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Burrito-less veggie salad bowl

A burrito is a delicious food item that breaks down all social barriers and leads to temporary spiritual enlightenment.

 – Monster High, Lisi Harrison

I love burritos. One of my favourite restaurants at home is this little pokey restaurant called Boojum, near Jervis Street Shopping Centre, where you can build your own burrito. Delicious (please forgive me if I ever overuse the word “delicious”.  It is not intentional, but in Korea that is the main word used to describe anything that is really tasty) aromas assail the senses as you walk in, and, for me at least, it’s hard not to just jump over the counter and devour everything I see. When I came to Korea, my brother and I found a place in Itaewon that was of a similar style. Sadly, it did not compare, and since then I’ve been quietly lamenting the lack of a decent build your own burrito place.  Over time I’ve found several other restaurants in Seoul (and Daejeon) that have tasty burritos. However, memories of that delicious  burrito at Boojum must have been haunting my dreams because when one of my friends recently came for Sunday lunch I decided to make the following recipe.

My friend, on top of being a vegetarian, is allergic to lactose and gluten, so obviously burritos themselves were out of the question as was any cheese. So instead of my delicious burritos, I came up with a salad that everyone really enjoyed. As I’ve been making my own lunches, I’m cooking a lot more these days. This salad was my go-to choice for this week’s dinners and lunches. I made some adjustments and added some extra ingredients until I came up with the below recipe. Filling, healthy and flavourful, this burrito-less salad bowl is perfect for larger groups. You can serve it by itself or with your favourite nutty bread; or indeed, use it in a burrito slathered with cheese.

Burrito-less veggie bowl salad

Serves 6


Main Salad

  • 1 cup Rice*, uncooked
  • 1 tin (437g) Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin (437g) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup whole Lentils (marinated around 1 hour in olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, dried red chili, a little salt and pepper)**
  • 2 Bell Peppers (yellow, red or orange), chopped
  • 1 cucumber, quartered and sliced
  • ½ Carrot, quartered and sliced
  • 1 small Onion or 8 scallions/spring onions, sliced finely
  • 1 cup Mixed Cherry and Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ cup Black Olives,  sliced in thirds
  • 2 tbsp Lime juice
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice

Salad Add-ons

  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 3 cups Spinach, packed
  • 3 tbsp Coriander/cilantro leaf
  • ½ cup toasted almonds


  1. Wash and cook the rice, as per package directions, and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, discard the marinade from the lentils and then transfer the lentils to a large bowl.
  3. Add all the other main salad ingredients to the bowl except for the lime and lemon juice and rice. Mix together thoroughly.
  4. Once the rice is cool, mix it into the salad along with the lemon and lime juice.
  5. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
  6. Upon serving add the coriander leaf, avocado,  almonds and spinach. Serve immediately


When I’ve made this for friends, I’ve followed the above method. When making this for yourself, I would prepare the hearty ingredients ahead of time: beans, lentils, rice, and carrot but add the other vegetables and add-ons the night before or just before eating. I’d also add just a dash of lemon and lime juice per portion. This will prevent the salad from becoming too “soggy” for lack of a better word.

This salad is really adjustable – add more lemon or lime juice as per your own personal tastes. You can also add or remove any other vegetable. For example, once I can find corn in the market, I will add it as well.

Also, I sometimes like to use a tbsp of homemade salsa as a dressing in the salad. I add it in the final step.

*I used glutinous white rice, but you could always use basmati, jasmine, or brown rice.

**Again, I used dried green lentils but you could use any other whole kind. Once cooked, marinade in the above ingredients – around ½ tbsp each for the liquids. For canned lentils, rinse and then add the marinade.

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