Low Cals, No Methane, Only a Few Possible Problems

So addicting, this is probably burrito #3

I consider myself a “part time vegetarian.” This may sound like a hoax, like a new vegetarian who just can’t put the steak down, like an identifier not worth mentioning. Really, though, it’s more than that. I try to cut back on how much meat I eat not because I think eating animals is wrong per se, but because I find the way the food industry treats its slaughter animals to be, well, certainly lacking fundamental ethics and violating basic boundaries of animal physiology.

Consequently, I am also a college student, which, when translated plainly, means dirt broke. Meat is expensive. Meanwhile, there are two high-energy staples that never seem to get more expensive: rice and beans. Though rice and beans is the typical low-budget meal, I feel proud to at least live beyond the stereotypical ramen and boxed macaroni and cheese that college students seem to be famous for these days. Hey, at least I can throw some stuff in a pan, right? It may not seem all that glamorous, but rice and beans can be a truly adventurous meal if one puts their mind to it. Plus, there are endless variations; I myself have prepared rice and beans in a number of ways, and though I am an expert at budgeting for groceries, my partner and I still eat this once a week.

There are a couple things that can go wrong: 1) Your tortilla can rip. 2) All the stuffing can fall out of the bottom, even if the tortilla is intact. To prevent a burrito catastrophe, make sure you warm your tortillas in the microwave on a plate, covered by a moist paper towel, for about 20-30 seconds. Once they are steaming, spoon in filling until there is about a 2 inch gap at the top and bottom of the tortilla, and 3 inch gaps on the sides. Filling in this way will allow you to fold up the top and bottom, then wrap the sides neatly so the filling stays in! If you limit your stuffing, you limit how  much you’re eating and also ensuring that you’ll actually eat all of the filling while it is still in the tortilla. Have forks for backup anyway.

Vegetarian Rice and Bean Burritos
flour tortillas (can be white, wheat, whatever you prefer)
1 and 1/2 cups rice
3 cups water
15 ounces of beans (black, kidney, whatever you prefer)
about 10 ounces of corn
about 1/4 to 1/2 green pepper, diced
about 1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. canola oil
optional:
jalapeno rings (whatever your mouth can handle – I usually add about 12 rings)
non-fat plain yogurt (this is a healthy sour cream substitute – you’ll never know the difference!)
shredded cheddar cheese
salsa
hot sauce
lettuce

-Add 3 cups of water to large saucepan and heat on high to a boil (this is a good time to dice your veggies). Add rice and bring down to a simmer, cooking until the rice is moist but not watery, approximately 15-20 minutes.
-While the rice cooks, warm canola oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Saute garlic, onion, and green pepper for about 2-3 minutes.
-Add beans, corn, jalapenos, and chili powder, cooking on medium heat for another 3-5 minutes. Test the beans to be sure they are soft, particularly if you have rehydrated them (I recommend canned for that reason).
-Add rice and stir in well, being sure to fully coat the rice, while still over the flame. After fully incorporated, remove from heat.
-Warm the tortillas in the microwave under a moist paper towel for 20-30 seconds or until steamy.
-Spoon about a 1/4 cup of the mix onto your tortilla (following the suggested guidelines above the recipe for the “perfect” amount), and add shredded cheese, lettuce, hot sauce, salsa, and yogurt to taste. Tip: Don’t overload your burrito!

This recipe is really easy to manipulate to your tastes. If you’re trying to lower your calorie intake, try wheat tortillas and low fat cheese. Another suggestion is to make the rice and bean recipe and eat with polenta instead – it can be a flavorful tortilla alternative if prepared as I have in my Valentine’s Day recipe, and the rice and beans can be spooned right on top! This recipe is also easy to make vegan by forgetting the cheese and yogurt, selecting tortillas you can be sure have no milk or egg products, or subbing the polenta in if your tortilla search turns up fruitless (hahaha). For a healthy but meaty alternative, add some ground turkey to the mix and decrease the rice by a 1/4 or 1/2 cup.

Keep in mind: this recipe should make 12-15 servings!

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7 thoughts on “Low Cals, No Methane, Only a Few Possible Problems

  1. Note to self: do not read Whitney’s blog right after working out when you are starving! I really should have known better 😉

    This is a delicious recipe and I LOVE rice and beans! Not to mention that they are rather healthy staples. Not sure if you know this or not, but black beans are one of the better choices because they’re packed full of protein. Most beans have a high amount of protein, but I’ve learned that black are like super-beans or something. Buy them canned, drain ’em, rinse ’em and toss ’em in!

    Another quick tid-bit: I noticed you said to choose low fat cheese if you’re trying to lower your calorie intake. While this is absolutely true, beware of low fat cheese — the sodium level is ridiculously high! So I guess you just have to choose which one is your bigger enemy that meal.

    Anyway, I think this is fabulous. I’m totally having this burrito sometime this week, and I’m excited to try the yogurt-for-sour-cream tip — I never would’ve thought of that!

  2. I absolutely HATE the added sodium in low fat cheese, and everything else for that matter! I buy regular cheese religiously simply because I prefer it and don’t mind a little fat, but you bring up a good point – often, there is a toss-up between flavor and fat, and sodium. Also, I prefer black beans, but also love kidney beans! The black beans are definitely a must for vegetarians so they don’t miss out on the protein they really need.

    I’m so glad you want to try! The burritos are so easy and delicious, and I really must say – I will eat 2 or 3 of these in quick succession like someone who hasn’t eaten all week!

  3. You two are slaying me with what’s-my-favorite-bean and The Great Cheese Debate. I’m with the “real cheese” and black bean vote, but also love red kidney beans and cannellini beans (white beans). And now I, too, am starving.

  4. Mmmmmm cannellini beans – I almost forgot about them! I’m glad you decided to throw in your two cents for the “what’s-my-favorite-bean” discussion, Donna! 🙂

  5. I am odd when it comes to my burritos. I like rice and cheese, and not much else. No meat, no beans. I also can not handle spicy foods, so hot sauce and taco sauce are conveniently left off my shopping list, much to my boyfriends disappointment. We eat tacos and homemade quesadillas more often than burritos. I am not a very big bean eater, so if I had to say which bean was my favorite, I would say the green bean fresh my my grandfathers garden. Yum!

  6. My parents grow fresh green beans, and they really are just the bomb. I eat them off the vine because I can’t wait until I get them in the house to snack…

  7. Oh I loved this post and will most definitely have to try it soon! I miss Mexican food. I’ve only ever made tacos and quesadillas with chicken but my world has just been opened with rice and beans  As for the favorite bean discussion, I’m scared of them. I tend to stay away from them because somewhere along the line I have convinced myself that I don’t like them…even without trying them. But this recipe and photo definitely make me want to give this one a shot. I’ll let you know how it works out with the beans haha

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