This amazing vegan fajita bowl recipe is going to be your next favorite healthy meal! Includes black beans, peppers, sweet onions, spices, a speedy pico de gallo and a super simple avocado sauce. Served over whole grains of your choice plus some crunchy romaine, this recipe is great for meal-prep and makes for a perfect lunch or dinner.
I have had endless amount of healthy bowls in the last few years: they are easy to put together, quick, perfect make-ahead yummy meal and loaded with nutrients to keep you energized. You can pretty much pile your favorite grain + veggies + beans + sauce and call it dinner!
And today, we are making a vegan fajita bowl! It combines everything you would have in a vegetarian fajita meal, but served over grains instead of squeezed in between a tortilla bread. And making it without cheese makes it vegan and dairy-free. Such a treat!
The main part are the tasty roasted pepper, onion and mushrooms that are a little sweet and perfectly spiced with a combination of fajita flavoring ingredients, such as garlic, chili, cumin and paprika. Then, comes the black bean for a boost of plant-based protein, a quick sweet and tangy salsa made within 5 minutes and also, maybe the best part, a delicious and speedy creamy avocado cilantro sauce.
You can meal-prep a bunch of those elements ahead of time, especially the fajita vegetables, brown rice and salsa, so you can build your healthy bowl super quickly on a busy day. Enjoy for lunch or dinner and swap up some ingredients as you wish to make it your own.
Let me know if you gave it a try! ❤️
Highlights of this recipe
- Full of bright colors and very appetizing
- Easy to make and highly customizable, see tips below on how to make this recipe ultra speedy!
- Healthy and loaded with fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants and plant-based protein
- Very hearty and super filling
- Great for meal-prep
- So FULL of flavor
- Fully vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free
Ingredients you'll need and substitutions
- Cooked grain: choose your favorite grain to make this bowl. I love brown rice and often meal-prep it ahead so it is ready to go, but feel-free to use quinoa (cooks faster!), farro, barley, etc. Also, try to always keep some frozen cooked brown rice in your freezer or even, those single portion cooked rice to keep in the pantry, for those last minute buddha bowls that makes dinner so much easier.
- Black beans: I use canned black bean for convenience, but you can cook your own black beans too! You can also use any beans you like or have ready to-go, such as kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils or chickpeas.
- Sweet onion: I am on a kick with those large sweet onions lately and they work perfectly for a fajita vegetable mix. If you don't have them, then simply use regular yellow onion or even red onion.
- Peppers: any color works!
- Mushrooms: I used small cremini mushrooms, but white buttons work too.
- Garlic: I use them in many components of this recipe, such as the pico de gallo, fajita vegetables and the quick avocado sauce. You will need a total of 5-6 cloves.
- Avocado: used to make the sauce that brings everything together, so don't omit! Look for a perfectly ripe avocado without any bitter dark spots and if you have small avocados (sometimes sold in bags), then use 2!
- Cherry tomatoes: Used to make the speedy pico de gallo, they are sweet and gives great flavor to the quick chunky salsa. You can also use a regular tomato.
- Crunchy lettuce: optional, but I like to also include chopped romaine lettuce in my bowl for a nice freshness and a good crunch too.
- Lime: used to make the guacamole sauce and the salsa, also add a few lime wedges to your bowl when serving to make it extra zesty!
How to make a vegan fajita bowl
Prep the grain
I recommend to start by cooking the grain you want to serve your bowl with. I chose brown rice, but quinoa, barley, farro, etc would all work well.
Make the fajita vegetables
While the grains are cooking, then slice the onion and peppers. Then, warm up a large non stick pan with a little oil (if using, can also be made oil-free) and then add both the onion and pepper. Add all the fajita spices mix over with a little salt and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables soften slightly but are still crunchy.
Then, add the garlic (about 3 cloves) and also the mushrooms. Stir well and keep cooking until the mushrooms are done, about 5 more minutes. If the pan gets too dry, then add a little water (2 tablespoons at the time). Once done, set aside.
Make the pico de gallo
In a medium bowl, add the chopped cherry tomatoes, diced onion, garlic (one clove), lime juice and salt. Stir well and set aside.
