Chipotle Lime Black Bean Bowl, an easy Mexican-inspired vegan black bean and tofu grain bowl with quinoa, veggies, toppings, and a drizzle of chipotle-lime tahini sauce. Great for meal prep and ready in 45 minutes!

quinoa, black beans, kale, roasted sweet potatoes, sliced avocado, chipotle lime tahini sauce, a lime wedge, and cilantro in a white bowl on a white countertop with lime wedges

Are you a bowl aficionado? We love this flavorful Chipotle Lime Black Bean Bowl that's topped with a Mexican-inspired chipotle-lime tahini sauce, lime juice, garlic, and tahini for a creamy texture. Drizzled on top of quinoa, black beans, sweet potato, and tofu, this recipe is packed with protein and tons of flavor!

👉 Here are four reasons you should make this simple spicy black bean and tofu bowl:

  • It's bursting with flavor. Between the chipotle lime tahini sauce, as well as the cilantro and lime-flavored toppings, you won't be able to get enough of this flavor-filled bowl.
  • It's versatile. There are so many ways that you can eat and adjust this recipe! It's easy enough for a weeknight meal or to pack for lunch. You can get creative with bowl toppings; use brown rice instead of quinoa, sub kidney beans for black beans, and add toppings like tortilla chips and salsa.
  • It's packed with nutrients. Not only does this recipe feature super nutritious veggies like sweet potatoes and kale, it also provides plant-based protein from black beans, quinoa, and tofu. A balanced, veggie-packed meal to add to your diet!
  • You can prep the ingredients ahead of time. Make the quinoa, sweet potatoes, black beans, tofu, and even the sauce ahead of time and build the bowl later.

Ready to learn how to make a flavorful black bean and tofu bowl? Let's do it!


🌶 Ingredients

This simple bowl recipe uses lots of tasty ingredients, including the following:

  • Quinoa: our recipe for the perfect bowl includes a simple grain, and quinoa is what we used for this one! Rice would also work well in this dish.
  • Black beans: you'll need a can of black beans to bring this recipe together. You could also use pinto, kidney, or white beans.
  • Spices: chili powder and garlic are what we used to flavor up and add heat.
  • Tofu: for more plant-based protein!
  • Veggies: roasted sweet potatoes, corn, and wilted kale add nutrients, fiber, and color to the chipotle black bean bowl.
  • Sauce: the Mexican-inspired chipotle lime tahini sauce is made with olive oil, tahini, chipotle peppers, garlic, lime juice, and salt.
  • Optional toppings: cilantro, avocado, tortilla strips, lime wedges
  • Recommended tools: food processor or blender
bowls of quinoa, black beans, cubed tofu,

🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Preheat oven + roast sweet potatoes

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Cut sweet potatoes by slicing or dicing into cubes. Place them on a baking sheet, and toss with olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Roast in the oven until tender and golden brown, which will take about 35 minutes, more or less depending on your oven. Halfway through roasting, take the sweet potato cubes out of the oven and give them a toss to make sure they cook evenly on all sides.

👉 Roasted Potato Tips: For more sweet potato roasting tips, check out our favorite roasted sweet potato recipe here.


2️⃣ Step Two: Prep the quinoa, kale, and tofu

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, cook the quinoa according to package instructions.

Wilt kale in a large pan with a bit of oil and water for 3-5 minutes until the leaves soften. Once the kale is wilted, take it out of the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, crisp the tofu over medium heat. Cook for about 15 minutes and make sure to flip to brown all sides evenly.


3️⃣ Step Three: Cook black beans

Add beans to a pan over medium heat and top with chili powder, garlic powder, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until black beans are warm and begin to soften.


4️⃣ Step Four: Make the sauce

To make the sauce, add olive oil, tahini, chipotle peppers, garlic, lime juice, and salt to a food processor or blender.

Pulse until smooth, adding water until your desired consistency is reached. Set aside.

a hand squeezing juice from a lime into a food processor

5️⃣ Step Five: Assemble the veggie bowl

Finally, it's time to build your chipotle black bean bowl! Add quinoa, black beans, tofu, sweet potatoes, corn, and a handful of kale to the bowl.

Drizzle with chipotle-lime tahini sauce, add optional toppings, and enjoy!


❓ Recipe questions + quick tips

Are grain bowls healthy?

Grain bowls are typically healthy, but it depends on the ingredients you use to make them! We make our grain bowls with a simple grain, beans, roasted veggies, spices, and homemade sauce, which are all good-for-you ingredients that provide vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants. Plus, these black bean bowls are high in fiber and plant-based protein!

What else can you put in black bean bowls?

The possibilities are endless for what you can put in black bean bowls. Quinoa, rice, tofu, edamame, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, kale, spinach, avocado, corn, and onions are some options, to name a few. Just about any vegetable tastes great in black bean bowls. You can also use kidney beans or pinto beans instead of black beans, or change up the spices for new flavors. If you eat meat, you can add chicken, pork, or beef to the bowl as well.


