Recipes > Lunch/Dinner > Healthy Burrito Bowl Base Recipe

Healthy Burrito Bowl Base Recipe

Whole grains, beans, and tons of flavor additions make this healthy burrito bowl base recipe a necessary staple in your recipe rotation!
healthy burrito bowl in a square, white bowl

This is one of the base recipes featured in our Whole Life Meal Plan. Are you trying to follow a more plant-forward diet but don’t know where to start? Burrito bowls are a simple and flavorful way to add more plants to your plate! Whole grains, beans, and tons of options for flavor additions make this healthy burrito bowl base recipe a necessary staple in your recipe rotation!

Three Must Know Cooking Skills

For recipe success, learn how to:

Culinary Tips for the Best Burrito Bowl

To make this burrito bowl meal prep friendly, prepare your beans and rice at the beginning of the week. You can either prepare the beans from dried, as seen in our stovetop dried beans base recipe or instant pot dried beans base recipe, or use canned. All are healthy and delicious! If using canned beans, choose a low-sodium variety and add seasonings to taste. 

If preparing the burrito bowl ahead of time, do not mix the beans and rice in with the romaine, as this will cause the romaine to wilt. Add all ingredients to the bowl once ready to serve.

If not using freshly cooked beans and rice, reheat them in a microwave-safe bowl before adding the romaine. You can also serve the burrito bowl cold.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Leafy Greens: use romaine, spinach, red or green leaf lettuce, spring mix, baby kale, or massaged kale. Roughly chop or shred the greens for easier eating.
  • Whole Grain: use brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, barley, farro, or millet.
  • Beans: we like pinto and black beans best for burrito bowls, but any bean will work – chickpeas, edamame, black eyed peas, lentils, kidney beans, or white beans. For a slightly different taste and texture, use non-refried beans.

Base Recipe Variations

Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste! Add, swap, or take away any burrito bowl ingredients to make this a delicious and satisfying meal.

Use these additional ingredients for an even more filling and flavorful burrito bowl.

  • Animal or Plant Protein: make a chicken burrito bowl using our Mexican shredded chicken. Make a beef burrito bowl by adding our ground beef and mushroom taco meat. Flaked fish is another tasty choice. Tofu or tempeh are delicious and satisfying vegetarian/vegan options.
  • Greek Yogurt, Sour Cream, or Lime Crema
  • Salsa, Pico de Gallo, or Diced Tomatoes
  • Fresh, Sautéed, or Roasted Vegetables: use shredded carrots, fire roasted corn, leftover cooked vegetables, roasted broccoli, roasted cauliflower, or whatever sounds good to you!
  • Diced Avocado or Guacamole
  • Shredded or Crumbled Cheese
  • Fresh or Pickled Red Onion
  • Fresh or Pickled Jalapeño
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Lime
  • Hot Sauce

If you just use the base ingredients, this is naturally a vegetarian burrito bowl.

To make a vegan burrito bowl, simply choose plant-based toppings, such as salsa, guacamole, tofu, and/or tempeh.

Want some burrito bowl inspiration?

Use this recipe variation for inspiration, then have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures!

Equipment Recommendations

Use these kitchen tools for recipe success:

What makes this a healthy burrito bowl?

Whether you choose to add animal proteins or not, this burrito bowl is still packed with colorful and nutritious plant foods, making it a plant-forward meal. Beans, leafy greens, and whole grains are the featured ingredients in this healthy burrito bowl base recipe.

Leafy Greens

Leafy green veggies are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that promote health and help fight diseases. 


Beans are one of our favorite foods because they are packed with high quality nutrients. All of the world’s longest lived populations consume beans daily. Beans are incredibly versatile and can be altered to meet any texture, flavor, or health preference. Beans of all varieties contain plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients promote gut health, decrease risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and promote a healthy weight.

Whole Grains

Whole grains, such as brown rice, farro, quinoa, and barley are good sources of fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Fiber is important for digestion, satiety, stable blood sugar, good cholesterol, and healthy gut bacteria. Phytochemicals work as antioxidants to help fight off diseases and keep us well. Adding more colorful and flavorful toppings can provide additional health benefits.

Learn more about health benefits of different foods and ingredients or in our book, To Your Taste!

Burrito Bowl Serving Suggestions

Burrito bowls are a great balanced lunch or dinner. Serve warm or cold. If reheating rice and beans from leftovers, heat separately from the romaine, otherwise the lettuce will wilt and not hold a great texture.

Storage Tips

Store all ingredients separately in airtight containers for up to 1 week. Once ready to serve, heat if desired and assemble. Made more rice or beans than you can eat this week? Both ingredients can be frozen for 3-6 months.

Want more simple plant-forward recipes?

Check out these favorites!

Baked Tostadas Base Recipe

Cherry Tomato Basil Pasta

Healthy Quesadilla Base Recipe

Pesto Quinoa Salad

One Pan Mexican Quinoa Skillet

healthy burrito bowl in a square, white bowl

Healthy Burrito Bowl Base Recipe

This is one of the base recipes featured in our Whole Life Meal Plan. Burrito bowls are a simple and flavorful way to add more plants to your plate! Whole grains, beans, and tons of options for flavor additions make this healthy burrito bowl base recipe a staple in your recipe rotation!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 1 serving


Base Recipe

  • 1 cup chopped leafy greens
  • ¾ cup cooked whole grain
  • ½ cup beans

Additions to YOUR taste

  • 2 ounces animal or plant protein
  • Dollop Greek yogurt, sour cream, or lime crema
  • Salsa, pico de gallo, or diced tomatoes
  • Fresh, sautéed, or roasted vegetables
  • Diced avocado or guacamole
  • Shredded or crumbled cheese
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Fresh or pickled red onion
  • Fresh or pickled jalapeño
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime
  • Hot sauce


  • Heat whole grain and beans in a microwave-safe bowl if desired.
  • Combine romaine, whole grain, and beans in a bowl. Add additional toppings to your taste. Enjoy!


If making whole grains and beans from dried, note that recipe time will increase.
See the ingredient substitutions section of the article for more greens, proteins, and flavor ideas.
Check out this recipe variation for inspiration!
Beef and Lentil Burrito Bowl
Keyword Healthy Burrito Bowl

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