Update: July 13, 2020
Chipotle has confirmed that it will be testing out a new cauliflower rice menu option in select markets. A total of 55 Chipotle restaurants in the Denver and Wisconsin area will begin offering cauliflower rice on July 15.
The new cauliflower rice will be prepared in the same way as the traditional cilantro lime white rice. The cauliflower will be grilled then seasoned with fresh-chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt, and will be made fresh every day in stores.
This option is not only another plant-based and grain-free selection for customers, but it complies with popular diet plans like Keto, Whole 30, and Paleo. Cilantro lime cauliflower rice will cost $2 extra and has the potential for a nationwide launch following customer feedback in the test locations.
Original Post: February 20, 2020
While fast food restaurants and QSRs are finding new ways to keep up with the plant-based boom, Chipotle has taken a little bit longer to hop on the bandwagon. The chain does offer a tofu-based filling, but is currently working on more plant-based alternatives like cauliflower rice to offer customers.
Most places are opting for meat alternatives like Beyond Meat or Impossible Burgers, but Chipotle is looking for options that are "less-processed" according to a report by Bloomberg.
Chipotle's menu is pretty short compared to other restaurants, with only 53 ingredients. Sofritas is a tofu-based protein option currently available at Chipotle, but Chief Executive Officer Brian Niccol told Bloomberg they're working on more choices for those that follow a plant-based diet. There are a lot of meatless toppings at Chipotle already with the lettuce and salsa, but the chain is looking to include additional choices for people that don't eat meat or follow different diet plans. In 2019, Chipotle debuted a bowl that was Whole30 and Paleo diet friendly.
Cauliflower rice is one such option Chipotle is looking into for their low-carb customers. They're also working on more items made from black beans. Overall, Chipotle is aiming to make their meatless menu options above average. "We are definitely experimenting with plant-based foods. We’re in the early days of it,” Niccol said. “What we want to do is make the world’s greatest cauliflower rice, as opposed to process something and make it seem like it’s something else.”
Although I'm one to opt for a bowl whenever I go to Chipotle, I'm sure the cauliflower rice will be amazing in a burrito too. The real question is...will it be cilantro lime flavored?! We'll just have to keep our eyes out and see.
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