🥗 How to serve

We love that there are so many different ways to serve black bean bowls! Here are some ideas:

  • Enjoy on its own! Have a black bean bowl for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast! They provide an excellent balance of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, so will keep you full and satisfied.
  • Wrap it in a tortilla. Instead of serving “in a bowl”, place the ingredients inside a tortilla and enjoy.
  • Mix with a salad. Combine black bean bowls with some raw greens for a tasty salad.
  • Get creative with toppings. There are so many different toppings you can add to black bean bowls, from tortilla strips to avocado to cotija cheese. Switch it up every time you make the bowls and you'll never get sick of them!

🧊 How to store

It's so easy to store black bean bowls in the refrigerator or freezer. Simply build your bowls, store, and pull out for work lunches and busy weeknights.

  1. Refrigerator storage: If you have leftovers or prepped a bowl in advance, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy within 3-4 days.
  2. Freezer storage: Store black bean bowls in a freezer-safe container before placing in the freezer. For best quality and flavor, enjoy within one month.
a white bowl with quinoa, black beans, tofu, sweet potatoes, and a creamy red chipotle chili lime sauce

♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips

Want to take your green lifestyle to the next level? We've got you covered! Here are some tips to get the most out of this recipe's ingredients:

Choose seasonal ingredients. You can switch up the veggies you add to your black bean bowl based on what's in season. Check out this guide to find out when specific vegetables are in season near you.

Don't toss the veggie scraps. Kale stems, sweet potato peels, and any other scraps you accumulate can be added to food scrap vegetable broth. At the very least, they should be tossed in the compost pile.

Use dry beans instead of canned. We used canned beans in this recipe to save time, but another option is to use dry beans to decrease waste. You can purchase dry black beans in bulk at most grocery stores (and they're typically cheaper than canned varieties!). If you use canned beans, wash out and save the can for your next DIY project rather than throwing it out.


💚 More simple plant-based bowls

Love this simple plant-based bowl recipe? Check out our other seasonal bowl recipes!

Chipotle Lime Black Bean Bowl

Chipotle Lime Black Bean Bowl, an easy Mexican-inspired vegan black bean and tofu grain bowl with quinoa, sweet potatoes, and corn with avocado and a drizzle of chipotle lime tahini sauce. Great for meal prep!
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Ingredients

Bowl Ingredients

  • 2 whole sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups kale, removed from stem
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups black beans
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 cup corn

Sauce Ingredients

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼ cup water

Instructions 

  • Prep ingredients: Roast sweet potatoes by sliced or dicing into cubes, tossing with olive oil, and roasting for 40 minutes at 425 degrees F, or 230 degrees C (see our favorite roasted sweet potato recipe here). Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to package instructions and wilt kale in a large pan with a bit of oil and water for 3-5 minutes until the leaves soften. Crisp the tofu in a large pan over medium heat, cooking for about 15 minutes and flipping to brown all sides evenly.
  • Cook beans: Addd beans to a pan over medium heat and top with chili powder, garlic powder, and a squeeze of lime juice. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until black beans are warm and begin to soften.
  • Make sauce: Add olive oil, tahini, chipotle peppers, garlic, lime juice, and salt to a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth, adding water until desired consistency. Set aside.
  • Build bowl: Add quinoa, black beans, tofu (if using), sweet potatoes, corn, avocado, and a handful of kale to bowl. Drizzle with chipotle lime tahini sauce and enjoy!

Notes

  • Recipeotes: This recipe requires a few items to prep before building the bowl: cooking the quinoa, roasting the sweet potatoes, and wilting the kale. Cook time is based on making sauce and building the bowl; total cook time starting from scratch is 45 minutes.
  • Tools Needed: large sheet pan for roasting potatoes, environmentally-friendly cookware to make quinoa and wilt kale, and a food processor or traditional blender to make sauce.
  • Prep Ahead: Roast the potatoes, cook the quinoa, wilt the kale, and prepare the sauce ahead of time for easy bowl preparation.
  • Leftovers + storage: Store leftover bowl in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days; this is also a great meal prep bowl that can be frozen and reheated up to a month later.
  • To reheat: To microwave, heat on high for 3 minutes, stirring halfway through; on stovetop, put bowl contents into a pan and heat over medium heat until warm throughout.
  • Nutrition notes: Nutrition information is for one bowl with one fourth the amount of sauce and topped with avocado and cilantro. This flavorful bowl is high in plant-based protein, high in fiber, low in sodium, and is a good source of vitamin A, iron, and potassium.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1bowl, Calories: 741kcal, Carbohydrates: 65g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 44g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Monounsaturated Fat: 26g, Sodium: 104mg, Potassium: 1034mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 3606IU, Vitamin C: 46mg, Calcium: 150mg, Iron: 6mg

UPDATE: This recipe was originally posted in March 2019 and updated for clarity in September 2021