I was making a grocery list the other day and looking for inspiration about what to make for dinner. I tend to look in the freezer for ingredients I have stashed there to give me ideas. This time, there wasn’t much, just some plain black beans and some brown rice. Burritos were the obvious thing to make.
I was going to make some black bean burritos like the ones I get sometimes at Taco Cabana, and then I remembered my old favorite burrito recipe from meat eating days. Years ago, sometime in the early ’90’s I think, I cut a recipe out of a magazine for beef and spinach burritos. It was part of an ad for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. (Remember their TV ads set to the tune of Aaron Copeland’s Hoe Down? Stop thinking of beef whenever you hear Aaron Copeland and think of these burritos instead.)
After we quit eating meat, I started making these with vegetarian burger crumbles, and then I discovered that you can put all kinds of things in them. Any substantial proteins, starches, and veggies that you might find in a Mexican dish will work here – just keep the total to about 3 cups, and then add the spinach, salsa, lime juice, and spices. I’ve used various combinations of leftover taco filling (and reduced the spices), grilled veggies, corn, and tofu, in addition to the classic beans and rice. Random Savory Stuff From My Freezer and Spinach Burritos sounded a little clunky, though, so I renamed them Spinach and Salsa Burritos.
This is my entry in My Legume Love Affair. I’m hosting MLLA here this month, the super-scrumptious legume recipe event run by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen and created by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook.
Spinach and Salsa Burritos
There are two ways to warm these up, in a skillet (or two), and in the oven. The stove-top method is traditional, while using the oven lets you make them ahead of time, and results in crispy tortillas.
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked black beans
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1-1/4 cups chunky-style salsa (I used Pace)
1 tablespoon Mexican chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Juice of 1 lime (about 1-1/2 tablespoons)
6 extra-large flour tortillas
Olive oil (optional – used for the oven-baked version)
Mix together the rice, beans, spinach, salsa, chili powder, cumin, and lime juice.
Stove-top method: Heat the filling in a skillet or a saucepan. Warm the tortillas over low heat in a dry skillet. Divide the filling among the 6 tortillas and roll up, tucking in the ends. Serve right away.
Oven method: Preheat oven to 325 F. Divide filling among the 6 tortillas and roll up, tucking in the ends. Use a pastry brush to coat lightly with olive oil. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden, turning over once. These can be assembled earlier in the day and heated just before dinner.
These burritos freeze well, either before or after baking. Thaw and bake as with the oven method, or heat in the microwave (from frozen, they take about 2-1/2 minutes.)
Serves 4 to 6.