Perfectly seasoned fajita-inspired veggies are combined with cilantro-lime rice, black beans and a flavorful avocado crema in these vegetarian burrito bowls!
These burrito bowls feature fajita-style peppers and onions, flavorful cilantro-lime rice, and seasoned black beans. Unlike the Tex-Mex style fajitas that these bowls are inspired by, these plant-based bowls center around just fajita veggies and not the fajita meat.
If you're looking for more protein in addition to the seasoned black beans, these bowls go well with chorizo-inspired tofu crumbles or tempeh taco meat.
Each component of these bowls works well as a standalone recipe, but when you combine them all together the result is a flavorful and super satisfying vegetarian meal.
- Dietary features: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free
- Flavors: Inspired by the fajita veggies served with Tex-Mex style fajitas, these bowls feature sweet, smoky, and zesty flavors.
- Meal-prep friendly: This recipe is easy to double and most of the components freeze well. Each recipe also works well as a standalone recipe.
- Easy to customize: Make these burrito bowls your own by adding extra protein, your favorite salsa, sliced avocado, etc.
What you'll need
There are four main components to this recipe:
- Fajita vegetables: Red, orange, and green bell pepper combine with red onion and seasonings to make soft, charred fajita veggies! I use a cast iron pan but any large skillet will work.
- Cilantro-lime rice: Long-grain white rice is my go-to but you can use an equal amount of cooked brown rice if you prefer. Brown rice cooks at a 1 cup rice to 2.5 cups liquid ratio.
- Seasoned black beans: Two cans (or about 3 cups) black beans combine with cumin, chili powder and cilantro for a flavorful plant-based protein. I like to use my Instant Pot black beans for this recipe, but canned black beans work just as well.
- Avocado crema: This creamy, dairy-free sauce is similar to guacamole but it is smooth and pourable. It's made using just ripe avocados, lime juice, water, and cilantro.
How to make fajita veggies
Step one: Start by heating a 12" cast iron pan or skillet over medium-high heat. I prefer using cast iron because it adds extra flavor, but any skillet will work. Once hot, drizzle in neutral oil (canola, vegetable, olive oil, etc.).
Step two: Add the sliced bell peppers and onion. Sprinkle with salt. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring only 2-3 times. The skillet may seem too small at first but the veggies will shrink as they cook.
Step three: After 5 minutes, sprinkle in the cumin and chili powder. Stir again. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until softened to desired consistency. I like my veggies soft but with a bit of a bite. Cook for 15 minutes total for very soft veggies.
Other bowl components
If you make everything separately it will take a little under an hour to make this recipe. However, most of these steps can be done at the same time. If you're a multi-tasker it will only take about 30 minutes.
I usually make rice in my Instant Pot (1 cup white rice + 1 cup water) but you can make it on the stove top instead.
Rinse the rice well, until the water is running clear. In a medium pot, combine 1 cup white rice with 2 cups water. Add ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer over medium-low until the rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, lime zest and black pepper. Taste for salt.
Seasoned black beans
Add the black beans, spices and vegetable broth to a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, turning the heat down as needed to prevent the beans from burning.
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon water at a time to smooth to a thick pourable consistency, if needed.
This step can be done by hand as needed, but the avocado cream will not be as smooth.
- More toppings: Add shredded romaine, shredded cheese of choice or queso fresco, tortilla chips, pickled onions, sweet corn and salsa for more variety.
- Protein: Add tempeh taco meat or tofu chorizo for additional protein and flavor. You can also use pinto beans or red beans in place of black beans.
- Make a burrito bar: Add all ingredients to individual serving containers along with extra toppings like refried black beans, fresh jalapenos, cherry tomatoes and a variety of salsas to make a burrito bar.
- Other vegetables: You can add sliced mushrooms, zucchini, and broccoli florets in place of one or all of the peppers.
Leftovers: Keep refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days for best quality. You can divide individual servings across 3-4 storage containers for meal prep. Store the avocado cream separately if you prefer it cold.
Reheat in the microwave for about 2 minutes, until warmed through.
Freezing tips: The rice, beans and fajita veggies all freeze well. I haven't tried freezing the avocado cream, but I think it would be best enjoyed fresh or from the fridge.
Freeze components separately or as individual bowls/servings in freezer safe containers for up to 3 months.
More vegetarian meal ideas
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Vegetarian Fajita Veggie Bowls
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 3 medium bell peppers sliced into thin ½" strips, see note #1
- 1 medium red onion sliced into ½" strips
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro see note #2
- 2 tablespoons lime juice from one lime, see note #3
- ½ teaspoon lime zest from one lime
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 15 ounce cans black beans drained and rinsed, see note #4
- ¼ cup vegetable broth or water
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 medium ripe avocados skins and seed removed
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 3 tablespoons water more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt to taste
- Heat a 12″ cast iron pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, drizzle in neutral oil.
- Add the sliced bell peppers and onion. Sprinkle with salt. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring only 2-3 times. The veggies will shrink as they cook.
- After 5 minutes, sprinkle in the cumin and chili powder. Stir again. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until softened to desired consistency. Cook for 10 minutes for more texture and 15 minutes total for very soft veggies.
- Rinse the rice. In a medium pot, combine 1 cup white rice with 2 cups water. Add ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat and cover with a lid. Simmer until the rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro, lime juice, lime zest and black pepper. Taste for salt.
- Add the black beans, vegetable broth, chopped cilantro, chili powder, cumin and salt to a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, turning the heat down as needed to prevent the beans from burning.
- Taste for seasonings and stir in one tablespoon lime juice just before serving.
- Combine all ingredients (avocado, lime juice, cilantro, water, garlic powder) in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon water at a time to reach a thick pourable consistency, if needed.
Making the Bowls
- Divide equal amounts of rice, beans and fajita veggies between 4-5 bowls. Top with avocado cream. Serve with a lime wedge.
- Bell peppers: I use a variety of red, orange and green peppers. The peppers should be "julienned" or sliced into ½" strips.
- Cilantro: One large bunch of cilantro is enough for this recipe.
- Limes: One lime usually has about 2 tablespoons lime juice. I use a total of 3 limes for this recipe, one of which is for serving.
- Black beans: Two cans is equivalent to about 3 cups cooked beans. You can also use pinto beans or red beans.
- Storage and reheating: Keep refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days for best quality. Reheat in the microwave for about 2 minutes, until warmed through. You can also reheat the fajita veggies in a cast iron pan/skillet over medium heat.
- Freezing: The rice, beans and fajita veggies all freeze well. Freeze components separately or as individual bowls/servings in closed freezer safe containers for up to 3 months.
Did you make this recipe?
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I just made this and am thrilled with how it came out! It’s so delicious!! I made a few adjustments - used frozen jasmine rice that was microwaveable in my attempt to help clear out the freezer. I also crumbled up some tofu and seasoned it with cumin & chili powder for some extra protein on the side. Can’t wait to have this for my lunches this week! Thank you for the healthy and accessible recipe!
Thanks so much for the review! The tofu sounds like a great addition and having frozen rice on hand is so helpful. Enjoy! 🙂