What Is a Vegan Burrito?

Wanda Marie Thibodeaux

A vegan burrito is a burrito with ingredients that follow the vegan standards of food consumption which prevent a person from eating animal or animal-based products, including items such as eggs and cheese. They are an adaptation of the traditional Mexican burrito, which is a tortilla-wrapped dish that normally includes beef.

Hot paprika can be used to spice up a vegan burrito.
Hot paprika can be used to spice up a vegan burrito.

One of the most popular versions of a vegan burrito has beans as a foundation ingredient. The exact type of bean is up to the chef and the flavor he is trying to create, but black beans and pinto beans are the types vegan burritos usually use. When the vegan burrito has beans as a base, rice is often a complementary ingredient.

Robust Mexican salsas are almost always vegan.
Robust Mexican salsas are almost always vegan.

Aside from beans and rice, other ingredients popular for vegan burritos include chopped tomatoes or salsa, peppers, a leafy green such as romaine lettuce or spinach, garlic, cilantro and onion. Some vegans find cheese and egg substitutes to include, as well. To help the burrito stick together well, some chefs also use avocado or guacamole.

Assorted beans. Black beans, on the bottom left, and pinto beans, on the middle left, are a popular choice for vegan burritos.
Assorted beans. Black beans, on the bottom left, and pinto beans, on the middle left, are a popular choice for vegan burritos.

Once a chef has the foundation ingredients for a vegan burrito, he has to decide on what spices to add, if any. The traditional burrito uses "hot" spices such as cayenne, cumin, red pepper and paprika. These spices were and are readily available in Mexican communities and thus were staples in cooking. This tendency to use hot spices has carried over to vegan burritos.

The preparation of a vegan burrito is very similar to a traditional burrito. Depending on the recipe, the chef first might have to cook certain ingredients such as the beans or rice separately. Once this is done, the chef normally coats a pan lightly with cooking spray or olive oil and sautes all the ingredients except the tortilla together. He then warms the tortilla in another pan or in the oven. When the tortilla is warmed, the chef adds the filling and wraps the tortilla around it.

Recipes for vegan burritos vary considerably and may be suitable for any meal of the day. Recipes for breakfast vegan burritos tend to be simpler, however. The ability to eat a burrito at any time makes these dishes a popular choice for people who want to prepare ingredients they can quickly reheat and use whenever hunger occurs.

Some people use vegan burritos may do so for ethical or dietary reasons. Those with ethical concerns believe that the use of or consumption of animals is morally wrong. They often dislike animal ingredients not only in foods, but in other products as well. People who make vegan burritos for dietary reasons often do so because they have a medical condition that requires weight loss, reduction of animal fats or an increase in the nutrients and vitamins found in vegetables. A third group of people make vegan burritos intermittently simply because they enjoy the recipe.

Vegan burritos consist of folded flour tortillas filled with beans and other vegan-friendly foods.
Vegan burritos consist of folded flour tortillas filled with beans and other vegan-friendly foods.

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