“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
– Albert Einstein
Happy Earth Day!
It’s not a coincidence that this post coincides with my monthly contribution and partnership with Earthbound Farm (click here or here for more information.) As you probably already know, Earthbound Farm is a great company: great products, great customer service, and a huge supporter of creating and maintaining a clean environment. April (Earth Month) is a special month for this company….did you know that they are actually celebrating Earth Month by surprising customers all over the country by paying for their entire carts of groceries through the Every Cart Counts program? (Probably one of the coolest things a company has ever done…can you imagine how awesome that would be?) And don’t worry if you don’t live in an area with a participating grocery store, you can still enter the contest virtually! (click the link for more details.)
Since I eat (mostly) a plant-based diet, I wanted to feature a meat-free recipe this month that won’t have you “missing the meat.” I’ve loved the mainstreaming of Meatless Mondays throughout this country, and it seems like almost everyone is catching on: grocery stores, restaurants, even some school lunch programs!
Although I had many reasons for going vegetarian several years ago, as I learned more about the environmental benefits about going meat-free, I felt reassured that I had made the best personal decision for me at that time. I will eat meat from time to time now (thanks to a lovely trip to Argentina back in November when I decided to embrace everything about the culture..which included a steak and lots of wine. And, no, I didn’t get sick, thankfully.) If you’re looking for a way to help the environment, going meatless one day a week is a huge and incredible start-the environmental impact of eating lower on the food chain is staggering. No, I can’t afford a new Prius or hybrid car. But I can choose to eat from the bottom up, and not only is it good for the environment, but it’s good for me, too (and eating organic is especially good for me-I’ll pass on the pesticides and fertilizer chemicals, thank you). I’ve included some articles and links with some pretty impressive statistics at the bottom of this post if you would like more information.
I still get asked from time to time when people realize I prefer not to eat meat “Aren’t you always hungry?” or “So, what do you eat…salads?” Ummm, no and no. I don’t need meat in my belly to feel full or satisfied. In fact, I feel better if I eat a good mix of carbohydrates (fruits/veggies) with lean protein (eggs, beans, etc.) My body is a machine and actually seems to run better with that sort of fuel.
And I’m a fan of “everything in moderation”. But I’m also more of a believer in being fully educated in where my food (my fuel-the stuff that will eventually make up the cells of my brain and body) comes from. Knowing that a meal has a story (not just an end point that results in my satiation) is incredibly powerful stuff. And also knowing that my personal diet decisions can either negatively or positively impact the global population as a whole is liberating, in a way. It’s another way to “pay it forward” in a way. I can do my part, and this is how I personally do it.
So, for this post, I decided to make some giant, (gargantuan, actually) roasted burritos. Baked with some spicy, homemade enchilada sauce, these will definitely fill you up. And here’s a tip: use whatever veggies you have on hand (and use any leftovers as a side dish later on). I basically cleaned out my crisper here: a couple carrots, some Earthbound Farm broccolette, Earthbound Farm spinach, a random acorn squash (or use thawed Earthbound Farm butternut squash for greater convenience), and onions. Mash up some sweet potato or throw in some bell peppers. Don’t skip on the sauce, though-it adds a whole dimension of extra flavor here. If you are using a canned enchilada sauce and you like things spicy, feel free to add in some additional spices when you roast the vegetables. And as far as beans go, I used some homemade refried beans as well as a can of black beans, but you can play around with your options. Add some rice, too, if you like.
Roasted Vegetable Burritos
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped in wedges
1 medium yellow summer squash
One 8-ounce package of Earthbound Farm broccolette
1 small acorn squash, peeled and cubed, about 2 cups (or 2 cups Earthbound Farm butternut squash, thawed)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 and 1/2 cups refried beans (check out this super simple recipe-it’s my favorite way to make beans-and it’s cheap)
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
Eight 10-inch flour tortillas
2-3 cups Earthbound Farm Spinach
One avocado, sliced
2 cups enchilada sauce (*I could only find dried chile guajillo and chile chipotle morita, so I used those in this recipe. The sauce was spicy but not too bad.)
For garnish: cheese (optional-I used a mixture of queso fresco and a cheddar/jack mix), Greek yogurt, black olives, cilantro, etc.
1. For the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a roasting pan, lightly drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil and toss to throughly coat. *You can throw in additional seasonings here if you are skipping a spicy sauce.
2. Roast the vegetables until softened and the edges of the onions are lightly browned, about 45 minutes or so. Check the vegetables freqently to make sure that they are not burning. I stirred mine about halfway through the roasting time.
3. Once the vegetables have roasted, let them cool slightly before assembling the burritos.
4. For the burritos: Spray a clean roasting pan with cooking spray. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the pan and spread to evenly coat.
5. To assemble: Place about 1-2 tablespoons of refried beans down the center of each burrito (adjusting to your own preferences here). Layer the beans with a healthy topping of the roasted vegetables, followed by 1-2 tablespoons black beans, a handful of spinach, and a few pieces of avocado. *You can throw some cheese in here-in fact, I recommend it. Tightly roll up each burrito, and place it seam-side down in the roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining burritos.
6. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the prepared burritos. Top with cheese and a few black olives, if desired.
7. Bake the burritos until heated through and the cheese (if using) is melted on top, about 20-30 minutes (watch carefully.)
8. Garnish with additional black olives, cilantro, cheese, etc. Enjoy.
Source: A Curvy Carrot original.
From Vegetarian Times.