December 19


Easy Bean Burrito Bowl

By Laura Nunemaker

December 19, 2021

It's late and you're starving. How do you keep yourself from hitting up a drive through instead of making a meal at home? For me, it's having simple, fast meal ideas planned for the week for just these occasions. And this Easy Bean Burrito Bowl is about as fast as it gets.

What's in a Burrito Bowl?

easy bean burrito bowl in a grey plastic bowl.

Whatever you want! Whatever you like in a burrito, put it in a bowl. It's that easy!

I have a tendency to make my burrito bowl a burrito/salad hybrid. It's a way for me to sneak in more veggies. So, here's what I like in my burrito bowl and I'll share some other options for each so you can make it your own.

Brown Rice

As part of my meal prep, I like to cook up pots of brown rice to use throughout the week. But if you don't have time for that, you can get microwavable packets of brown rice that will serve two. It's ready in a minute. 

Just because rice is traditional in a burrito, that doesn't mean you have to stick to that. Quinoa is a great alternative and one I use often. Millet is also good. I've even used leftover polenta as a base. 

Pinto Beans

pinto beans in a pot.

Image by HomeMaker from Pixabay

Keeping canned beans in your pantry makes quick meals like this possible. It's even better (cheaper) if you batch cook your beans from dried as part of your weekly meal prep. Honestly, I go through phases where I cook my beans from dried or just rely on canned. I prefer unsalted canned beans and will use them if I have easy access.

Don't feel limited to pinto beans here. Use any beans you like! Try black beans, kidney beans or lentils.

Do you sometimes end up with leftover chili that's not enough to make a full meal? Use it up in a burrito bowl! I often add other small bits of leftover protein to mine like tofu or tempeh. You'll see that tempeh went into this bowl.


I always have carrots and red cabbage on hand because they stay fresh for a long time in the refrigerator. I splurge and get the bags of multi-color carrots from Sprouts because they are so pretty!

Bell peppers are also pretty sturdy and will usually last at least a week. That makes this combo of veggies perfect for if you want to plan to eat a burrito bowl later in the week.

Again, if you have some leftover vegetables you need to use up, many will work well in a burrito bowl. Potato, cauliflower, broccoli, and radishes are all tasty additions here. Salad greens are wonderful, too. Do you have any corn, green beans, or peas in the freezer you need to use up? Toss 'em in!


sprouts chipotle, pineapple, and green chile salsa.

It's really easy to find salsa now that's made mostly of whole food ingredients. Lately we've been jamming on the Chipotle, Pineapple & Green Chile salsa from Sprouts. Kroger's Simple Truth has some good ones, too. Another brand that has simple ingredients and is easy to find is Newman's Own. All of these salsas are shelf stable before they are opened which makes it easy for you to keep them on hand for when you need them.

jar of simple truth salsa.
jar of newman's own salsa.

If you have the extra time, make your own pico de gallo and use that instead. I do that sometimes when I have tomatoes to use up.

How to make quick Pico de Gallo


1 cup chopped tomato
¼ cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon diced jalapeño, optional

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve immediately or within a day or two.


Avocado is the key to adding the creaminess you might get from sour cream or cheese sauce but in a whole food. Guacamole is even better but I'm often too lazy to make it and just add sliced avocado to the top.

Vegan Parmesan

a green bowl full of vegan parmesan on a red placemat.

This is totally optional but does add a little cheesiness to the burrito bowl. You can make your own vegan parmesan or buy it. I usually make my own but I also show you an example of one you can buy below.

How do you serve the burrito bowl?

For burrito bowls, or any bowls really, I like a wide, shallow bowl. I have a couple of ceramic ones that I got at Ikea but they have chips in them now.

The one in the photo is a plastic one from Target. They seem to carry these year-round and they're only $0.50 each on their website.

an empty grey plastic bowl from target.

Since we live in an RV and move around quite a bit, there are a couple of advantages to plastic. It takes a beating and won't chip rattling around in the cabinet as we drive down the road. It's lightweight, which is a concern when you live full-time in your RV.

There are some downsides to these. They are plastic. You might not want to microwave food in these bowls. I usually heat up food in glass or ceramic and then assemble the food in the plastic bowls. 

If you need to pack up your bean burrito bowl and take it to work, put the beans and rice in one container and the veggies in another. That way you can heat up the beans and rice and then add the veggies. Also, don't add the sliced avocado until the end. It will not look nice if you try to slice it and store it. The salsa you can put in the veggie container or use a third container if you like.

The portion/calorie count isn't right for me

I hear ya. For simplicity's sake, most recipes are evenly divided into X portions. Does every single person you know eat or require the same amount of food? Of course not!

When I make this, Kevin gets more food because he requires more calories. He'll have more rice and more beans. And if I'm adding extra protein, more of that. The person that needs more calories could also get tortilla chips or tortillas to eat with their bowl.

Okay, so let's get to what's in THIS burrito bowl.

easy bean burrito bowl in a grey plastic bowl.

Easy Bean Burrito Bowl

Yield: 2 bowls
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

It's like a bean burrito but in a bowl! Customize it with what you have on hand. I like mine to lean more towards salad.


  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups of cooked brown rice (292.5 g)
  • 1 can pinto beans rinsed and drained (256.5 g)
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage (89 g)
  • 1 large carrot, sliced (128 g)
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (74.5 g)
  • 1 cup salsa (240 g)
  • 1/4 cup avocado (36.5 g)
  • 1/4 cup diced, cooked tempeh, optional (41.5 g)
  • 1 teaspoon vegan parmesan, optional (6 g)


  1. Heat up the brown rice and beans separately on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  2. Add half the rice topped with half the beans to each bowl. Next, split the red cabbage, carrot, and bell pepper between the two bowls. Top each with half the salsa and avocado, sliced.
  3. We like to also add a little cooked tempeh and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan, but those are optional.


This recipe is very flexible! Try quinoa instead of brown rice. Switch out the pinto beans for black or kidney beans. Add some of your favorite greens. Corn is a nice addition.

I like to make my own vegan parmesan using this recipe but you can also buy it in many stores. An example is linked below.

I use beans with no salt added and our favorite salsa is the Chipotle, Pineapple & Green Chili from Sprouts. Nutritional info was calculated using those. Optional items are not included in the calculation.

easy bean burrito bowl nutritional info.

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About the author

Meat-free since 1996. Cow petter. Former vegan bakery owner. Full-time traveler for 5 years, usually in an RV, but not always. Half of VeganRV. Instant Pot lover. Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate, Completed January 2022, eCornell and T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

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