Make Your Own Burrito Bowl

Homemade Burrito Bowl - An easy recipe for how to prepare and pack up your own burrito bowls for a quick and healthy lunch. Better than fast food any day!


Make Your Own Burrito Bowl

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This is probably not a shock to you, but I’m not a huge fast food fan. In fact, mid-range restaurants in general aren’t my cup of tea (Here’s my full rant).

But, if I have to choose fast food and I have my choice of all fast food places, I’ll frequently choose Chipotle. One reason for this is because I have a serious Tex-Mex bias, but I also think they make fairly quality dishes and it’s not super-complicated. You pretty much know what you are getting.

But guess what? That also means that it’s pretty easy to make stuff they serve at home. Burritos? Tacos? This stuff isn’t rocket science.

Since they recently announced a healthy price increase (possibly in part due to the ridiculous amount of money the two dudes at the top make), I think we can all safely just start making this Homemade Burrito Bowl now.

This is how you make not just ONE Homemade Burrito Bowl, but six. You can prep everything on a Sunday and eat great lunches all week for the cost of 1-2 burrito bowls at Chipotle.

Homemade Burrito Bowls

6 burrito bowls
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An easy recipe for how to prepare and pack up your own burrito bowls for a quick and healthy lunch. Better than fast food any day!


3 cups uncooked brown rice
1 lime
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 ears corn, roasted
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
10 corn tortillas
8 ounces salsa
3 avocados
Fresh cilantro
Olive oil
Chili powder
Salt and pepper


1) Cook rice using your favorite method. I like to boil mine in water until tender and then drain it and return it to the hot pan. Squeeze in a lime and cover it and let it steam for 5 minutes (off the burner). Then fluff with a fork.

2) For the corn, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of chili powder. Roast at 350-375 degrees F. until lightly charred in places, about 15 minutes, turning a few times during roasting.

3) Cut corn off of cobs. Stir together with drained and rinsed black beans. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper if needed.

4) For tortilla strips, cut into 1/2 inch strips and spread out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 350 for 10-15 minutes until they are browned and turning crispy. Remove from oven and let cool completely. They will get crispier as they cool. Store in an air-tight container.

5) To make a bowl for lunch, pile in some rice into a microwave safe container. Add some black beans and corn and top with grated cheese (just a small handful). Take to work the salsa, corn tortillas, avocado (and cilantro optionally).

6) When it’s lunch time, heat up the rice and beans until warm and cheese is melted. Top with salsa, 1/2 an avocado, corn strips, and cilantro. Chow down.

Homemade Burrito Bowl

Main Layers

So it turns out that making a Homemade Burrito Bowl is easier than making actual burritos. You don’t have to worry about rolling or portion control. You can just pile in as much stuff as you want and call it lunch.

The two main layers I use for my lunch time burrito bowls are brown rice and a black bean and corn salad.

I think it’s easiest to keep it vegetarian, but once you get the hang of it you could add on pulled chicken, shredded pork, or even diced steak without too much issue.

Brown rice. Healthy or something.
Brown rice. Healthy or something.

Rice is an important base though so you’ll probably want that no matter what. I recommend cooking a big batch of it using your favorite method.

My method is seriously to just boil the rice in simmering water (I don’t even measure). When the rice is tender, I drain it and return it to the hot pan off the heat and squeeze in a lime.

Then I cover it and let it steam for about five minutes and fluff it with a fork. Perfect rice every time!

A quick lime squeeze.
A quick lime squeeze.

For the black bean and corn salad, I just used canned black beans which I drained and rinsed.

Then I roasted a few ears of sweet corn rubbed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili powder. 15 minutes at 350-375 degrees F. will do the trick.


Then slice the kernels off the cob and stir that into the black beans.

This quick little salad might need a pinch of salt and pepper so taste it and season it to your liking.

Keep it simple.
Keep it simple.


If you plan on eating this all week, it’s important to store this stuff well. I recommend storing the black bean salad and rice completely separately. Then you can build a fresh bowl every morning.

Ready for the week.
Ready for the week.

Okay. Let’s talk about the good stuff.

The Toppings for Your Homemade Burrito Bowl

You can go absolutely crazy here and actually do a one-up on Chipotle because you can top these with almost anything.

I decided to make a quick batch of crispy corn strips as a topping.

I just chopped up a few corn tortillas, spread them out on a baking sheet and tossed them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Pretty delicious.
Pretty delicious.

After baking at 350 for 10-15 minutes, they will be browned and crispy. As the strips cool, they will continue to crisp up even more.

You could also just crumble up some tortilla chips…

You could just toss in some tortilla chips I guess.
You could just toss in some tortilla chips I guess.

Packing Lunch

So, assuming you make your rice and main layers on a Sunday, then I would recommend actually taking some of the toppings with you to work.

For Betsy, I packed her some corn strips, a few avocados, and some salsa. If you’re a cilantro fan, I’d go through the trouble of bringing some fresh cilantro also.

Packed up.
Packed up.

Then all you need to pack each morning for lunch is a good microwave-safe dish piled high with rice, some grated cheese, and the corn/black bean mixture. It takes about a minute to toss one of these together.

Packed up for the day.
Packed up for the day.

When you are ready for lunch, heat up the rice base in the microwave, then top with the toppings you brought!

It’s like your own personal Homemade Burrito Bowl assembly at your desk.

Homemade Burrito Bowl - Macheesmo

You know it’s good when the cheese is melty.

Cheesy bite! Homemade Burrito Bowl from Macheesmo
Cheesy bite!

I did a quick back of the envelope calculation and each Homemade Burrito Bowl costs about $2-ish. Obviously if you used steak or something it would be a bit more expensive.

But, the cheapest burrito bowl you can get at Chipotle is going to run you $7-$8 so you’re in pretty good shape financially by making these.

Plus, they are just damn delicious.

Impress your co-workers. Become your own Steve Ells and make your own burrito bowls.

4 Responses to “Make Your Own Burrito Bowl” Leave a comment

  1. Chipotle’s is a perfect example of capitalism — let the exec’s earn as much as they’d like. If prices go up because of it, or employee turnover increases, or poor employee morale makes customer satisfaction decrease…then people will find other places to eat. A fast food restaurant shouldn’t have inelastic price vs demand. :)

  2. This is the recipe I wasn’t smart enough to make on my own/search for. I felt relief when I saw your email land in my inbox-eureka I cried to myself-work lunches for the next week are saved!!!

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