Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vegetable Burritos

It seems to me that one of the most common misconceptions about healthy eating is that it costs more.  In my experience, this is not so!  In fact, when I was a perpetually broke college student a whole decade ago, I ate very well on a minuscule food budget.  Lots of beans and rice, lentils, yoghurt, applesauce and other simple, wholesome foods were the staples of my diet back then.   

This burrito recipe is a perfect example of how to eat well without spending a lot of money.  All the ingredients are widely available, beans are about the cheapest source of protein there is, and the veggies can be just about anything you have in the fridge.  You can make a huge diversity of variations depending on what you have, what's on sale, or what's in season, including zucchini, asparagus, leeks, eggplant, potatoes, and just about anything else you can think of!  Choose what you like and make the recipe in big batches, because these burritos are great for freezing. 

Vegetable Burritos
makes about 6 burritos

1 pound dried pinto beans
3 T olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

1 T olive oil
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
6 whole wheat tortillas

First, make the beans.  Pick through beans and remove any rocks.  In a pressure cooker, add dried beans and enough water to fill half the pot.  Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to de-pressurize at room temp.  When beans have cooled, slightly, remove from pressure cooker and strain in a colander.  Rinse well.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil.  Once hot, add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Add beans, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Use a wooden spoon to mash the beans as you cook and stir them for about 10 minutes.  If you like a smoother consistency, add about 1/2 cup vegetable stock and puree with a hand blender.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large flat-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil.  Add peppers and onion and fry until onions darken and peppers are soft.  Add kale and season with salt.  Remove from heat and stir frequently until kale is softened by the heat of the other vegetables.

Add a large spoonful (about 2/3 a cup) of beans to each tortilla and spread around, leaving about 1 inch of room around the edge.  Top with a large spoonful of veggies and roll into a burrito.  Serve with salsa, hot sauce, fresh cilantro, avocado slices, or guacamole, if desired.

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