As you know, I'm not a fan of fast food. I could get on my soapbox, but - oh wait, it's my blog, so I will!
Fast food is absurdly overprocessed. Think over 72 ingredients in a burger, at least 30 in a simple biscuit, and a whopping 63 in hot wings. Harmful ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils, carrageenan, and sodium nitrate seem to be in everything. Sugar, salt, and processed fats are the main flavoring ingredients. Workers are paid horribly. They shamelessly market unhealthy food to children and engage in shady politics, fostering a food system that's destructive to the environment.
There is, however, one fast food I unapologetically love - Chipotle. Calories be damned, all 1,3000 of them, those burritos are mighty delicious! Not only that, Chipotle actually displays pretty decent corporate ethics. Certainly, lunch at Chipotle isn't the same thing as shopping at a local, organic farm, but they show big business can support environmentally sustainable farming and more humane treatment of animals and still thrive. You could even order a fairly nutritious meal, like the salad or burrito bowl on brown rice - although lets be real, if you're at Chipotle, you're getting a burrito with extra cheese and chips.
With a hankering for Mexican, I wanted to create a vegan burrito that felt like Chipotle's (i.e. over-stuffed and cheesy). The first swap was easy - a much smaller, 100% whole wheat tortilla for their massive 300 calorie wrapper, equivalent to 3 slices of bread. I kept the beans and rice, because it's basically essential. For a meat substitute, I used mushrooms, which have the same meaty flavor yet are packed with nutrients like copper, selenium, ergothioneine, and conjugated linoleic acid. Then I threw in some greens, because you can never have enough greens!
But what about the best part, the cheese? Yet again, it's cashews to the rescue! I know I'm probably driving you nuts with my current obsession with cashew cheese, but I just can't stop myself. If you've been following my blog for longer than, oh, a week, then you know cheese is my absolute favorite. Not quite to this level, but close. So if I'm telling you cashew cheese is legit, you can take my word on it!
This version was inspired by a recipe from the queen of vegan blogging, Isa from Post Punk Kitchen. It's cheesy, melty, and just a little bit spicy - everything a good cheese sauce should be. Even after loading up my burritos with cheese sauce, I still had plenty leftover. Paired with tortilla chips, it made a perfect snack for a much deserved movie break.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
- 8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
- 1 bunch chard, stemmed and chopped
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- Cashew Queso (see recipe below)
- 5 100% whole wheat flour tortillas
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add onion, mushrooms and garlic. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chard and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring heat cashew cheese sauce in a medium pot on medium heat until warm. Lower heat to low until ready to use.
- While vegetables are cooking, mix brown rice and beans in a large bowl. Heat a couple minutes in the microwave. Stir in cumin and chili powder.
- Heat tortillas 15-20 seconds in the microwave. Divide the rice and bean mixture among them, top with sauteed vegetables then drizzle with cashew cheese sauce. Wrap and secure with a toothpick if needed. Serve with a side salad and salsa.
- ½ cup cashews soaked in water at least 2 hours
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon miso
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ red onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder (or other mild chili powder)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- In a food processor or blender, add drained, soaked cashews, vegetable broth, and miso. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil on medium high heat in a small pan. Add onion, garlic and red pepper and saute until tender, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add sauteed vegetables to food processor along with cumin, chili powder, nutrition yeast and salt. Blend another minute until smooth, longer if needed.