Chipotle has been giving vegetarians what they want for years by including guacamole for no extra fee with any veggie order. And now, the chain has introduced two more options. Chipotle has new vegan and vegetarian bowls as part of its Lifestyle Bowl line. By the way, guac is still not extra with the vegetarian one.
Chipotle introduced its Lifestyle Bowls in January of this year with pre-determined combinations of ingredients that work for Keto, Paleo, and Whole30 diets, as well as one with double protein. Now, the chain has extended the line to include combinations for vegetarian and vegan customers, or people who just don't want to have meat. The vegan bowl includes brown rice, black beans, Sofritas, tomato salsa, corn salsa, and lettuce. The vegetarian bowl has brown rice, pinto beans, fajita veggies, tomato salsa, corn salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. One can assume that guacamole doesn't come for free with the vegan bowl, since Sofritas are included. The price of the items depends on location, but you can look up your local Chipotle menu here.
By the way, if the inclusion of pinto beans in the vegetarian bowl raised an eyebrow for you, you should know that Chipotle made its pinto bean recipe vegan several years ago. It originally contained pork, so black beans were the option used for vegetarian meals.
Of course, customers can still build their own vegan and vegetarian dishes with whatever combination of meatless and/or dairy-free ingredients they want. These pre-determined bowls just make things easier for anyone in a rush (especially if they're ordering online or in the app), anyone who enjoys this particular combo of toppings, or anyone who just doesn't feel like making any more decisions.
A press release about the new bowls mentions that the plant-based dishes are also about sustainability. Chris Brandt, the chief marketing officer of Chipotle, said in his statement, "We've found that many people are increasingly looking for plant-based protein options, so we wanted to make it easy for our customers with digital shortcuts for these bowls. Since introducing Sofritas five years ago, Chipotle has provided flavorful options for every lifestyle, while simultaneously doing something good for the planet." Eating less meat means a smaller carbon footprint.
The chain notes that in 2018, 7.5 million pounds of Sofritas were made in Chipotle restaurants. The plant-based protein is made from soybeans and seasoned with cumin, chipotle chile, and poblano pepper.
The new menu items are not the only recent news from Chipotle. The chain recently announced that it will be adding a few dozen locations with Chipotlanes after testing them in 10 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Chipotlanes are Chipotle drive-thrus, only you don't order at a window like a traditional fast food restaurant. Instead, you have to order online or via the Chipotle app and are then given a time to pull up to a pick-up window to collect your food.
While the additional Chipotlanes are still to come, the new vegetarian and vegan bowls are available right now.