Vegan breakfast burritos with plenty of protein? Yes please! Nopalitos, black beans, thin-sliced new potatoes, avocado, red chile sauce, and yes, crumbled tofu all wrapped up in a soft flour tortilla… High Protein Vegan Breakfast Burritos are loaded with the flavors of the southwest, and full of nutrients! What a great way to kick start your day!
How we prepare our food, how we consume our food really makes a difference in how our food satisfies us and shapes the role we give food in our lives. Is it something we stuff in to satisfy an urge or something we savor to feed us physically and sustain us spiritually?
~~ Mary DeTurris Poust,
No, I am not a vegan (or even a vegetarian)… I am, however, committed to healthy and mindful eating. As a foodie, I am ever looking for new ways to enjoy food; as an environmentalist that attempts to “walk softly” on planet Earth, I include vegetarian dishes in our diet frequently.
We quite often use extra firm tofu in our meals, and I have found that it crumbles up quite well in a breakfast “scramble.” When combined with beans, this protein-rich vegan breakfast burrito is a great way to start the day.
Nopal. Nopales. Nopalitos. Say what? Having lived all but 5 years of my 57 years in border states (California, New Mexico, and Texas), nopalitos have always been familiar to me. As a child, my Dad made nopalitos burritos for us after church on Sunday evenings when we needed something quick, healthy, and delicious (and cheap 🙂 ).
After I married, I kind of forgot about them, until we lived in New Mexico. They aren’t part of the New Mexico “chile culture,” but they are definitely available. When we moved to McAllen in 2015, and fresh, already prepped and diced nopales became available year-round at all the markets, I decided it was time to start “playing” with them. (You are aware that I love to play with food?)
So, let me explain the names: Nopal is the pad of the opuntia cacti (aka prickly pear cactus). Nopales is the name given to the nopal after the spines are removed and they are sliced or diced.
They are sold beautifully fresh in our local markets in small bags. Nopales are also available both pickled and non-pickled, packed in water and canned or bottled. Less commonly, you may find them dried. Nopalitos is the name given to a dish that features nopales.
So, what do they taste like? A little bit like a tart green bean. When raw, they produce a mucilaginous liquid that can be off-putting. However, if properly cooked, that liquid disappears, leaving just the crisp-tender nutrient-rich vegetable. Nopales are loaded with vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. Don’t you think it’s time to give them a try?
How to Use Nopales
One of my favorite #MeatlessMonday recipes is my Nopalitos and Red Chile Rice Bowls. Not enough time for that? You can sauté them until the liquid is evaporated and they’re starting to brown, and combine them with eggs for a simple breakfast scramble.
Making High Protein Vegan Breakfast Burritos
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- new potatoes
- red chile sauce
- black beans
- extra-firm tofu
Mis en place is important with this dish. Get everything prepped ahead of cooking. Trust me on this.
Start by sautéing the thin-sliced potatoes in a bit of coconut oil. While they cook, start sautéing the nopales in a bit of coconut oil in a separate pan.
When the nopales give up all of their liquid, and they’ve begun to brown, scrape them to one side, and add the tofu chunk. Using a potato masher, apply gentle pressure until the texture resembles ground meat.
Add the tender potatoes and the black beans to the tofu and nopales. Season with garlic and cumin, salt and pepper. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes to let the flavors combine. Warm the red chile sauce (or salsa) and tortillas. Wrap the sautéed mixture along with the avocado, warmed red chile sauce (or salsa), and cilantro in a warm tortilla. Enjoy!
Tips, Tricks, & Substitutions
- Green chile is a great sub for the nopales if you can’t get them or don’t like them.
- Use your favorite beans in place of black beans if you prefer.
- Don’t want the extra carbs or calories? Serve as a scramble rather than wrapped in a tortilla. One large tortilla has about 200 calories and 35 grams of carbohydrates.
- If you don’t adhere to a vegan diet, scrambled eggs are a perfect substitution for the tofu, and will keep it vegetarian. You might like cheese too!
- Instead of the red chile sauce, substitute your favorite salsa.
- A mandoline is great for getting ultra-thin slices of potatoes. Thin slices will be tender more quickly.
- A potato masher makes quick work of breaking apart the tofu.
Have you heard of or seen nopales in your local market? The fresh ones are awesome, and the jarred ones are pretty good too! I do hope you’ll give this healthy breakfast a try…
- 1 cup new potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 cup nopales (fresh if possible), diced or sliced
- 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
- 12 ounces extra firm tofu, (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 avocado, cubed
- fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup NM red chile sauce, or your favorite salsa
- 4 burrito sized tortillos
- Get everything prepped ahead of cooking.
- Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to 2 saute pans over medium-high heat. Add the thin-sliced potatoes to one, and the nopales to the other. Saute the potatoes until golden brown on the edges and tender.
- Saute the nopales until they give up their liquid and it is evaporated. They should be tender and beginning to brown. Scrape the nopales to one side, and add the tofu. Using a potato masher or pastry cutter, break the tofu apart into crumbles. continue cooking until they begin to brown and the texture resembles ground meat.
- Add the tender potatoes and the black beans to the tofu and nopales. Season with garlic and cumin, salt and pepper. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes to let the flavors combine.
- Warm the red chile sauce (or salsa) and tortillas. Wrap the sautéed mixture along with the avocado, warmed red chile sauce (or salsa), and cilantro in a warm tortilla. Enjoy!
I typically use Nasoya Extra Firm Tofu. Using a potato masher, the texture resembles ground meat, and holds together really well.
I love freshly made New Mexico red chile sauce (no tomatoes!). When I make red chile enchiladas, I freeze zip bags to pull out for things like breakfast burritos. I also really like the commercial jarred products from The Roadrunner Chile Company. You can substitute your favorite sauce or salsa.
As I mentioned in the post, this recipe is flexible. You can substitute scrambled eggs for the tofu (not vegan of course), bell pepper or roasted green chile strips for the nopales strips, use pintos or kidney beans instead of black beans, etc. Try adding crumbled cotija, queso fresco, or grated sharp cheddar if you're not looking to keep it vegan.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal): 411 calories; 20 g protein; 51 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat.
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- Original New Mexico Hatch Red Chile By Zia Green Chile Company - Delicious Flame-Roasted, Peeled & Diced Southwestern Certified Red Peppers For Salsas, Stews & More, Vegan & Gluten-Free - 16oz
- OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Potato Masher with Cushioned Handle
- 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet Set (Pre-Seasoned), Including Large & Assist Silicone Hot Handle Holders, Glass Lid, Cast Iron Cleaner Chainmail Scrubber, Scraper
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 411 Total Fat: 14g Carbohydrates: 51g Protein: 20g