Vegan Chipotle Bowls

5 from 6 votes
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Vegan Chipotle Bowls with quinoa, black beans, sautéed peppers and onions, and Creamy Chipotle Sauce. These healthy, hearty bowls are perfect for make-ahead lunches.

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Vegan chipotle bowls topped with creamy chipotle sauce styled in a white speckled bowl.

Why You’ll Love These Vegan Chipotle Bowls

These Vegan Chipotle Bowls boast all the flavor of your local takeout joint.

They’re full of fiber and plant protein, yet will only cost you a fraction of the price. And, since they’re totally plant-based, they will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

These bowls start with a bed of cilantro-lime quinoa, which is an excellent source of plant protein.

Also in the mix is cumin-spiced black beans, sautéed peppers and onions, and a dynamite Creamy Chipotle Sauce.

Start to finish, this recipe only takes 45 minutes, and it’s super versatile. Feel free to add a scoop of guac for extra heart-healthy fat, or wrap in a tortilla to enjoy burrito-style.

The options are endless, and I guarantee they’ll become a regular in your weekday rotation.

If you love recipes like this, be sure to check out my Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls and Chickpea Quinoa Bowls.

Recipe Ingredients

Recipe ingredients in separate bowls on a wooden tray with labels.
  • Quinoa: This pseudo-grain is actually one of the only plant-based sources of complete protein. (Meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.) I like to cook it in vegetable broth for extra flavor.
  • Black Beans: Beans are an excellent source of both fiber and protein, making these bowls extra filling. Plus, they are a blank canvas to jazz up with flavor agents. For example, I love adding a dash of cumin, garlic, and lime juice.
  • Peppers and Onions: I use a mix of bell peppers for sweetness, poblano pepper, and red onion. Alternatively, you can use yellow or sweet onion.
  • Spices: You need chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder.
  • Cilantro: To flavor the quinoa and add a fresh, herb-y garnish to the bowls.
  • Adobo Sauce: This is the sauce that chipotle chiles are canned in. It’s super smoky and spicy, so a little goes a long way.
  • Lime: You need the zest and juice of 1 lime.
  • Creamy Chipotle Sauce: You’ll never believe this sauce is made with 3 ingredients: cashews, chipotle chiles, and fresh orange juice. It’s smoky and spicy with crave-worthy creaminess. Alternatively, you can also make a batch of my Green Tahini Sauce or Jalapeño Ranch, which both taste incredible with Mexican food.
  • Orange Juice: It’s important to use fresh orange juice, as opposed to bottled or from concentrate. I typically purchase one naval orange, which amounts to about 4 Tbsp. of fresh squeezed juice.

And then, of course, there is the toppings/garnishes. My go-to’s are fresh cilantro, avocado, and a spritz of fresh lime juice.

For a full list of ingredients and quantities, see the recipe card below.

Substitutions/Additions:

  • Make with Rice: Instead of the quinoa, you can use the exact same quantity of long-grain white or brown rice.
  • Add Chicken: If not making vegan, feel free to add grilled or blackened chicken thighs (just like Chipotle offers).
  • Make Nut-Free: In place of the cashews, you can use 1/2 cup of plain whole-milk Greek yogurt.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Pour boiling water over cashews and let them soak. (This helps them soften up so they blend into a super creamy sauce.)

Step 2: Cook quinoa by combining quinoa and vegetable broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until cooked. Remove lid and stir in cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice.

Cilantro and lime juice stirred into a pot of cooked quinoa.

Step 3: Sauté peppers and onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 8 minutes. Season with chili powder, cumin, and salt.

Step 4: Season black beans with cumin, salt, lime juice, and garlic powder. Gently warm in the microwave if enjoying the bowls immediately.

Peppers and onions being sauteed in a skillet, and a bowl of black beans being seasoned with spices.

Step 5: Prepare Creamy Chipotle Sauce by combining cashews and soaking liquid, orange juice, chipotle chili, and salt in a blender; blend until smooth.

Creamy chipotle sauce being blended in a blender until smooth and creamy.

Step 6: Assemble bowls by dividing quinoa, black beans, and peppers and onions evenly between four bowls. Spoon chipotle sauce overtop, and garnish with avocado and extra cilantro.

