bring 2 cups water to a boil and add the quinoa. Return to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Let simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, then re-cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
While the quinoa cooks, prepare the other burrito bowl ingredients.
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 toss to combine.
Gently stir in the prepared chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro. Serve warm with any desired toppings.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 (of 6), without toppings) — Calories: 366, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 29mg, Sodium: 343mg, Carbohydrates: 44g, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 20g
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