I tasted burritos from 3 iconic Colorado fast-food chains, and the winner was the cheapest and tasted the most complex

Chipotle, Illegal Pete, and Qdoba burritos were all similar sizes when the writer on Insider tried them. Monica Humphries / Insider
The popular fast food burrito chains Chipotle, Qdoba and Illegal Pete's were founded in Colorado.
Having recently moved to the state, I wanted to compare veggie burritos from its three famous chains.
I thought Chipotle had the best taste and texture, and I'm not surprised the chain has gained a worldwide following.
After moving to Denver, I decided to evaluate burritos from three fast food chains originating in Colorado.
The author eats a vegetarian qdoba burrito. Monica Humphries / Insider
Qdoba Mexican Eats and Chipotle Mexican Grill - two of the most popular burrito chains in the country - both started in Denver, Colorado.
After moving to Denver that summer, I learned there was another local fan favorite called Illegal Pete's.
The burrito company started in Boulder, Colorado in 1995, and two decades later there are a dozen illegal Pete chains across Colorado and Arizona, according to the company's website.
I compared flour tortilla burritos with white rice, black beans, pinto beans, vegetables, pico de gallo, spicy salsa, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole from each location.
Veggie burritos from fast food chains originating in Colorado. Monica Humphries / Insider
Since I don't eat meat, I decided to order my vegetarian burrito from the three fast food chains.
At around $ 8, the Qdoba and Chipotle vegetable burritos cost about the same, and Illegal Pete's was the only chain that charged $ 2 more for guacamole.
Qdoba and Chipotle's vegetarian burritos are around $ 8, and Illegal Pete's vegetarian burrito is around $ 10. Monica Humphries / Insider
One of the biggest charms of Qdoba for me is that guacamole doesn't cost extra for any of their burritos. My total pre-tax amount was $ 8.25.
At Chipotle, a meatless vegetarian burrito includes free guacamole and costs $ 7.65 before tax, the cheapest of the three burritos.
The vegetarian burrito at Illegal Pete's was $ 10.18 pre-tax, as the guacamole was an additional $ 2.19.
Each burrito looked and felt like it was roughly the same size and weight.
Chipotle, Illegal Pete, and Qdoba burritos were all similar sizes when the writer on Insider tried them. Monica Humphries / Insider
I usually think of Chipotle's burritos as mammoths, so I was surprised that each burrito appeared to be about the same amount of food.
The Qdoba burrito looked the most appealing to me with the toasty brown patches of the tortilla, but the taste didn't match the looks in my opinion.
The outside of the burrito of the author from Qdoba looked toasted. Monica Humphries / Insider
Qdoba's burrito tasted too boring for me.
I thought the rice, beans, and vegetables lacked strong flavors and the salsa didn't really make up for it.
I felt like my Qdoba burrito had too much rice and too little of the other fillings, which earned it third place on my ranking.
A cross-section of the author's vegetable burrito from Qdoba. Monica Humphries / Insider
I had three consecutive bites of rice only while eating the burrito. Where were all the extra toppings? I never really found her.
But the tortilla, the thinnest of the three, was my favorite.
With no great flavors, however, I thought Qdoba's vegetarian burrito left a lot to be desired.
Illegal Pete's was the only chain that mixed up the fillings on their burritos before wrapping them up, which I thought was a nice touch.
Illegal Pete's author's burrito didn't have many toasted brown stains on it. Monica Humphries / Insider
Since I thought the ingredients in my burrito were well combined, I expected that there would be a little bit of everything in each bite.
Unfortunately my first bites were just the tortilla.
Illegal Pete's tortilla was by far the thickest of the three, and by the time I finally got to the fillings, I was already feeling full.
The burrito had the best salsas in my opinion, but it got mushy too quickly for my taste and took it to second place on my ranking.
The story goes on

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