Smoky Black Bean and Cheddar Burritos with Baby Spinach

We made this one for lunch yesterday, another winner from Fine Cooking.  It seems that vegetarians eat a lot of beans, and for good reason because in addition to being the musical fruit, they are a quality source of both protein and carbohydrates.

There are plenty of other good ingredients in this recipe.  Lime juice (very alkaline), spinach (see Popeye again), tomatoes, chipotle in adobo, pepitas, and more.  Wait… chipotle in adobo, pepitas?  Yes, believe it or not, there’s more to Mexican food than the 7-Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme.  Chipotle in adobo is smoked jalapeno with a smoky red sauce, sold in a small can.  It has a really distinct flavor and it’s not that uncommon; only a few times have I not been able to find it in a grocery store.  You won’t use the whole can, but it keeps in the refrigerator for months in an airtight container.  You can even puree the peppers with the adobo to create a really good sauce, which you could smuggle into Taco Bell to make an 8-Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme.  That other crazy foreign word I used was “pepita,” which is just the Spanish name for a shelled pumpkin seed.  I got these in the bulk section of a natural foods store (David’s Natural Market); I don’t think a lot of regular grocery stores have them.  But they’re an optional ingredient, so if you can’t get them don’t worry.  Here’s what ours looked like after they were toasted:

[Pepitas photo]

We used a fake version of cheddar made from rice shreds, since we’re still not eating dairy.  I know this sounds like the world’s worst food, but apart from being a little drier than regular cheese it is almost indistinguishable.  We didn’t do the sour cream, and as usual we used the canola/olive oil blend instead of just olive oil, for more omega-3‘s  (the link this time takes you to a blog by a nutrition expert rather than the wikipedia page I normally link to).  The last thing of note is that we actually used the white-flour tortillas, something we almost never do, because we couldn’t find whole-wheat burrito-size tortillas in the store.

We took this picture in case the rolling-up process were to go horribly wrong:

[Burrito overhead photo]

Here’s how it looked for about 30 seconds before we ravaged it:

[Plated burrito photo]

And here’s proof that I did in fact ravage it:

[Matt eating photo]

We ravaged it because this meal was delicious.  And nutritious.  And filling.  It tasted like it does when you eat at Chipotle, only without the accompanying food-coma that usually follows.  I can’t wait to eat the leftovers.  This is a great example of a vegetarian meal where it doesn’t seem like meat would add anything at all to the flavor.  You won’t miss it.  The only thing I will change next time is to use more chipotle for a little extra kick.  Erin actually suggested this, and she definitely doesn’t like stuff too spicy.  We give this 4 cows out of 5.  And it was so inexpensive, as I’m finding that a lot of vegetarian meals are.  Highly recommended.

If you didn’t read this blog over the weekend, you might notice that the right side of the main page looks different.  I’m still experimenting with different widgets, so if you have any suggestions or feedback please leave a comment.  In the “Links” section I put a link to a Insomniac Chef, a friend’s blog about vegan cooking.  His food looks really good, professional even.  Another interesting blog I found is Almost Vegetarian, which has a nice format and lots of recipes that I think readers of this blog who aren’t total vegetarians will like.



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  1. Bakesale says:

    This whole blog is really interesting and not at all intimidating for those of us who think the world is a better place with a caffeinated version of ourselves in it. I have been slowly getting more into raw foods for breakfast and lunch and then whatever for dinner (depending on the kind of day I had at work) and I have felt a lot better. I also notice how much worse I feel now when I get a pizza at the hospital cafeteria. There is definitely something to this – not that you need me to tell you that. It definitely brings truth to “You are what you eat.”
    By the way, I love the garnishes in the pics of the finished products. Very nice:)

  2. I really like your pictures! The food looks so good!

  3. Mmmmmm… that looks so good! I have been seriously considering dropping most of the meat out of my diet, but I have been concerned about keeping the protein levels up.

    I am putting this on a recipe card. 😀

  4. We cooked these tonight for dinner and were very impressed. Our normal meal is chicken tacos, which taste good but leave me feeling like crap the rest of the night. We both thought the bean burritos tasted much better without the heavy feeling the chicken counterpart leaves behind. 4 out of 5 cows for us too!

  5. christine says:

    mmm This was the post that started my current obsession with chipotle in all its forms! I made these tonight for Cinco de Mayo and loved them. The toasted pepitas were out of this world- I couldn’t keep my hand outta the dish!

    I made a couple of substitutions, and I know I will use this recipe again because it’s a good framework that takes easily to subbing. I used roman beans, jack cheese, and added some pineapple chunks and red onion.

    Mashing half the beans was genius, much more connected as a meal.

    Delicious with my Trop50 margarita! 4.5/5 vacas for me!

  6. These look delicious and you do such a nice job of writing your posts and including photos to guide one through the recipe. One note, though: the tortillas you used contain lard … a meat product made from pork fat. Even though you noted that you try to use the whole wheat flour tortillas, those contain lard, too. I would probably use corn tortillas or lavash for this.

    VegNotes’s last blog post..Survey: Diversity in our Cause

    • Thanks for the heads up. I’ll have to be careful of that in the future. I bought Nature’s Promise Whole Wheat Tortillas when I made them a second time, and as far as I can tell from the ingredient list, there’s no lard in them. Is there some other name that lard can be disguised under?

    • Actually, I just realized it says they’re vegan on the package. Guess I’ll have to check this for now on whenever I get a bean burrito as a restaurant. Thanks again for the tip, who knows how much lard I would have eaten!

  7. I love chipotles. That wraps sounds awesome!

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