What, you may ask, would go into vegetarian burrito recipes? Well, up until recently, I really didn’t know the difference between a taco and a burrito.
Perhaps a taco was made with a crunchy corn tortilla and a burrito was made with a soft flour tortilla. Or maybe tacos had certain kinds of filling and burritos had other kinds of filling.
Recently, I’ve finally found out the real difference. Tacos are more of a snack item and tend to be smaller. Burritos are considered to be more substantial. Burritos use a larger tortilla to hold the ingredients, and it can actually be a meal. I discovered that I was at least partially right, because tacos are made with either soft or hard (crunchy) corn tortillas, where flour tortillas, as a rule, are used for burritos.
Burritos are, as I said a bit ago, more substantial and are assembled in the larger flour tortillas. So you have a wide option of what you can insert into your “meal in a hand.” As a matter of fact, all of your food groups can be present in what’s qualified as a burrito.
As I mentioned before, the flour tortilla is the proper tortilla for a burrito, as it’s more sturdy and will hold its fillings better than a corn tortilla. Of course, the flour in this tortilla makes it a carb; however, you can tuck other carbs into your burrito, such as corn or quinoa (pronounced keen-WAH). Quinoa, a grain that originated in Peru and Bolivia, also has a good deal of protein.
People traditionally use pinto beans to make refried beans, which are usually in a burrito. You could also use refried beans made with other legumes, such as black beans and even cannellini beans. Refried beans often contain lard (a meat-based ingredient), and you need to watch for it in the ingredients. Because of this, I usually look for “vegetarian” refried beans, or “fat free,” as both of these categories safely eliminate any presence of lard. Of course, if you’re feeling like taking on a challenge, you can make your own refried beans–this will ensure you know without a doubt that any form of meat is absent from them.
Of course, you can also use “plain” legumes in your burrito, instead of the refried version. So go ahead and warm up that can of black beans or pinto beans, as these are perfectly acceptable.
In a breakfast burrito, you’ll find some form of eggs, such as fried or scrambled. You could also hard-boil some eggs and chop them up for your burrito.
Some people like to insert tofu into their burritos. Tofu tends to take on the flavors that surround it, which is a bonus.
Of course, the ever present cheese is another form of protein–along with dairy–for your burrito. You can include thin slices or, instead of using pre-shredded, you can shred your own for the best flavor. It’s so easy to shred your own cheese, and it takes very little time, too.
You can really get imaginative here!
Shredded lettuce is one choice; although iceberg lettuce is most commonly seen in burritos, you can utilize so many other types, such as green or red leaf lettuce, butter (also known as Boston) lettuce, endive, Romaine, loose-leaf lettuce, and Bibb lettuce. I like using alternatives to iceberg lettuce because the nutrition content is so much richer, not to mention that the flavors are so interesting!
Another category of vegetable you may be interested in using is the mushroom. I typically use the familiar button mushroom, but feel free to play around with different kinds! You can either leave your mushrooms raw or you can saute them ahead of time. Sweet potatoes are an interesting choice. Another is a chopped onion or scallions (also known as green onions)–once again, either raw or cooked. Chopped cilantro would be a good seasoning, as would chopped chiles or jalapeno peppers.
You’ll be reading about items that are traditionally known as vegetables, nevertheless, they are actually legitimate fruits.
Chopped tomatoes are good to include in your burritos. Avocados, either chopped or made into guacamole, are a wonderful choice as well. In addition, thinly sliced zucchini and bell peppers of any color, either raw or sauteed, could be added. You may want to roast your bell peppers in the oven for a wonderful burst of flavor!
Assembling Your Burritos
Here is where the fun is!
You first warm your flour tortilla by placing it on the surface of a hot frying pan for about 30 seconds per side. You may put a small amount of vegetable oil on the frying pan’s surface if you’d like. Your tortilla will be more flexible if it’s warmed.
You don’t want to over pack your burrito; this is important. It helps to keep in mind that your flour burrito needs to enclose all your ingredients. Keep all of your items at a minimum, because you want to include all your food groups. As you put your ingredients on the tortilla, there should be about an inch of empty space on the right and the left. There should be no more than a couple of inches from top to bottom.
After setting the ingredients, fold the tortillas in from each side to enclose them. The next step is to fold up the tortilla from the bottom, and then you roll the burrito up, making sure the sides and bottom are firmly tucked inwards.
As you can see, burritos can be a wonderful convenience food, not to mention quite a bit of fun! You can create a “burrito bar,” kind of like a buffet, and make this a family affair. Prepare your choice of ingredients and put them into bowls or onto platters, and then heat up some tortillas. Wrap the tortillas in a towel to keep them warm. Your older children can choose their own items, of course, and probably fold their own tortillas, and you can help your younger ones to put theirs together.
Do you have any ideas for burritos? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below.