Tacos and Burritos
Tacos and burritos, so tasty, so comforting, so nutritious and so easy. As usual, these are more closely related to a wrap than to their authentic namesakes. But, whatever, we love them and try to have them as often as possible. They are simple to make and very satisfying. Looking back at the photos, they remind me of a kind of super salad with Tabasco, wrapped in a corn or sprouted grain tortilla. More often than not we have tacos and not burritos, this is simply because I am quite particular about my tortillas (wraps). Many brands offer seemingly "natural" tortillas that, on closer inspection, contain a number of ingredients that I would neither use in my cooking nor feed myself and my family.
Luckily, there are some great options out there. We mostly use corn taco tortillas by an English company (this is not a plug for them, I'm only reporting what we use), Cool Chile Company, that makes taco-sized wraps, including those made using a blue variety of corn. Our local natural food store stocks these, but they are also available online. If we travel a little further afield, we can find imported (from the USA) Ezekiel wraps made from a variety of sprouted whole grain ingredients for both burritos and tacos. All of the wraps mentioned freeze well, so we usually have some around. I am not proposing to provide a definitive recipe for tacos/burritos, but will give suggestions for fillings and describe our favourite staple ingredients.
We try to include pulses/ beans in our daily diet, and including them in our wraps is an easy and enjoyable way to do so. Because we consume beans and lentils regularly, I prefer to prepare them myself (also much cheaper and environmentally friendly). This is not difficult, considering that I regularly cook enough for several meals, storing portions in the fridge and freezer. As an alternative or in addition we sometimes include some tempeh or firm or cooked tofu, if we have some knocking around the fridge - but these wraps don't necessarily benefit from them.
Avocados, limes and lemons are also a Green household staple, so guacamole is almost invariably part of the repertoire. We love our vegetables, squashes, cabbages, sprouts, salad leaves and salad fruits (tomatoes, peppers, etc), and our fresh herbs and spices, such that we generally have something on hand to add a raw element, additional texture and nutrition. We particularly enjoy the colours that are provided by a spectrum of the raw veg. Recently we have used broccoli sprouts, shredded raw red cabbage, fresh courgette sticks, shredded raw beetroot, chopped cherry tomatoes, sliced fresh red and yellow peppers, julienned cucumber, fresh chillies, watercress, rocket, sliced white cabbage, and roasted pumpkin, sweet potato, or butternut squash.
Ingredients: (serves 2 adults and 1 toddler)
- 1 cup (1 1/2 can) of beans. We use a variety including pinto, red, black, borlotti and butterbean
- 2 X tbsp bean cooking liquor or water
- 1 X tsp bouillon
- If using canned beans, drain and retain 2 tbs of the liquid. Mix the liquid/water from the cooked beans with the bouillon. Place the beans in a saucepan and pour over the liquid mixture.
- Bring to a simmer over a low heat.
- Remove from heat once hot and begin to mash. We use a potato masher, but a fork or a food processor also work. And that's it, a refried beans substitute.
Sweet potato mash: (serves 2 adults and 1 toddler)
- 1 medium sweet potato (in the photo below we are enjoying a purple sweet potato)
- Sea salt
- Dice the sweet potato into bite-sized chunks and steam for 10 minutes or until soft.
- Mash the steamed sweet potatoes with a generous pinch of sea salt.
When tomatoes are in season we love to make the most of them in their natural and delicious raw state. A tomato salsa is a deserving expression.
Tomato Salsa: (serves 2 adults and 1 toddler)
- 250g heritage tomatoes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 spring onion
- Dice the tomatoes and place in a sieve.
- Sprinkle the salt over the tomatoes and with your hands massage the tomatoes. Use enough force so that a lot of the moisture is removed and the tomatoes are bruised but not enough to smash them.
- Most of the juice from the tomatoes should be gently removed so that your wraps do not become soggy.
Guacamole: (serves 2 adults and 1 toddler)
- 1 large avocado
- Juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp sea salt
- small handful of coriander/cilantro
- Spoon out the avocado flesh into a bowl.
- Add the salt and lime/lemon juice and mix or mash into a chunky or thick mixture with a fork.
- Once desired consistency has been reached, mix in chopped coriander/cilantro.