Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Black Bean and Quinoa Burritos

Burritos are one of those foods that everyone loves. They're like comfort food. I remember in my dining hall days of college ordering black bean burritos from the burrito counter, savoring their taste, but feeling incredibly bloated and sick after eating them. I wondered what was in them and cringed at the thought of the unnatural ingredients I was eating. These here burritos, however,are incredibly healthy. These aren't your typical burritos that make you feel guilty after eating them. And, they're incredibly tasty. The lime is really key...my fiance loved how it brought out the flavor of all the ingredients. And the cilantro...well, cilantro is just amazing, so use a lot.
I decided to add quinoa to these burritos. Quinoa is actually the seed of a plant that is related to beets, chard, and spinach. It has become more and more popular recently, and comes in different varieties, including white, red, and black. This particular seed is really special because it is an excellent source of plant based protein. What's even better is that quinoa is a complete protein, providing all nine essential amino acids, which is very rare in the plant world.

Black Bean and Quinoa Burritos
1 cup uncooked quinoa (I used a mix of black and white quinoa because I had both)
1 cup cooked black beans
1 large tomato, diced (or quartered cherry tomatoes)
small red onion, finely diced
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 avocado, diced
1 lime
cilantro (I like cilantro, so I used a lot)
sea salt
Sprouted multigrain or whole wheat tortillas (I used Ezekiel's sprouted grain tortillas. They're amazing.)
Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Start by cooking the quinoa*. While the quinoa is cooking, in a large bowl, add the diced onion, minced garlic, and the juice of one whole lime. Then stir in the diced tomatoes, beans, avocado, cilantro, and a teaspoon of salt. If you're using dried beans, you need this much salt. If you're using canned beans, you can probably scale back on the salt. When the quinoa has cooked, add it to the bowl with the vegetables and mix thoroughly. Fill tortillas with the mixture and shredded cheddar cheese.
Makes about 6 small burritos. The filling keeps very well in the refrigerator for a few days

*When preparing quinoa, it's essential that you rinse it in a strainer with plenty of water before cooking it to  remove it's bitter taste. Then, add  two parts liquid to one part grain and cook by adding it to a saucepan, cooking it until it absorbs the liquid and the seeds' curly "tails" unfurl and the center of the seed is transparent.

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