The Vegan’s Guide to Chipotle

I haven’t eaten fast food since I was a kid. As I got on my health conscious path that kind of stuff just appealed to me less and less (even before I was the weirdo Kombucha brewing vegan that I am today…)

But when I got to college, and was faced with the challenge of living in a rural farm town with a measly five blocks of chain restaurants and retail stores, I discovered something wonderful, I discovered Chipotle.

The argument of whether Chipotle can be considered a “fast food” restaurant is longer than time, but Chipotle’s commitment to sourcing the most sustainable and local ingredients possible makes me believe they know what they are doing.

These days, as I have become more in tune with my body and how different foods effect it, I usually judge a restaurant by how I feel 30 minutes after I’m done eating. After eating Chipotle, I feel light on my feet, not bloated or weighted down, satisfied and happy.

Some may give Chipotle flack for using soybean oil to cook their vegetables or being too high in sodium, but there’s not many restaurants out there that can provide me with a quick, cheap, relatively healthy vegan meal that I feel great eating.

Of course what I have gotten over the course of my love affair with Chipotle has changed since becoming vegan, but here is my go-to basic Chipotle order:

“May I please have a salad with…”

Shredded lettuce

Chipotle_Mexican_Grill__Romaine_Lettuce_salad_754765_i0This is a Gray Eats Green insider secret. Ask them to use the taco lettuce instead of the usual salad lettuce. It’s the exact same romaine, just chopped up so you don’t have to do the work. I recommend starting with a salad base instead of rice so you make sure to get your greens in.

Brown rice

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Now we add the brown rice. Brown rice is like white rice’s healthy, unrefined brother, the grain still has its bran and hull intact. Be sure not to ignore complex carbs, as they are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Chipotle adds cilantro and lime so they’re healthy and delicious.

Both beans (black and pinto)

1378484723_1Beans are my favorite vegan protein source and high in a ton of nutrients, and Chipotle just happens makes some of the best beans of all time. Choose one or choose them both, the pintos used to be cooked with bacon but as of 2013 they are 100% vegan.

Fajita veggies 

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Sautéed peppers and onions add a nice crunch and some color. While sometimes scrutinized for being sautéed in soybean oil, they are a much better option than the meat toppings so I tend to let this slide.

Mild salad a.k.a. “pico de gallo” 

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Made from tomatoes, red onion, jalepeño, cilantro, and lime, this classic, chunky mild tomato salsa is a great way to add some raw veggies to your Chipotle bowl. Sometimes I even ask for an extra scoop.

Corn salsa

17I always get corn for a sweetness and color boost. Some people may claim corn is too high in carbs. But I say, pile on the vegetables.

Hot salsa 

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Did you know spicy foods are said to speed up your metabolism? I love spicy foods and Chipotle’s hot sauce  definitely adds a great kick to my meal.

Guacamole 

Chipotle_Mexican_Grill_Guacamole_754603_i0Avocados are my favorite source of “good fat.” Loaded with fiber and nutrients, avocados are a great way to get a dose of healthy fats. And who doesn’t love guacamole? Especially Chipotle’s guacamole. I always get mine on the side on the side.

Optional: 

Sofritas 

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If I’m in a city where it’s offered, I get the “Sofritas;” shredded organic tofu braised with chipotle chills, roasted poblanos and a blend of aromatic spices.

“…I’ll have a cup for water. Thank you so much, have a great day!”

And there you have it, the official Gray Eats Green Chipotle order.

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Even though I get a salad,  I skip the Honey Cumin Vinaigrette. Not because I don’t eat honey, because I do, despite the fact that it is not officially vegan. I just don’t need the extra added oil, I get my dose of healthy fats from the guacamole and all of the salsas add so much flavor. I also love the chipotle flavored Tabasco sauce that’s offered at the drink stand, it adds a great smokey flavor and a nice kick.

Over all, I think Chipotle is an excellent once-in-a-while option for time, budget and health conscious vegans!

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