burrito bowl vs taco salad

Burrito bowl vs taco salad – Are they different?

If you define yourself as a Mexican food lover, then there are things you must know. For example, if you visit a Mexican restaurant and try to decide between a burrito bowl vs taco salad, you should not get confused.  Although burrito can be very similar to salad when displaced from the tortilla, it is not the same.

Where did the burrito bowl and taco salad come from?

Some people wouldn’t agree that a burrito bowl is a burrito at all since the tortilla is omitted in this dish and wheat tortilla is thought to be the essential ingredient of the burrito. However, considering that a burrito bowl is made by transforming a burrito that previously existed, it is clear that the history of the burrito bowl is actually the history of a burrito.

The origin of burritos takes us to Mexico, or more precisely, to Northern Mexico. Wheat isn’t grown in Southern Mexico so burritos are not considered traditional food in this area. The origin of the name is not definite, “burro” means “donkey”, while “burrito” means “little donkey”. Fact that it doesn’t contain any of the donkey products opens the way for many different theories on how this dish got its name. The truth is – no one really knows. 

The first time the burrito was mentioned on the menu in the US was in the 1900s in San Francisco and today this dish is more popular in America than in Mexico. As for the taco salad, it is a famous dish of Tex-Mex cuisine. That means that it is not authentically Mexican, it is rather a mix of elements from different cuisines. You take a taco from the Mexican cuisine, then take an American salad, blend it up and you get a taco salad, perfect!  

What is the difference between a taco salad and a burrito in a bowl?

A burrito bowl includes all the ingredients from the burrito filling (meat, cheese, beans, vegetables, sauces). They are served in a bowl, without the tortilla.

In taco salad, you will find lettuce topped with cheese and meat. Those are arranged in a fried wheat tortilla.

So, there are some distinctions in ingredients used for these dishes but the main and the most obvious difference is that someone decided to use a bowl-shaped tortilla instead of a real bowl for taco salad. 

Burrito bowl vs taco salad – Which one is healthier?

When you hear the word “salad” you think of something green and healthy, something that you would choose in the restaurant if you are on a diet. Since there is the word “salad” in its name, you could think that a taco salad is much healthier than a burrito bowl. But don’t judge so quickly!

The iceberg lettuce is a healthy part of this meal but in restaurants, they will stuff it with a lot of dressing to make it more tasty and attractive. There is also a bowl-shaped tortilla which is deep-fried and not healthy at all.

The conclusion is – don’t judge the dish by its name. Although it sounds like a heavy, spicy, and unhealthy meal, a burrito bowl is a source of protein and there is less fat in it than in a taco salad.

Calorie amount in burrito bowl and taco salad

A burrito bowl and a taco salad are meals that can be prepared with various ingredients and it is very hard to measure calorie amount in them. For example, you can choose to make a burrito bowl with chicken, pork, or with beef. These types of meat can be grilled or fried, if you fry them the calorie amount will be higher. 

Also, a burrito bowl will be healthier if you replace white rice with brown rice. Another way to make a healthier version of the burrito bowl is to use fresh vegetables instead of frying them. 

To lower a calorie amount in the taco salad, you can make a healthier dressing on your own instead of using a bottled one because these are full of sugar. 

Can burrito in a bowl and taco salad both be vegetarian dishes?

Yes, they can! If you are a vegetarian, or have a vegetarian guest and you lack dinner ideas then both burrito bowl and taco salad can be ideal options for you!

How to make a vegetarian burrito in a bowl

Originally, a burrito bowl contains meat but you can make a lot of changes both in the choice of ingredients and in the preparation process.  Also, a burrito bowl doesn’t need any meat to be delicious. It will be yummy even if you leave the meat out. 

Ingredients that you will need are:

  1. Rice or quinoa
  2. Corn
  3. Black beans
  4. Fajita veggies
  5. Pico de gallo
  6. Guacamole

Rice is a “must-have” in a burrito bowl. Choose white or brown rice and cook it according to the package instructions. 

Using quinoa instead of rice might be a great idea if you want to make your burrito bowl healthier or if you are on a gluten-free diet.

Make fajita veggies by cooking bell peppers and onions for 3-5 minutes with olive oil until they become soft.

Making pico de gallo is quite simple, you just need to chop tomatoes, onion, peppers, and cilantro and mix all of these after adding salt and lime juice.

After placing a rice base in the bowl, top it with black beans, fajita veggies, corn, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream.

Yes, it is that simple! Enjoy!

How to make a vegetarian taco salad

A vegetarian taco salad is not meant only for vegetarians, even meat lovers sometimes need a light meal so they will be pleased with this recipe as well.


  1. Fresh lettuce
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Corn
  4. Avocado
  5. Black beans
  6. Onions
  7. Cotija cheese

Preparation is so simple that there is no need for further explanation! Just combine all of these ingredients. You can place them in a bowl-shaped tortilla or you can use tortilla strips to achieve a crunchy texture. 

When choosing avocado for this salad, make sure that it is ripe because it should be creamy. You will know that it is ready to eat if it feels slightly soft when you squeeze it gently. Also, ripe avocados usually have a darker color.

When it comes to the onion, it should be red onions according to the recipe but in the spring you may want to use a green one. It’s up to you.

Cotija cheese is a Mexican cow’s milk, it’s hard and dry and it suits this salad perfectly but if you can’t find it, you can substitute it with ricotta or feta.

How to make dressing for taco salad

In the end, you’ll want to drizzle your salad with a dressing. You can use a bottled one but you should dare to make a dressing on your own. It is very easy to prepare and it will contribute more to a salad taste compared to a bottled one since it will be fresh.

To make a dressing you will need:

  • Avocado
  • Lime juice
  • Olive oil
  • Cilantro
  • Mayonnaise
  • Garlic and onion powder
  • Salt and pepper

 Put all the ingredients into the blender and blend them until it becomes creamy. So when the texture is fine you can drizzle it over your salad and enjoy!

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