Makes 8 servings: 1 burrito each
I’m delighted to share one of my very own taste buds’ recipe requests. The request: To create a better-for-you vegetarian burrito with the lusciousness of an authentic stewed beef burrito and with fewer than 500 calories. I’m always up for a challenge … especially when it comes to Mexican cuisine! So I recreated a grass-fed beef burrito recipe (that I actually developed many years back) into this full-flavored vegetarian version. The recipe is fit for a fiesta! And if no fiesta is on your agenda, still make the full batch of 8 and freeze; the burritos are equally scrumptious warmed up for later. Simply add the lettuce just before serving–or serve it as part of a side salad. Crossing my fingers your taste buds will request this inspired burrito de frijoles y queso tasteover often!
Calories Saved: 150
1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups finely chopped seasonal vegetable of choice, such as cauliflower or broccoli florets
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 cups cooked or canned drained organic mixture of no-salt-added black, red kidney, and pinto beans
1 1/2 cups medium tomatillo salsa
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
2 cups steamed brown basmati rice, warm
6 ounces shredded mixture of Mexican-style organic cheeses, such as Monterey Jack, Chihuahua, and extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (1 1/2 cups)
8 (8-inch) whole spelt, whole-wheat, or other whole grain tortillas, warm
4 cups shredded Romaine hearts
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and vegetable and cook while stirring occasionally until fully softened, about 15 to 18 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the beans, salsa, salt, pepper, and cumin and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook until the mixture thickens to desired consistency, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the cilantro and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Adjust seasonings.
- Stir the remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro and 1 tablespoon lime juice into the rice.
- Serve the cheeses, stewed beans, rice, and lettuce rolled in the tortillas (do not fold in ends). Secure closed with a short bamboo pick. Enjoy with a fork and knife. Serve with a side of guacamole, if desired.
Per serving: 460 calories, 12g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 20mg cholesterol, 780mg sodium, 65g total carbohydrate, 12g dietary fiber, 6g sugars, 20g protein
The “Before” Recipe
stewed beef burrito
Makes 8 servings
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 pounds grass-fed organic boneless beef chuck, cut into 2/3-inch cubes
1 1/4 cup medium salsa
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime (1 tablespoon)
8 (10-inch) flour tortillas of choice
2 1/2 cups steamed brown rice
10 ounces shredded organic Cheddar cheese (2 1/2 cups)
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook while stirring until brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salsa, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil.
- Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low; cook until the beef mixture is tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook until the mixture thickens to desired consistency, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.
- Warm the tortillas according to the package directions. Cover with foil to keep warm.
- Serve the beef, rice, cheese, and lettuce wrapped or rolled in the tortillas.
Per serving: 610 calories, 26g total fat, 12g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 75mg cholesterol, 1300mg sodium, 59g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 8g sugars, 34g protein
- Layer the flavors. Go with three types of beans and three types of cheeses for flavor depth and interest.
- Boost volume with veggies. Use seasonal veggies that you love.
- Focus on the filling. Use a whole grain tortilla that’s just big enough to wrap around the burrito fillings—but without tucking in the edges. There won’t be excess tortilla … which saves calories and allows the filling to be the highlight. Plus you’ll need to eat it with a fork and knife, which will slow down your eating pace and increase enjoyment.
- Balance tastes with a splash of an acid, like lime juice.
- Heighten aroma. Be freer with herbs and spices. Add a pinch–or go for an extra couple pinches–of spices and fresh herbs, like cumin and cilantro, especially when reducing sodium.