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Fast and Easy Black Bean Burritos

Updated on December 9, 2012

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The finished burrito.  I now realize I should have taken a close-up with the delicious filling just peeking out of one end.  But, I didn't, so you'll have to use your imagination.
The finished burrito. I now realize I should have taken a close-up with the delicious filling just peeking out of one end. But, I didn't, so you'll have to use your imagination.
Delicious (and steamy!) burrito filling.  Seriously, I've never met a person who doesn't think this is wildly delicious.  (Because it is!!)
Delicious (and steamy!) burrito filling. Seriously, I've never met a person who doesn't think this is wildly delicious. (Because it is!!)

My college roommate invented a version of this recipe, and I've been eating it ever since.

The key is the cumin, which what makes it taste...Mexican-y.

It's incredibly easy, tastes good even when you change all the proportions, and everyone likes it. It can also be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled at will. (Though the bigger the batch, the longer it takes the sauce to cook down so it's thick enough.)

I usually make a double batch and eat the leftovers for days. It'll keep in the fridge for easily a week and it's takes a just a couple minutes to roll yourself a burrito and heat it in the microwave. Yum.

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: 4-6 burritos

Ingredients

  • 1 package large tortillas
  • 8 oz cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups corn, frozen or canned
  • 1 can (16 oz.) black beans
  • 1 small bottle (8 oz.) taco sauce

The Basic Recipe

  1. Chop onions.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Saute onions until soft.
  3. Add corn, beans, and taco sauce.
  4. Stir in one teaspoon turmeric and two teaspoons of cumin.
  5. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens.
  6. Lay out a tortilla, sprinkle a line of cheese along the center, and add a large spoonful of the bean mixture.
  7. Fold a couple inches of tortilla over the end of the filling. (This is what keeps all the filling from falling out when you pick up the burrito.) Roll the tortilla into, well, a burrito-shape.
Too runny! See all the taco sauce pooling on top of the filling?
Too runny! See all the taco sauce pooling on top of the filling?
Still too runny.  Note how a trench scraped by the spoon is filled in right away with sauce.
Still too runny. Note how a trench scraped by the spoon is filled in right away with sauce.
Just right!  The filling is well mixed (and stays that way even if you stop stirring) and when you scrape a clear spot in the pan, it stays clear for a few moments.
Just right! The filling is well mixed (and stays that way even if you stop stirring) and when you scrape a clear spot in the pan, it stays clear for a few moments.

Tips, Tricks, and Details

Chop and saute the onions.

I like my onions in biggish pieces and I like them to have a little crunch, so I chop coarsely and saute lightly.

Add the corn, beans, and taco sauce.

The filling will look pretty thick initially, but as it cooks, the taco sauce will separate a bit and the filling will get runnier.

Stir in the seasoning.

There's quite a bit of latitude with the seasoning. I don't usually measure at all, and it pretty much always tastes good.

Cook until the sauce thickens.

How to tell? The sauce is still to runny if:

  • you let the filling simmer for a minute without stirring, and the taco sauce rises to the top.
  • you scrape filling away from the bottom of the skillet, and the empty space fills in almost immediately with sauce.

The sauce is just right when:

  • you let it simmer for a minute and the filling remains evenly mixed
  • you scrape filling away from the bottom of the skillet and the pan remains visible for a moment...before slowly being covered with burrito filling

How to Roll a Tight Tortilla

Lay the tortilla out on a plate.  Starting a couple inches in from the edge (in this pic, it's the left edge), sprinkle a line of cheese down the center of the tortilla, all the way to the opposite edge.
Lay the tortilla out on a plate. Starting a couple inches in from the edge (in this pic, it's the left edge), sprinkle a line of cheese down the center of the tortilla, all the way to the opposite edge.
Add your filling on top of the cheese.  Keep a couple inches of tortilla clear at the edge (again, here it's the left edge) and try to keep the filling in a line in the middle.  Here the filling has spooged a little bit.
Add your filling on top of the cheese. Keep a couple inches of tortilla clear at the edge (again, here it's the left edge) and try to keep the filling in a line in the middle. Here the filling has spooged a little bit.
Fold the clear edge of tortilla over the end of your line of filling.  Again, it's gotten a bit messy in this picture -- but no matter!  The rolling will take care of it.
Fold the clear edge of tortilla over the end of your line of filling. Again, it's gotten a bit messy in this picture -- but no matter! The rolling will take care of it.
Take the near edge of the tortilla and fold it all the way over the filling.  Use it to pull the filling toward you a bit and then roll the whole burrito over (roll away from you), so the open edge of tortilla is under the burrito.  And voila!
Take the near edge of the tortilla and fold it all the way over the filling. Use it to pull the filling toward you a bit and then roll the whole burrito over (roll away from you), so the open edge of tortilla is under the burrito. And voila!

Other Versions

One of the beauties of this recipe is its flexibility. Seriously -- adjust it all you like, it'll still taste good. I confess that I never measure the spices -- I use 2-3 times more cumin than turmeric, but that's about as precise as I get. Use more or less corn, double the onions, whatever. It'll taste good. In a pinch, you can even use different beans -- though (I think) the black beans do taste best. When possible, I use a four-cheese Mexican blend, but, again, play around and pick your favorite. And if all you have is cheddar...that'll taste just fine.

I tend to make this recipe as a single-dish meal. So I use large tortillas and add a fair bit of filling. If you're planning a larger menu, get smaller tortillas and use less filling. See? Endlessly customizable.

When I make this for a few people in a very casual setting, I pretty much toss a bag of cheese and a package of tortillas on the table and let everyone go to town.

But if you're having a larger (or slightly more formal) gathering, you can warm the tortillas before serving. The authentic (-sh) way to do this is do heat a bit of oil in a skillet, and heat each tortilla for 5-10 seconds on each side. Enough to warm and soften them, but not so much that they get crispy. Alternatively, you can place them all on a plate and nuke them for 30 seconds or so. If you happen to own a tortilla warmer, pop the warm tortillas in there. I do not, so I place them on a regular plate and then put a second plate on top, upside down, to keep the heat in.

If you'd rather not ask your guests to assemble their own food, you could also roll the burritos yourself. Place them side-by-side in a 9x13" pan and keep them warm in the oven until you're ready to serve.

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