Vegan chipotle bowls being assembled in a white serving bowl.

Recipe FAQs

Do I have to rinse quinoa before cooking?

Rinsing removes the pseudo-grain’s natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter. Most packaged quinoa is pre-rinsed, however if you purchase it from the bulk bin section, it’s best to rinse it before cooking.

How to make quinoa taste better:

I like cooking quinoa in vegetable or chicken broth (as opposed to water) for extra flavor. Or, cook it in a mix of broth and water! This helps infuse the grain with flavor while it’s cooking, rather than seasoning it after the fact.

How to cook fluffy quinoa:

The key to cooking fluffy quinoa is to let it steam in the pot after it’s cooked for 10 minutes. This helps absorb any remaining traces of liquid and plumps up the grain.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips:

  • Make-Ahead: The Creamy Chipotle Sauce can be blended and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead. Just give it a stir prior to using.
  • Store: Store leftover bowls (without garnishes) in airtight Tupperware containers for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat: You can enjoy these bowls warm, chilled, or closer to room temperature. If you prefer them warm, nook in the microwave for about 1 minute, stopping to stir after 30 seconds. Add garnishes, such as avocado and cilantro, after reheating.
A fork digging into a plate of quinoa, black beans, peppers and onions, and avocado.

More Vegan Lunch Recipes to Try:

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. And don’t forget to follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates. 

5 from 6 votes

Vegan Chipotle Bowls

Vegan Chipotle Bowls with black beans, sautéed peppers and onions, and chipotle cashew cream. These healthy, gluten free bowls are perfect for make-ahead lunches or easy weeknight dinner.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Blender
  • Small saucepan
  • Large skillet

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (plus 1 tsp. lime zest), divided
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 poblano pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin, divided
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, sliced

Creamy Chipotle Sauce

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Instructions 

  • Place cashews in a bowl and add 1/2 cup boiling water. Let stand while you prepare the rest of recipe.
  • Combine quinoa and broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is mostly absorbed, about 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let quinoa steam, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, 1 tsp. lime zest, and 1 Tbsp. lime juice. Season with a pinch of salt, if desired.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add bell peppers, onion, and poblano pepper; cook 7 to 8 minutes, until softened. Season with chili powder, 1/2 tsp. cumin, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
  • Place black beans in a bowl. Stir in remaining 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. lime juice, and garlic powder. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave until warm, about 60 to 90 seconds, stirring once halfway through.
  • Place cashews and soaking liquid in a high power blender. Add chipotle pepper, orange juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt; blend on high speed until smooth and creamy. Taste and add a pinch more salt, if needed.
  • Prepare bowls by dividing quinoa evenly between 4 bowls. Divide black beans and pepper and onion mixture between each bowl, and drizzle with chipotle sauce. Garnish with sliced avocado and additional fresh cilantro, if desired.

Notes

  • Make-Ahead: The Creamy Chipotle Sauce can be blended and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead. Just give it a stir prior to using.
  • Store: Store leftover bowls (without garnishes) in airtight Tupperware containers for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat: You can enjoy these bowls warm, chilled, or closer to room temperature. If you prefer them warm, nook in the microwave for about 1 minute, stopping to stir after 30 seconds. Add garnishes, such as avocado and cilantro, after reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 805mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!
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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. Kimberly Hans says:

    5 stars
    This turned out so delicious!! I loved the spicy sauce!

  2. Cameron K. says:

    5 stars
    Loved the creamy chipotle sauce!! It definitely took the flavors up a notch.

  3. Jean White says:

    5 stars
    A quite delicious meal on this Cinquo de Mayo.
    I modified it a bit: rice, chicken stock, sour cream with chipotle powder.
    Every element is good on its own. I may use the beans for Mother’s Day when we are having Carne Asada. And I’ve never seasoned the peppers and onions for that dish but will definitely continue in that vein. Thanks for a great meal!

  4. Maxi says:

    What if you cant have orange juice or chipotle pepper any substitutions?

  5. Haley says:

    5 stars
    These might be my new favorite meal prep lunch. Sauce is definitely spicy, but mixed with the other ingredients it’s great! I added Greek yogurt too!

    1. dishingouthealth says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Haley! Thanks for taking time to leave a review.