Photos by Lindsey Johnson
Whenever I make or eat burritos, I always get “Rico Suave” stuck in my head, with the word “burrito” substituted for “rico.” I’m sharing this here because maybe then you’ll also get “Burrito Suave” stuck in your head when you have burritos and that will make me feel a little less crazy. Or maybe it will make all of us feel crazy. Whatever!
Back to the topic at hand: freezer burritos. One of the best things you can do to take control of how you eat is to prepare your own food at home. When you make your own meals, you know what’s in everything. It’s also a lot cheaper than getting takeout — the caveat is that making your own meals isn’t as convenient. Maybe you have time to cook on a Sunday night, but weeknights after work, it’s so much easier to cave in and grab a burrito from Chipotle.
Enter: freezer cooking. We’ve written about it before and yes, we even have an ebook all about vegetarian freezer cooking too! But that’s because freezer cooking works and I believe it’s one of the best ways to save time and money on meals. And if you’re new to freezer cooking, burritos are one of the easiest meals you can make. You don’t need any special equipment for freezing them, just plastic wrap, foil and a freezer bag or large freezer-safe plastic container.
This particular recipe for Garden Veggie Freezer Burritos comes from The Oh My Veggies Guide to Freezer Cooking, but the best thing about freezer burritos is that they’re highly customizable. Just about anything you like in your burrito will freeze well — seriously! I’ve made them with just about everything. The only thing you want to avoid are toppings that could cause the tortilla to get soggy — a chunky salsa would work, for example, but a thinner, restaurant-style salsa is probably best for serving on the side. This recipe makes 4 burritos, but it can be doubled or you can make a variety of different burritos at the same time with mix-and-match toppings.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small zucchini quartered lengthwise and sliced
- 1 small red orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 small tomato diced
- 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
- Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto
- 2 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 extra-large burrito-sized tortillas
- 1/2 cup cooked black beans
- 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack or pepper jack cheese
Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 small jalapeño pepper stemmed, seeded and cut into large chunks
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the zucchini and bell pepper and cook until softened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the tomato and corn and continue to cook 2 minutes more. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the pesto.
- Combine the brown rice and lime juice in a small bowl. Season the rice with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the rice mixture onto each of the four tortillas. Top the rice with black beans, then the veggies, and finally the cheese. Wrap the burritos.
- Wrap each burrito in a layer of plastic wrap, then in foil. Freeze the burritos in a large freezer bag.
- To microwave the burritos, remove the foil and plastic wrap and loosely wrap the burritos in a paper towel. Heat them one at a time for about a minute to a minute and a half, then flip them over and microwave them for another minute, or until the center feels warm. Let them sit for 2 minutes before eating. To heat in an oven, wrap the burritos in foil (discard the plastic wrap) and heat them at 400ºF for about 40 minutes, or until warmed through.
To prepare the pesto:
- Combine all of the ingredients through the peppers in a food processor and process until everything is finely chopped, but not completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.