Make the avocado-cilantro sauce
Mash the avocado as smooth as you can using a fork and then transfer to a medium bowl. Add the salt, garlic (one clove), cilantro, lime juice and green onion and stir well.
Then, 1 tablespoon at the time, add some water + stir until desired consistency.
For a super smooth cilantro sauce thin enough to pour or drizzle over you bowl, then I would recommend using a blender and add enough water to thin it out to your taste. If you find that the water dilutes the flavor, then add more salt, lime juice and garlic. Or, check out this vegan avocado crema sauce or this high-protein guacamole!
Assemble your bowl
To your serving bowl, add some cooked grain, chopped romaine lettuce and canned black beans (drain and rinse first). Then, top with some of the fajita vegetables, pico de gallo and avocado sauce. Garnish with more cilantro and green onions if you want and serve with slices of lime to drizzle more zesty juice over your dish.
Watch how to make it
Pro-tip for a speedy weeknight dinner recipe
You can make this recipe super quickly during the week even if you don't feel or have that much time to cook. Here are a few tips to make this recipe easier and faster:
- Use store bought pico de gallo instead of making your own salsa. We love the pico de gallo from the brand The Pick Organics that we get at Whole Foods Market, but you can use any brand you like.
- Also, you can buy already-made creamy guacamole instead of making the avocado sauce. We enjoy the guacamole from the brand 365 that we also find at Whole Foods Market. It is not spicy, which works great for our kids.
- You can also heat up frozen cooked brown rice within a few minutes before serving so you don't have to cook any grains.
- Feel-free to use an already made fajita (or taco) spices mix! Most small packets of pre-made spices contain about 1 ounce of spices, which is about 6 teaspoons. In this case, simply use half of the packaging and keep the remaining for another recipe!
If you use those easy short-cuts, then all you will have to do is cook the fajita vegetables in the pan and open a can of black beans!
More helpful tips
- You can also warm up the black beans before serving if you prefer. Simply use the microwave or add to a small pan and heat up on medium heat for a few minutes.
- The trick to make this recipe quicker is to work in parallel: start with cooking the grain. Meanwhile, cook the fajita veggies. While the vegetables cook, make the salsa and the guacamole sauce. This way, you don't have much down time and most of the bowl's parts will be ready about at the same time.
- When making a meal that requires a few spices, then I like to first gather them in a small bowl. I find it so much easier later when veggies are roasting in a pan: I don't lose any time looking for a specific spices and it saves some time not having to measure each amount, all of this can prevent over cooking and burning my veggies.
Variations and serving suggestions
My favorite thing about buddha bowls is that there are ENDLESS ways to serve them. There really is no wrong or solid rules to respect, just follow your gut and craving.
So here are other yummy customization ideas for inspiration:
- Make it grain-free: for a super veggie loaded bowl, then swap the grain for cauliflower rice! You can buy frozen cauliflower rice and simply heat it up using the microwave or the stove.
- Use other veggies: a classic combo for fajitas are peppers, onion and mushrooms, but just use your favorite veggies or what you got ready to-go. Try including sweet potatoes, leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens, etc), zucchini, carrots, butternut squash, etc. Also, thaw some corn and add to your bowl or also, garnish with shredded purple cabbage for a punch in nutrients and color.
- Swap the sauce: not feeling like avocado? Then try topping your bowl with a chipotle cashew sauce, warm vegan white queso or vegan sour cream.
- Add fruits: this fajita bowl pairs well with a little sweetness, so you can add some cubed fruits, especially mango, pineapple or peaches. Or, swap the quick salsa for this spicy peach salsa, a roasted mango habanero salsa or pineapple pico de gallo.
- Make it spicy: this is the perfect kind of meal to add a nice heat to it. Simply drizzle your favorite sauce over or include sliced jalapeño peppers to the pan when cooking the vegetables.
This bowl can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days. It is best to keep each component apart while storing so you can reheat some of them (such as the vegetables, rice and beans) while keeping some chilled (such as the lettuce, salsa and guacamole).
Also, avocado naturally turns brown when in contact with the ambient air, so try to make the guacamole sauce just when ready to eat and make a second fresh batch when serving the leftovers a few days later. I love those single portion guacamole, something you could use when serving leftovers.
Yes! Just be sure to use a gluten-free grain when serving.
