Chipotle Salad vs. Bowl: Differences & Which Is Better?

Chipotle Salad vs. Bowl

Chipotle salad is an incredibly flavorful dish containing lots of greens and chicken. It is called Chipotle because it contains Chipotle peppers, which are smoke-dried ripe jalapeno peppers used as a seasoning. The Chipotle salad ingredients are often constituents in the burrito bowl, too; however, the burrito bowl and the Chipotle salad are not the same things. So what is the difference between a Chipotle salad and a bowl? 

While Chipotle burrito bowl has rice, the Chipotle salad does not traditionally contain any. The Chipotle salad contains more greens, especially lettuce, and combines cabbage too. Chipotle salad is seasoned with vinaigrette, while the bowl uses dressing.  

The differences between the bowl and the Chipotle salad are subtle, but they do exist, and therefore, these two delicacies have different tastes and require somewhat different pairings. It is important to know the aspects in which these two dishes differ so that you can enjoy them with everything they have to offer. So, in the following paragraphs, I will explain how the Chipotle salad and the bowl differ, what they have in common, and which of them is better in which circumstances.

Chipotle Salad vs. Bowl: Which Are the Differences?

The Chipotle salad and the bowl share many similarities, which is why it is important to the aspects in which they differ, as it is easy to take one for the other. For example, they both contain chicken and share many of the ingredients, both can contain beans, and they are both incredibly delicious.

Although they are very discrete and seemingly insignificant, the differences between Chipotle salad and a bowl are significant enough to make them two different dishes. The biggest difference between the Chipotle salad and the burrito bowl is the rice, i.e., the chipotle salad doesn’t have any, while the bowl is full of it. 

While Chipotle salad is an actual salad, the bowl or the burrito bowl is the guts of the burrito spilled out of the tortilla. The bowl contains all the burrito ingredients except the tortilla, while the chipotle salad is not a variation of anything.

However, they also share many similarities, which is why it is important to the aspects in which they differ, as it is easy to take one for the other. For example, they both contain chicken and share many of the ingredients, both can contain beans, and they are both incredibly delicious.

Chipotle Salad vs. Bowl


One of the differences between the chipotle salad and the bowl is the amount of lettuce used in both. While the lettuce is one of the main constituents in the chipotle salad, it is merely a garnishing ingredient in the bowl. Therefore the chipotle salad contains far more lettuce than the bowl. 

In addition, more often than not, the Chipotle salad contains purple lettuce, while the green lettuce is more represented in the burrito bowl. 


Even though there is no law saying you absolutely cannot add rice to a Chipotle salad because you can, still, the rice is a signature ingredient in the burrito bowl. Moreover, adding rice to a chipotle salad will make it more of a burrito bowl than a salad. 

As a rule, for something to be considered a salad, it has to contain more greens than other ingredients. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, which I won’t discuss now. So if the amount of rice in the chipotle salad exceeds the number of greens, the chipotle salad will no longer be a salad but some burrito bowl-chipotle salad hybrid. 


The vinaigrette is the typical seasoning for Chipotle salad. Salads containing fresh greens are often seasoned with vinaigrette as it gives them flavor due to their somewhat blandness when unseasoned. On the other hand, if the salad contains cooked, grilled, or in any way processed vegetables, the vinaigrette wouldn’t be necessary, as the ingredients are already flavored in some way. 

Since the burrito bowl is not a salad and doesn’t contain that many greens, it is not typically seasoned with vinaigrette. On the other hand, the Chipotle salad is often seasoned with vinaigrette as the fresh veggies inside need flavoring. 


Even though you can add cabbage to a burrito bowl, it is not a standard ingredient there, as the burrito isn’t supposed to be crunchy. On the other hand, the Chipotle salad contains lots of cabbage, and sometimes even equal parts lettuce and cabbage. Another reason for adding cabbage to a Chipotle salad is because cabbage does excellently seasoned with vinaigrette. 

Because the bowl is dressed rather than seasoned with vinaigrette, cabbage is not what you want in that story, as its crunchiness will disappear in the dressing creaminess, and they just don’t work well together. 


While the Chipotle salad is typically seasoned with vinaigrette, the burrito bowl is often dressed and sometimes not even that. The substantial amount of rice in the burrito bowl eliminates the need for any kind of dressing because it gives the burrito all the flavor it needs. However, it isn’t unheard of to dress a burrito bowl.

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The dressing makes the bowl even creamier and more satiating, bonding all flavors together into a single flavor unit all of us know and love.

Chipotle Salad vs. Bowl: Which One to Choose? 

When it comes to choosing one or the other, you must know that as similar as they are, you cannot substitute one for the other, and you cannot pair them with the same combinations. While the Chipotle salad is lighter and brighter, containing a lot of greens, the bowl is a bit heavier and more satiating, as it is a complete meal. 

If you want to pair your dish with something, it is better than you choose the Chipotle salad, as it is easier to pair since it is a salad. You can pair the Chipotle salad with meat, roasted, steamed, or grilled vegetables, mushrooms, or bread. It also goes great with beer, white wine, and, of course, sparkly water. 

On the other hand, the burrito bowl is more restrictive in terms of pairing, and it is best to combine it with what it has the least of, which is fresh vegetables. A side salad made of fresh and crunchy vegetables, such as lettuce, green pepper, and cucumber seasoned with salt and lemon, will go a long way with your burrito bowl. The bowl goes great with beer and sparkly water; white wine is not a recommendable drink for this dish. 

If you are in the mood for something lighter, which you intend to have on its own or paired, I recommend having the Chipotle salad, as it will be what you want in that situation. 

The bowl should be your choice if you want something heavier and richer in texture, consistency, and satiating capacity. Even though it offers fewer pairing options, the burrito bowl is a complete meal by itself, and you don’t have to pair it anyway. 

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!