"Chipotle" Burrito Bowls

I feel almost sacrilegious blogging this, but...today I attempted to make a Chipotle burrito bowl at home. To give you a bit of context here, my husband and I *LOVE* Chipotle. My husband discovered this heavenly burrito establishment when he was still in college and ate there at least once a week (sometimes more), since he lived right down the street from one (he's still a slender guy, too, for all that!). Then, as part of our second date, we went to Chipotle for lunch. I'd only been there once, and hadn't been overly-impressed (I just had a taco salad--lettuce, pinto beans, salsa, cheese--and so didn't see what all the fuss was about). BUT, I wanted to look like a regular burrito-eater to impress him (because clearly, an affinity for burritos is what men look for in a woman), so I ordered a vegetarian burrito: rice, black beans, salsa, sour cream and cheese, and guacamole. And holy crap was that thing good! The rice, guacamole, and tortilla really make the whole meal, and from that moment on, Taco Bell had to watch its back (in terms of my keeping my stomach's affection--Chipotle is not actually making threats against Taco Bell, in case that was unclear).


Since that moment, two things have happened. One, I married the most amazing man in the world. Two, we have made regular visits to Chipotle, celebrating Chipotle Saturday every week, ever since. We always go for lunch, we order the same exact thing each time (he is a chicken burrito lover, whereas I heart my veggie burrito), and the employees know our order and often comp us for our drinks. Once, my husband was out of town during one of our scheduled Chipotle Saturdays. I still went, but sent him an email from my burrito, saying that his burrito was missed. I even attached a picture:

Yes, the frown is made out of guacamole...as an English teacher, I reserve the right to personify my lunch.

ANYWAY, the idea is, Chipotle is a ritual for us, and it felt kind of wrong to attempt to re-create something so sacrosanct. But, we're on a budget now as we save for a house, so I decided to take on the challenge after all. This is a recipe for a copycat Chipotle burrito bowl (vegetarian). I figured that, so long as I wasn't messing with my husband's specific burrito of choice, we'd be ok ;).

So, let's begin with the foundation of our lovely burrito bowl: our rice. I found a recipe for the rice here: Chipotle Copycat Lime Rice. I doubled the recipe, and I would use the following ingredients:
-2 teaspoons of veggie oil for cooking rice (if specified by your package of rice)
-1 tablespoon of veggie oil for mixing at the end
-1 and 1/3 cups of basmati rice
-1 lime (juice and zest)
-1 tablespoon cilantro
-1 teaspoon of salt
-3 cups of water

*Note that I say "would use." I read PAGES of comments about how sticky the rice turned out due to too much or too little water in the basmati rice. I ended up using 4 cups of water (about 2 cups per 2/3 cup of rice), but that was just too much, and my rice ended up a bit mushy. So, I would use 3 cups instead (1.5 per 2/3 cup of rice) to fix that. I also did not zest the lime and used half the juice in my guacamole and salsa when I should have had a separate lime reserved for that purpose. Otherwise, the rice was actually really tasty and close in flavor to Chipotle's!

(Had to add in a quick shot of the lime--the view is gorgeous, but the smell was heavenly!)

To make, cook your basmati rice according to package directions (mine said to rinse the rice, cook the grains in a bit of oil, THEN add in the water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes). Just be sure to use the amount of water specified above. When finished, fluff with a fork and add in the cilantro, oil, lime zest and juice, and salt. Set aside.

Next prepare your salsa. I always get the mild salsa from Chipotle, which is more of a pico de gallo. To make, mix together the following:
-1 large, chopped tomato (or 2-3 roma tomatoes)
-1  medium red onion, finely chopped (I had some leftover vidalia onion, so I used that--still delicious)
-2-3 tablespoons of cilantro (or more or less to your taste)
-1 Jalapeno pepper, no seeds, finely chopped
-Salt to taste
-Lime juice (1/2 a lime, squeezed)

The ratio of tomato to onion in the pico de gallo should be pretty close to 1:1, with perhaps a bit more tomato. And if possible, make the salsa an hour in advance of your meal to give the flavors a chance to meld together a bit prior serving. Set aside.

The last part of the meal that needs to be prepared is the guacamole. If you have an avocado masher, this is extra fun (it's like a mini-potato masher, so it fits inside your little prep bowl), but a fork will do just fine if not. You will need the following:
-1 RIPE avocado
-cilantro to taste
-lime juice (the other 1/2 of the lime from your salsa)
-garlic powder to taste
-salt to taste

The star of the show, of course, is the avocado. Make sure it is ripe, or it will be impossible to mash and make into a smooth guacamole. Use the avocado masher or fork to mash into a green mush (I know it doesn't sound appetizing, but guacamole is another one of those foods I would take with me if I were stranded on an island. It is also a source of good-for-you fat, so love the green mush, people!). Squeeze in your lime juice, then add as much cilantro, garlic powder, and salt as you need to flavor it to your liking. In fact, you may want to add them one at a time and taste your guacamole between each addition. Because you need to be sure that it is flavored sufficiently. This is definitely not an excuse to eat additional guacamole. Ahem.

Finally, heat your beans on the stove (I simply bought a can of black beans from the store--you could absolutely cook up a batch of your own if you were so-inclined, however!) and shred some fresh cheese of your choosing (I used colby jack). Then, assemble in the following order:

-Rice (about 1 cup)
-Black beans (about 1/2 cup)
-Salsa (about 1/2 cup)
-Cheese (about 1/4 cup)
-Guacamole (all of it!!!--ok, just kidding. But at least 1/3 cup)
-Sour cream if desired

I had to dive into this right away, and it was worth all the prep work--my husband even said it was really good, and this is one dish where I KNOW he would tell me if he disliked it! Of course, nothing will ever beat Chipotle's burritos for either of us, but if you're looking to save some money by eating in and still enjoy the delicious-ness that is Chipotle, give this recipe a try. Enjoy! :)

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