Some parts of yes are! You can freeze the rice, vegetables and black beans, but keep the guacamole and salsa fresh.
Yes! Thickly slice the onion and peppers and place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Then, spray some oil over (optional) and sprinkle the fajita spices mix and some salt. Stir well and bake at 400º for about 15 minutes. Then, add the mushrooms, garlic and stir, then bake for 10-15 more minutes or until the veggies are done to your liking.
More healthy bowls you might like
- Baked tofu teriyaki buddha bowl
- Vegan savory breakfast bowl
- Teriyaki cauliflower bowl
- Tofu peanut butter bowl
- Rainbow salad bowl
- Falafel buddha bowl
- Miso tempeh noodle bowl
- Vegan green nourish bowl
- Greek marinated tofu bowl
- Quinoa and tomato poke bowl
- Mexican buddha bowl
- BBQ chickpea bowl
- Mediterranean chickpea quinoa bowl
- Chimichurri bowls
- Vietnamese noodle bowl
I hope you like this vegan fajita bowl as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Fajita Bowl
- cooked rice or other whole grains of your choice - about ½ cup per bowl, see notes
- romaine lettuce - finely sliced, about ¾ cup per bowl
- 15 oz canned black beans - rinsed and drained
- 2 large colorful peppers (red, orange or yellow)
- 1 large sweet onion - divided (¼ cup is kept for the salsa)
- 8 oz mushrooms
- 3 cloves of garlic - crushed, divided
For the quick salsa
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (20-25 tomatoes) - chopped
- ¼ cup sweet onion - finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic - crushed
- ½-1 tbsp lime or lemon juice - or to taste
- salt - to taste
For the avocado cilantro sauce
- 1 large avocado
- ⅓ cup cilantro - chopped
- 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice - or to taste
- 1 green onion - sliced
- 1 clove of garlic - crushed
- salt - to taste
- 1-4 tbsp water - to taste, to thin out the sauce
For the fajita spice mix (or half a packet of store-bought fajita spices mix (3-3½ teaspoons total))
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp coconut or brown sugar
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- In a small bowl, combine the fajita spices and set aside.
- Keep ¼ cup of the sweet onion and finely chop it. For the remaining of the onion, slice it in thick layers.
- Warm up a little oil (if using, I like olive oil spray) in a large non-stick pan and then, add the sliced onion and peppers. Sprinkle the fajita spices mix over with a little salt, stir well and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Then, add the mushrooms, garlic and keep cooking for 4-5 more minutes or until the vegetables are tender, but still a little crunchy. If the pan gets too dry, then add some water to the pan, about 1-2 tablespoons at the time. Taste and adjust salt to your liking.
- While the vegetables are cooking, make the salsa. In a medium bowl, combine the reserved finely chopped onion (¼ cup) with the chopped cherry tomatoes, garlic and lime juice. Add salt to taste and stir well. Set aside.
- Also while the vegetables are cooking, simply mash the avocado on a plate using a fork as smooth as you wish and transfer to a medium bowl. Then, add the cilantro, lime juice, green onion, garlic and salt to taste. If you want to make it thinner, then add a little water 1-2 tablespoon at the time.
- When ready to eat, add some cooked rice to your bowl and top with some black beans (heat them up first if you want), romaine lettuce, fajita vegetable mixture and the cherry tomato salsa. Dollop some of the avocado sauce over and garnish with more cilantro and green onions, if desired. Enjoy!
- Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. It is best to keep each component apart from each other and reheat the vegetables, beans and rice before serving.
- You can meal-prep ahead and cook a larger batch of rice to use over the week, which would make this recipe super quick. If you don't have much time, then you can cook quinoa (cooks faster). I also LOVE keeping frozen cooked brown rice in the freezer for busy days.
- The avocado sauce will brown if resting for too long, so it is best to make it just before ready to eat.
- For a SPEEDY weeknight dinner, then use frozen cooked rice (reheat quickly on the stove or microwave), store-bought pico de gallo and pre-made guacamole from the grocery store.
- You can also use store-bought fajita spices mix. Most packaging contains 1 ounce of spices, which means about 6 teaspoons. In that case, you will only need half of the packaging, so keep the extra for another recipe!