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NADINE FOWNES' COMFORT FOOD: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito Bake

By switching out some of the usual fillings for healthier options, you can create a tasty batch of burritos that still offers lots of yummy flavour, but are actually quite good for you, too.
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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito Bake
Burritos get a healthy makeover in this recipe for Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito Bake. (NADINE FOWNES / Local Xpress)

Healthy isn’t the first word that springs to mind when you think of burritos.

Usually stuffed with spicy meat and dripping with molten cheese, typical burritos can be pretty calorie-dense and not that great for your heart or your waistline (even though they admittedly taste pretty darned delicious with an ice-cold bottle of beer). 

By switching out some of the usual fillings for healthier options, you can create a tasty batch of burritos that still offers lots of yummy flavour, but are actually quite good for you, too. But don’t worry, this version still pairs very nicely with your favourite hoppy beverage. 

This recipe replaces the meat with roasted sweet potato, black beans, quinoa and red pepper. There’s a small amount of cheese, but it’s more for flavour than ooze. I don’t think you’ll feel one bit deprived since there are so many other things going on in this dish to keep your tastebuds tantalized.

A fantastic variation on this dish is to add a small amount of cooked, crumbled hot Italian sausage (about 250 ml / 1 cup is sufficient) to the filling and proceed with the rest of the recipe as usual.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito Bake

Serves four

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 7 ml (1 heaping tsp) ground cumin
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) smoked paprika 
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 250 ml (1 cup) leftover cooked quinoa
  • 250 ml (1 cup) grated old cheddar cheese
  • 250 ml (1 cup) salsa
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 small whole grain tortillas

To garnish:

  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • sour cream
  • avocado
  • lime wedges
  • hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375F. 

Peel and cube sweet potato. Toss with 15 ml (1 tbsp) of olive oil, spread on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and roast until golden and tender, about 20-25 minutes, turning now and then so the sweet potato can caramelize on all sides.

While sweet potato is roasting, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add another 15 ml (1 tbsp) of olive oil to the pan and saute the onion, garlic and diced pepper until fragrant. Add the cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and stir. Cook just until the vegetables are tender-crisp, but not limp. Stir in the black beans, roasted sweet potato, half the salsa and half the cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if it needs it. If you like things spicy, add a few shakes of your favourite hot sauce.

Place the tortillas on a work surface next to an oblong baking dish that has been greased with a bit of oil. Place a few spoonfuls of filling in the centre of each tortilla, roll up tightly and place in the baking dish. Continue until you have filled all eight tortillas and used up all the filling. If you have a small amount of filling leftover, scatter it over the burritos. 

Pour remaining salsa over the burritos and scatter the cheese over the top.

Lower oven temperature to 350F and slide the dish into the oven to bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and hot. 

Remove from the oven and serve right away, garnished with a small dollop of sour cream, avocado, cilantro and lime.



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