Chow Town

Thumbs up for Chipotle’s chorizo on taste, but watch for the sodium

Chipotle’s new chorizo is getting a test run in Kansas City.
Chipotle’s new chorizo is getting a test run in Kansas City. Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle has chosen Kansas City as the test market for its newest menu item: chorizo.

After breaking the news that Kansas Citians would be the ones to give it a thumbs up or down, I headed out to a local restaurant for a quick taste test at lunch.

The chicken and pork sausage blend is fashioned into a patty that is grilled in-store then crumbled for mixing with the standard rice and bean base and served in a bowl, burrito or taco.

At corporate chef Nate Appleman’s suggestion, I ordered a bowl, then chose white rice, black beans, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese, guacamole — and I always add lettuce.

The chorizo crumbles had a pleasant texture, without any gristly specks, something I sometimes find in sausages and brats that have not been ground finely enough or contain too much fat. When I dug down to the bottom of the bowl with my fork, I was also pleased that there was no reddish grease residue, which is so often a byproduct of fresh chorizo.

The spice level — primarily from the paprika and chipotle peppers — was faintly warm but certainly not overpowering. (Truth be told, the steak is spicier.)

I did, however, detect a fair amount of sodium. I asked the company for the count: A 4-ounce serving contains 293 calories and 803 milligrams of sodium.

The American Heart Association’s recommended daily amount is less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium.

Using the company’s nutrition calculator, I compared other options: Barbacoa (530 milligrams) and sofritas (555 milligrams) are the protein options next highest in sodium.

The chorizo is also slightly higher in calories than all other protein options.

On the plus side, the chorizo contains the most protein per serving (31 grams) of the restaurant’s entree selections, according to Chipotle.

Overall, I give the chorizo a thumbs up for taste and I will put it in a rotation with the chicken (310 milligrams) to balance my sodium intake.

Jill Silva is The Star’s restaurant critic. She also writes the Eating for Life nutrition column. Tweet her @kcstarfood.

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