So I often tell Nick that I deserve a “Best Girlfriend Award”. He’s pretty lucky if you ask me. 

Make-Your-Own Chipotle Barbacoa Bowl|

Before we moved in together, he would bring his lunch to work (step one in the right direction) but it would mostly consist of a sandwich with meat and cheese only, a bag of chips and a pickle. Not very well rounded if you ask me. But I’ll give him some slack—at least he was eating at home and not going out to eat for lunch every day, like many people do. 

When we moved in together almost two years ago, I took over the grocery shopping/cooking. When I make my meal plan, I always ask what he wants for lunch, and I make him pick at least one fruit and one veggie. Ha– sounds like I’m talking to a little kid! But it’s all for his own good :) Sometimes he begrudgingly picks a veggie but I know deep down he knows I just care about him and want him to be healthy so we can live out our many life plans together <3 

Sometimes I’ll make him something extra-special. A couple weeks ago, I made him these salisbury steak meatballs with egg noodles that he raved about all week. This week his request? Chipotle. 

Make-Your-Own Chipotle Barbacoa Bowl|

I scoured Pinterest and rounded up the best “Chipotle” copycat recipes I could fine, and made them my own! This looks super complicated, but it really isn’t. This is definitely a lunch that you want to #mealprep the weekend before so that it’s ready to grab and go during the week. I prepped this last weekend and it took me about 40 minutes total to wash, chop, mix, stir, and put the meat into the crockpot. 

Make-Your-Own Chipotle Barbacoa Bowl|

This barbacoa recipe REALLY tastes like Chipotle’s. Like really. While it was cooking, our apartment smelled like it was it’s own Chipotle franchise. The cool thing about Chipotle is that they have all of the ingredients on their website, so it was easy to pick out which spices to use. The main spices for the barbacoa are chipotle chilies, cumin, garlic, oregano, black pepper, salt and bay leaf. Easy enough! 

black beans

To make this spicier, adjust how much of the adobo peppers you use. They are HOT.

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Here are the recipes for the Chipotle Barbacoa Bowl!  

Make-Your-Own Chipotle Barbacoa Bowl
Yields 5
For the rice
  1. 1 Tbsp butter
  2. 2 cups brown basmati rice
  3. 3 1/2 cups water
  4. 1 tsp Morton's Lite Salt
  5. juice from one lime
  6. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
For the black beans
  1. 2 cans black beans, no salt added
  2. 1 tsp onion powder
  3. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  4. 1/2 tsp oregano
  5. juice from 1 lime
  6. 1/2 tsp Morton's Lite Salt
For the barbacoa
  1. 2 lb chuck roast, cut into 2-inch chunks
  2. 4 tsp minced garlic
  3. 3 oz (half of a 7oz can) chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
  4. 1 poblano pepper, diced
  5. 1 tsp onion powder
  6. juice from 1 lime
  7. 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  8. 2 bay leaves
  9. 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  10. 1/2 tsp oregano
  11. 1/2 tsp salt
  12. 1/2 tsp black pepper
For the rest of the bowl
  1. sour cream
  2. salsa of your choice
  3. romaine lettuce, chopped width-wise
  4. lime wedges
  5. chopped cilantro
  6. shredded Monterrey cheese
For the rice
  1. Heat the butter over medium in a large pot. Add rice, toast for about 2 minutes. Add water, salt, lime juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork, then stir in the chopped cilantro.
For the beans
  1. Drain the beans and add to a large bowl along with all the spices. Stir well.
For the barbacoa
  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, toss gently to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  2. Using two forks, shred the beef into bits and toss with the juices.
Zen & Spice

More Chipotle “Make-Your-Own” Recipes: 

Just Like Chipotle’s Corn Salsa via how sweet eats 

Chipotle Chicken Fajita via Simply Scratch 

Chipotle Pico de Gallo via My Frugal Adventures  


  1. I absolutely love Chipotles Bowls, it’s the one restaurant where my boyfriend and I can both get a delicious meal of food since I am mostly vegan and he loves meat. I’m going to try this recipe next week.

    1. I love Chipotle too! So many variations of what you can get. Let me know if you try it :)

  2. Chipotle bowls are so yummy! I actually quite enjoy making my lunch the night before. I put on a good podcast, which makes it a lot more enjoyable (I love cooking, but at the end of the day I usually just want to lounge on the couch or in bed!). Only part I don’t like is having to clean up after, haha! These bowls look delish :)

    1. Good idea about the podcast! Do you have any that you recommend?

  3. I love at home chipotle bowls but I have not tried to do anything this fancy. I normally stick to chicken but this looks so good I have to give it a try! I am a fan of all things crockpot! I meal prep my meals every weekend and my boyfriend does too, so we could easily make a big batch up this for us both! Thanks for sharing!

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