Build-Your-Own Ultimate Vegan Burrito Bowl

Learn how to build a vegan burrito bowl, with recipes for grains, beans, veggies and other delicious toppings!

You don’t have to go to a fast-casual restaurant to get a great burrito bowl. You can build an awesome vegan burrito bowl right in your own kitchen, using what you have on hand. The guide below breaks out the basic burrito bowl formula with recipe ideas for each layer.

Learn how to build a vegan burrito bowl, with recipes for grains, beans, veggies, and other delicious toppings!

Vegan Burrito Bowl Basics

Your basic burrito bowl looks like this, from bottom to top:

  • grains – You can use rice, but don’t feel limited here! Quinoa, farro and even grain alternatives (like cauliflower rice) can all work well.
  • beans – This is another area where you shouldn’t feel constrained. Black beans and pinto beans are delicious, of course, but you can use other beans and plant-based proteins.
  • veggies – Raw and cooked veggies are a must in a vegan burrito bowl. You can go conventional or branch out.
  • creamy toppings – Think guacamole, vegan cheese and vegan cream sauces here. A creamy topping is optional, but I think it really takes things to the next level.
  • salsa - Tomato or corn salsa are common on burrito bowls, but you can try more offbeat salsas as your topper, too.

Now that you have the basic roadmap, let’s look more closely at each burrito bowl layer with recipe ideas for each one.

Whole Grains Guide for Your Next Burrito Bowl


Grains (or grain alternatives) are the base for your vegan burrito bowl. Check out the Care2 Guide to the Healthiest Whole Grains for some ideas – there are recipe links for each grain in that guide. You can also use riced cauliflower or other riced vegetables in place of grains as your burrito bowl base.

Cooking Tips: The key to making this base layer exciting is in the seasoning. Spice up your grain layer by mixing in zesty flavors like lime juice, chili powder, curry powder, garlic or onion. Mix and match to build your perfect grain layer.

Beans Cooking Guide for Burrito Bowls

Beans (and other protein ideas)

Pinto beans and black beans are popular burrito bowl proteins, but you can also use other beans, tofu, tempeh or seitan. You also don’t have to stick to a single protein. You do you!

If you are going with beans, this Care2 guide has the cooking basics you need. Like with your grains, you just want to spice things up appropriately. Cumin, coriander, turmeric, chipotle chili powder, garlic, onion and cilantro are all great choices for making beans for your vegan burrito bowl.

Recipe IdeasSpiced Black Beans, Refried Beans, Vegan Sofritas, Walnut Taco Meat, Habanero Jackfruit

Choosing veggies for your vegan burrito bowl.


Really, the sky is the limit here. You can keep it simple, with some sauteed bell peppers and onions, or branch out a bit. Pretty much any raw or cooked veggie is fair game here. My family loves chopped green onion, lots of fresh corn and a generous handful of shredded lettuce.

Recipe Ideas: Broccoli Slaw, Kale Salad, Fajita Vegetables

Vegan Cashew Queso for Burrito Bowls

Creamy Toppings

You don’t need a creamy topping, but guys. We know there’s a reason that guac is extra: it makes everything better. Guacamole is the classic vegan creamy topping for burrito bowls, but you can also use your favorite creamy vegan dips or sauces as a topper. You can also just slice up avocado onto your burrito bowl for an almost-instant creamy topping.

Recipe Ideas: Vegan Queso, Cashew Sour CreamHomemade Vegan Cheese

Take advantage of sweet, seasonal nectarines to make this sweet and mildly spicy nectarine salsa. Did someone say tacos?


Salsa is another optional-but-recommended burrito bowl topper. They really bring some extra spice to that bowl, and you can have a lot of fun playing with conventional and not-so-conventional salsas.

Recipe Ideas: Salsa Fresca, Nectarine Salsa, Corn Salsa, Oven-Roasted Salsa, Mango and Pineapple Salsa

Image Credits: Featured images, Whole Grains, Beans, and Veggies images via Thinkstock. All other photos by Becky Striepe.


Caitlin L
Caitlin L5 months ago


michela c
michela c5 months ago


hELEN hEARFIELD5 months ago


Janis K
Janis K6 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Marie W
Marie W7 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Jack Y
Jack Y11 months ago


Jack Y
Jack Y11 months ago


John J
John J11 months ago

thanks for sharing

John J
John J11 months ago

thanks for sharing

Jetana A
Jetana Aabout a year ago

Burritos need a tortilla wrapped around fillings similar to the "bowls" described here.