How many times have you stood in front of the fridge or pantry thinking, “Now what do I eat?” Hoping that a brilliant idea that is edible will materialize in your mind? Many believe that improvising recipes with what you have at home is only available to the privileged few. If you are one of those who think like this, do not get frustrated, you do not have to be an aspiring Masterchef to solve a quick, rich and, in all probability, healthy lunch or dinner.
What if you prepare a burrito? According to the Spanish Gastronomic Larousse, a burrito is a 30 cm diameter Mexican tortilla made with wheat flour that wraps various types of filling: beans, meat, cheese, chili peppers, onions or spices. Although it is true that in the market we can find smaller tortillas -the ones that are normally used to make fajitas or quesadillas-, if we choose to prepare burritos with the original tortillas, we must keep in mind that you have to put chicha in it so that, when rolling the tortilla, everything is well compact.
A peculiarity of the burrito tortilla is that it is made of wheat instead of corn, as it is more flexible and does not break when rolled. If you can find a comprehensive version, which is beginning to exist, much better.
The genius of the burrito is that, like tacos, it can hold just about anything inside. There are juicier, drier, colder, hotter and there is even a fried version, the chimichangas (what a beautiful word). If Los Pekenikes had had a rival group, surely it would have been called Los Chimichangas. Without intending to enter into controversy about whether the proposals that you will read below are close to the real and true versions of the original, unique and primal burrito, here we want you give some ideas for those days when you are not very clear about what to eat, or you have the same time to cook as an executive on Wall Street, that is, between zero and nothing.
A formula for improvising burritos
To improvise a burrito at home with what we have, I propose this formula that you can follow to the letter or create your own:
- Start by looking for a creamy or moist ingredient that provides a bit of juiciness to spread the tortilla: vegetable pate, spreadable fresh cheese, good quality mayonnaise, a sauce of yogurt, avocado or guacamole, baked / cooked vegetables, etc.
- Add a protein food: chicken, fish, eggs, vegetable chicken, tofu, whole legume … Whatever you like the most.
- Something that gives it volume: vegetable leaves (any type of lettuce, red cabbage, spinach, lamb’s lettuce, arugula, etc.), tomato, cucumber, carrot, fruits such as apple or pear, avocado in strips. You can even cheer you up with cooked brown rice or quinoa.
- Something that gives a crunchy touch and / or adds a touch of flavor: many of the ingredients mentioned above fall into this category, so we can add: onion, spices, aromatic herbs, pickles, citrus, nuts or seeds, to name Some.
- Salsa: there is no Mexican food that is worth without sauce. Does it have to be spicy? No, it could be a mild green tomatillo sauce, or a “salsa” in the most primal Mexican sense, made from small chopped vegetables. Do you want to get one but don’t know where to start? Try the chipotle ones, mildly spicy and with a tasty smoky touch. Do you have hot sauces but they are not Mexican? Anyone works, go ahead.
The key to closing the burrito well is to distribute the filling in the middle of the tortilla. Subsequently, fold the sides of the tortilla inward and hold them with the middle and ring fingers. Meanwhile, with your index fingers and thumb, help yourself to roll the burrito by raising the side that is closest to you to finish closing and rolling the burrito. If this description does not help you, here is a video that in 23 seconds explains how to do it.
Ten burrito ideas to empty the pantry
The tortillas must be heated previously and, for that, it is best that you follow the instructions indicated by the manufacturer. Once you have warmed up the wheat tortilla, here are some ideas that may inspire you:
From pulled tofu: grate about 125 g of firm tofu – use a large hole grater – and season with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, nutritional yeast and a teaspoon of soy sauce. Sauté it in the pan with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and when it is well browned, reserve. Distribute in the base half an avocado cut into slices, another tomato and a few red onion rings. Put the pulled tofu on top, decorate with some aromatic herb, such as coriander, basil or parsley and pour a little extra virgin olive oil on top before closing.
Grilled vegetables with anchovies: if you are one of those who practice batch cooking and bake vegetables every Sunday, you can prepare this emergency burrito: spread the wheat tortilla with one or two tablespoons of hummus and distribute about 120 g of roasted vegetables in half the burrito. Add two or three good quality anchovies and a generous handful of chopped spinach. Salt and pepper and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top of the spinach. Roll up the burrito and enjoy.
Vegan: spread the corn tortilla with 1/2 ripe avocado. Sauté 125g of chicken-style plant-based protein flavored with a little hot chili, dried thyme and oregano. Add three or four strips of red pepper, cook for two or three minutes -without being done completely- and remove from the heat. Distribute the vegetable chicken and red pepper in the center of the burrito, add a tablespoon of chopped chives, a handful of chopped lettuce and a tablespoon or two of sweet corn before rolling it up.
Cream cheese and salmon: spread the omelette with cream cheese and add a little freshly ground pepper. Distribute two or three slices of smoked salmon and a few thin rings of red onion. Add a tablespoon of capers, chopped chives to taste and roll. If you have leftover grilled or baked salmon, you can also use them in this preparation.
Prawn cocktail: spread a little pink sauce on the wheat tortilla (you can make this super pink sauce). Cut ½ avocado into strips and put it in the center. Top with five or six peeled prawns and top with a generous handful of julienne lettuce. Add a tablespoon of chopped chives, a little more pink sauce on top and close the burrito.
Winter burrito: take the remains of a roasted sweet potato and spread them on the wheat tortilla. Season with a little salt, pepper and add a well-cooked butcher chicken sausage in the center. Distribute next to the sausage ½ apple cut into strips, a little blue cheese to taste and a handful of chopped spinach. Close and you have dinner ready.
Re-fry beans: take about 120 g of cooked black or red beans and fry them with ¼ chopped onion, a pinch of chili flakes, salt and half a spoon of olive oil. Stir until a coarse paste is made. Put the bean fry in the tortilla, add ½ avocado in strips in the center, a sliced boiled egg, a tablespoon of chopped red onion, another of chopped tomato, another of sweet corn, chopped coriander to taste and a splash of fresh lime.
Our version of the breakfast burrito: spread half an avocado on the tortilla and salt and pepper. Cook 2 thin slices of Iberian bacon in a non-stick pan and place them on absorbent kitchen paper. Make two eggs scrambled in the fat released from the bacon. Put the scrambled eggs in the center, the Iberian bacon and add 1 tablespoon of grated Manchego cheese. Close the burrito and have breakfast.
Burrito pizza: sauté 75 g of chopped mushrooms in a tablespoon of olive oil until all the water has been released. Spread a wheat tortilla with a little tomato sauce and spread grated pizza mozzarella on top. Add two slices of extra cooked ham, the sautéed mushrooms, a few chopped black olives, and a little more grated mozzarella. Close tightly and put the burrito in a hot skillet. Brown the outside over medium heat, so that the mozzarella inside melts.
Grilled Chicken Burrito: Mix one tablespoon of good quality mayonnaise with half a Dijon mustard in a bowl. Spread the tortilla and spread about 125 g of shredded grilled chicken on top. Add some chopped feta cheese, tomato and cucumber to taste and some arugula or lettuce leaves. Close the burrito and you have the food ready.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.