While I haven’t been strictly vegetarian in a long time, I still hold petty grudges, grudges that I work out here in the form of the dishes I’d have preferred as options, over the mediocrity, the afterthought-ness, of most meatless entrees (gloopy pastas or vegetables cobbled together from sides from other dishes), sandwiches (cheese and sometimes soggy lettuce or tomato), and burritos (so much filler). A recent trip to a Tex-Mex chain left me surprised as not much had changed. And as I chewed down my football-sized wrap that was 80% rice, 15% beans, 5% salsa and cheese, my old resentment came back in full force. Vegetarian entrees, sandwiches, and tacos can be so much more! Let’s start here.
This is my core recipe for a perfect-every-time vegetable burrito, one that’s filling, hearty, and exactly the way I like it. This means there’s no rice in it, but you can of course add it. You can swap the spinach for another green. You can add vegetables you love and remove those you don’t. It’s totally flexible. Even more essential: You can freeze these for another day! For years, I defrosted and rewarmed burritos in the oven. It often took 45 minutes or more for them to be hot again, at which point it seemed like I could have just made it fresh. Not sure why it took me so long to realize you could warm a frozen burrito in the microwave in 3 to 5 minutes (ahem, or realize that’s why there’s even a market for frozen burritos), but my life has had three times the burritos, and thus joy, since.
6 months ago: Turkey Pesto Meatballs and Orecchiette
1 year ago: Banana Cream Pie and Simple Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 years ago: Hummingbird Cake
3 years ago: Carrot and White Bean Burgers
4 years ago: Extra-Billowy Dutch Baby Pancake
5 years ago: Sweet Potato Tacos
6 years ago: Pujabi-Style Black Lentils and Easiest French Fries
7 years ago: Churros, Nolita-Style Avocado Toast and Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
8 years ago: Black-Bottom Oatmeal Pie and Potatoes with Soft Eggs and Bacon Vinaigrette
9 years ago: Broccoli, Cheddar, and Wild Rice Casserole and Double-Chocolate Banana Bread and Sizzling Chicken Fajitas
10 years ago: My Favorite Buttermilk Biscuits and Coconut Bread
11 years ago: Potato Knish, Two Ways
12 years ago: The Best Baked Spinach
13 years ago: Thick Chew Granola Bars, Arroz Con Leche, and Baked Rigatoni with Tiny Meatballs
14 years ago: Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
15 years ago: Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts, and Feta
16 years ago: Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad
Bean and Vegetable Burritos
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced small
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 fresh jalapeño or habanero pepper, minced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 to 3 teaspoons ground chili powder (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- Kosher salt
- 2 (15.5-ounces) cans black, red, or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh (from 2 ears), canned and drainned, or frozen (no need to thaw)
- 5 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 lime, halved
- 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
- 8 ounces (about 2 cups) coarsely grated monterey jack or pepper jack cheese
- 8 large burrito-sized flour tortillas
- Hot sauce, to taste
Remove from heat and squeeze the juice of half the lime over the mixture, then the second half if you like more. Let cool slightly while you get ready to assemble your burritos.
Assemble your burritos: If your tortillas are unbendy from the package, you can warm them briefly in a dry skillet or for 15 seconds in the microwave to soften them. If they seem dry, I might spritz them lightly with water before warming.
Arrange first tortilla on counter and spoon about 3/4 cup of the filling in the lower third, closest to you. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup jack cheese and 2 tablespoons cotija. (If you like to make some burritos spicier than others, you can shake hot sauce on at this point.) Fold the bottom of the tortilla over the filling, fold in the sides, and roll it up, setting it to cool seam side-down. Repeat with remaining tortillas, filling, and cheese.
To eat right away: Go for it! but I love to brown it in a pan on both sides for some added texture and to ensure the cheese gets melty. Heat a skillet with a thin layer of oil over medium heat and add burritos you’re ready to eat. Cook until browned and crisp on both sides and dig in.
To freeze for later: Wrap burritos individually in foil (best for oven reheating) or plastic and pack in a freezer bag with all air pressed out. Burritos keep in the freezer a few months, or for as long as your freezer allows them to without imparting a “freezery” taste.
To reheat from frozen in an oven: Heat oven to 375°F. Heat foil-wrapped burrito for 40 to 50 minutes. To check for warmth, stick a toothpick or skewer into the center of a burrito and keep it there for 10 seconds. If the toothpick is warm when it’s remove, the burrito is too. If not, give it more time.
To reheat from frozen in a microwave: Unwrap burrito and microwave on a plate for 3 to 5 minutes, turning over once midway. To check for warmth, stick a toothpick or skewer into the center of a burrito and keep it there for 10 seconds. If the toothpick is warm when it’s remove, the burrito is too. If not, give it more time.
Both methods: For that extra crisp once warmed, follow the skillet instructions under “To eat right away” above.
- Chili powders tend to range a lot in heat level so give it a taste before you start to make sure you’re not surprised after adding the first 2 teaspoons.
- Depending on the size of my tortillas, I sometimes end up with 1 to 1.5 cups extra filling. You can use it to make more burritos or just heat it up with extra cheese and put an egg on top, and I did with delight last week.