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, Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
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.
🌵 What are Nopales?
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.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- new potatoes - Choose small potatoes, and slice thin to save cooking time.
- red chile sauce - A commercially prepared red chile sauce is fine in this recipe, but I often have homemade red chile sauce in my freezer, and it's amazing!
- nopales - If you're able to get fresh nopales at your market, they require an additional 10-15 minutes to cook. You can get canned nopalitos, and give them a good rinse.
- cooked black beans - They can be rinsed and drained canned beans, or your own cooked dried black beans, but they must be cooked.
- extra-firm tofu
- Mis en place - Get all of the ingredients prepped before you start cooking. Trust me on this!
- Cook the potatoes - Sauté the thin-sliced potatoes in a bit of coconut oil until tender and browned on the edges.
- Cook the nopales - While the potatoes cook, start the nopales in a second skillet in a bit of coconut oil. I cook them in a cast iron skillet until they ooze all their slime, and it evaporates (about 10 minutes). See this post for more on cooking nopales. Scrape them to one side, and add the tofu chunk. Using a potato masher, apply gentle pressure until the texture resembles ground meat.
- Make the burrito filling - Combine the nopalitos, potatoes, tofu, and black beans with garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in one of the two pans. Sauté 2-3 minutes to combine. Warm the red chile sauce (microwave is fine).
- Finish the burritos - I use a dry skillet to warm my flour tortillas. Spread tortilla with black bean mixture, a generous drizzle of red chile sauce, a slice or two of avocado, and a sprig of cilantro. Roll it up, and enjoy!
💭 Tips and Variations
- Green chile is a great substitution 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.
The filling (without avocado and cilantro) will keep well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. I suggest reheating the filling, and warming a fresh tortilla. Add avocado and cilantro if desired. Alternatively, you can roll up the burrito, wrap in foil, and reheat. Keep in mind the filling may affect the tortilla texture, and you'll want to leave the avocado out.
🧂 Useful Stuff
Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. This helps to offset the costs of maintaining my blog and creating awesome content! 😊
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...