This week involved a trip home to northern Illinois for spring break. Sadly, I did not have the opportunity to travel to warmer weather. However, due to my absence from campus, I decided to write about a mainstream, chain fast food restaurant — Chipotle. The fact that the chain offered a decent vegan option and was also translatable to the Champaign-Urbana community was appealing to me.
Chipotle has been a glorified place among the vegan blogging community because without the addition of cheese and sour cream, the burrito and burrito bowl is vegan. While ordering the vegetarian burrito means you're paying a little more for the said burrito despite consuming fewer items, I am the first to admit that I am an avid fan of Chipotle and I would be content consuming its food daily if I had the choice. The promise of a burrito barely appeased my desire for warmer weather; however, it did brighten my day just a bit.
Of course, when ordering, be sure to get the black beans because the pinto beans are cooked with lard. Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fajita veggies consist of onions and green bell pepper which are not generally cooked on the grill with meat products (of course, please ask to be sure at the Champaign location). Other than the fajita veggies and black beans, I always order the pico de gallo, corn salsa, lettuce, and guacamole on my burrito bowl.
The guacamole is the key ingredient in bringing the items inside of the bowl together. It allows for the exquisite union of the cilantro-lime rice, fresh vegetable, and smoky black bean flavor. The level of spicy tends to vary according to the location and this particular burrito bowl had quite the kick, but it was never unbearable.
If you're looking for a conveniently located fast food restaurant and you're vegan (and have not been there already), I suggest you visit Chipotle and try their burrito or burrito bowl. When you're on the run or you have some time between work, class, or a meeting, you will not be unsatisfied with its capacity to fill you up, nor with the fabulously coordinated blend of flavor it provides.
Another interesting aspect of Chipotle is that they actually acknowledgment the vegan/vegetarian community. They are marketing a "Garden Blend Burrito" at certain locations in New York. These burritos contain a soy meat. Here is some information about the Garden Blend Burrito, here and here.
Our local Chipotle is located: 528 East Green Street in Champaign, Ill. in campustown.
General Disclaimer: The foods featured in this article are vegan to the best of the author's knowledge. If you follow the vegan diet strictly, always ask before trying the recommended dishes.