Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rice Paper Black Bean Burrito Failure

I thought of something that I thought would be revolutionary on the weekend and tried it out on Monday night. Like I have said before, I like Mexican food, including burritos. While tasty and can be healthy when packed with lots of veggies, the tortilla can ruin it. The ones you can buy in the grocery stores are not very tasty and are never as good as the one's in the restaurants.

To find a lower carbohydrate option I thought of rice paper. Ideally it would still hold all the contents together and could be baked. In case you missed the title of this post, this idea was a fail. This was a fail because not only had I never made burritos, I had never worked with rice paper, and therefore, had never used rice paper to make burritos. I will go through how I went about this and discuss some possible reasons for the failure.

I will admit that I was in a bit of a rush when making these. I made the filling using a similar recipe to the Black Bean Tomato Sauce I have made in the past.

Black Bean Burrito Filling

1 tbsp olive oil
2.5 cups cooked black beans
1/2 large onion
2 bell peppers
3 cups diced tomatoes
1/4 jalepeno (this was being timid)
1/2 can tomato paste
chili powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste

I highly recommend chopping the veggies up very finely, and slightly smashing up the beans. I didn't do this, but I think this gives it a better texture for a burrito filling.

I heated the olive oil on medium-high. The onions were sauteed for 3-5 minutes and then I added the peppers. After 5 minutes I added the beans, tomatoes, jalapeno, tomato paste and some chili powder. I made sure it was stirred well and allowed it to simmer on medium-low for about 10 minutes before tasting it for spice. From here you can add as much chili powder as you like. Then allow the mixture to simmer until the desired thickness is reached. You do not want much liquid left. You could even reduce the amount of tomatoes and add other veggies instead, be creative!

Like I said, these chunks are just too big (that is what happens when you are in a rush).

Another reason to make burritos is to have another reason to make and eat guacamole (as if I need another reason). I had half an avocado so I whipped up a 2 serving portion of guacamole.


1/2 large avocado chopped
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup diced onion
~1 tbsp lemon juice

Mash it all together or leave it chunky, its up to you!

Now I had the two stars of the burrito show. It was time to attempt to wrap them up in rice paper. To use rice paper, you soak it in warm water for about 5 seconds. I scooped 1/2 cup of the burrito mixture, 1/2 the guacamole and 1 tbsp cottage cheese into the center of the paper. I then folded each side up to form a sac. It held farely well together.

Unfolded rice paper (no guacamole in this one, how unfortunate):

After wrapping, before baking:

I should have saved some sauce to put on top but I forgot :( . I then baked the sacs (I refuse to call them burritos at this point), for 10 minutes at 400 F. The rice paper stiffened a bit and stuck to any rice paper that was close to it, resulting in a big mess! My make-shift burrito project was a fail.

I am wondering if little mini burritos would have been better and then not bake them after wrapping. The rice paper wasn't designed to be eaten with a knife and a fork so making them smaller, to eat with one's hands, may have been a better approach.

Does anyone have any creative burrito-like ideas?

I just though of one now! Burrito potato skins! The skin of the potato is the best part anyway! Into a hollowed out potato, add the burrito filling plus any other toppings (guac and cheese obvi) and bake to melt it all together. I think this would be fabulous; a much healthier alternative to tortillas and a more successful alternative to rice paper.

Now what am I going to do with all this rice paper?!?

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