Thursday 9 July 2009

Breakfast Burritos – My Way!

I’d never heard of breakfast burritos until I made burritos last year and was seeking information on Wikipedia. The idea of a tortilla filled with bacon and eggs did not enthuse me at all but I had visions of an egg-free tofu scramble full of all the things I love in a veggie fry-up when we eat out for brunch. Once the idea got under my skin it was like an itch I had to scratch.

What a perfect breakfast it would be. There was one problem! I rarely put a lot of energy into breakfasts these days. . I’ve never been a morning person but in my life before Sylvia, I would enjoy making a nice brunch and the weekend newspaper. Now that we have a baby who also loves a sleep in, my mornings start with feeding her and then I grab a piece of toast and some fruit. No pancakes or potato scones have graced our mornings lately. The most effort goes into an interesting smoothie.

When E asked for burritos for dinner recently, it seemed time for the breakfast burrito. After all, if you can’t have it for breakfast, dinner is the next best thing. Actually, it is a bit of an all day project so unless you rise particularly early, preparation is needed whether you make it for breakfast or dinner.

I wanted my breakfast burrito to reflect the best of veggie fry-ups and to have a Mexican flavour as well. So my recipe involves four components for assembling and serving. The refried beans were inspired by an Alison Holst recipe and quite smoky and spicy with a chipotle chilli in adobo sauce. The tofu scramble had fried potato, mushroom, spinach and facon. I decided to add some facon for a bit of fun, although the smokiness of the chipotle means it is by no means essential. The beans and scramble are stuffed into a burrito that is then served with a tomato sauce, guacamole and some yoghurt.

You can see from the long list of ingredients and many instructions in the recipe that this is no quick and simple meal. It was a lot of work, but worth it. The main effort went into preparing the fillings and assembling the burritos. I started cooking the beans and fried potatoes early in the day. All the components can be made ahead, especially if you want to have it for breakfast, but if you have the energy, the tomato sauce and guacamole can be whipped up while the burritos cook. I had a leftover burrito for lunch the next day with some yoghurt, tomatoes and cucumber if you want a simpler version.

The impression I have got of the breakfast burrito is that it is full of protein and fat. I wanted one that was healthier while still tasty. Both E and I were impressed with my breakfast burrito. It was full of complex flavours. The chipotle chilli made it rather spicy despite not much heat in the rest of the dish. I wish I could have stuffed more filling in the burritos. They were delicious but not as chunky as I had hoped. Though, I was glad not all of the scramble was used in the burritos as I enjoyed eating some of the leftovers on toast. Now I am looking forward to the day I organise myself enough to eat these for breakfast!

I am sending this to Jenny of All Things Edible who is hosting Meeta’s Monthly Mingle this month. The theme is Mexican Fiesta.

Johanna’s Breakfast Burritos
Makes 6

Refried Beans:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ red capsicum, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 chipotle chilli in adobo sauce, chopped
400g tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Breakfast Tofu Scramble:
350g firm tofu
2 tbsp oil
2 cups diced potato
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
2 rashers facon (vegetarian bacon), chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
handful of spinach, chopped
1 large field mushroom, diced
2 tsp soy sauce
1 heaped tbsp chilli jam
splash Tabasco sauce
couple of handfuls cheese (optional)

Tomato sauce:
1 tsp oil
2 onions, chopped
2 x 400g tins of diced tomatoes
generous dash each of cumin, salt, agave, oregano, Tabasco sauce

1 avocado, peeled and pitted
squeeze of lemon juice
½ tomato, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
generous dash of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt

To assemble:
6 jumbo tortillas
Yoghurt (optional)
Fresh chopped parsley

To make the Refried Beans: Heat olive oil in a small saucepan. Add onion, garlic, capsicum and carrot. Stir over low to medium heat for about 10 minutes or until vegetables soften. Add tomato paste, cumin, chilli and beans. Heat through and the remove from heat. Roughly mash with a potato masher.

To make the Scramble: Start by pressing the tofu while you prepare the rest of the meal. I place my tofu in a colander and put a bowl and some heavy tins of vegetables on it. Then in your biggest frypan, heat 1 tbsp oil and fry the potatoes for about 45 minutes til cooked and golden brown. Set aside. Heat the other tablespoon of oil and fry the onion for about 10 minutes til soft and golden. Add remaining ingredients except cheese and stir for 5-15 minutes til mushrooms are cooked and spinach is wilted (I didn’t note how long it took so can’t quite remember). Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

To assemble the burritos: firstly preheat oven to 180 C and prepare a large baking or roasting dish to cook them in. Place a tortilla on a flat surface and dollop a large spoonful of refried beans in the middle. Then place a large spoonful of tofu scramble on the beans. Wrap up the burrito (fold top and bottom together and then fold the sides in is the way I do it). Place in a large greased roasting dish with the folds on the bottom. Repeat with 5 other tortillas. Spray with olive oil and bake at 180 C for about 15 minutes or until starting to brown. While the burritos are in the oven, make the tomato sauce and the guacamole.

To make the Tomato Sauce: Heat oil in a small saucepan. Cook the onion a few minutes and then add the tomatoes and flavourings. Taste to check if you need to adjust the flavours. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until sauce thickens but still spreads easily. I did this while the burritos were cooking in the oven.

To make the Guacamole: Mash the avocado in a small bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Taste and add more salt and cayenne if required.

To serve: Spread a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce on a large plate. Place a warm burrito in the middle. Dollop on top a spoonful of guacamole and a spoonful of yoghurt. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Notes: For a vegan version, the dish would not suffer by leaving the cheese and yoghurt out or using vegan alternatives. For a gluten free version, you should leave out the facon - some smoked paprika can be used instead to impart a little of the bacon smokiness - and use corn tortillas rather than wheat tortillas.

On the stereo:
Bleecker Street: Greenwich Village in the 60s – Various Artists


  1. Oh my goodness--breakfast, dinner, who cares? That would be amazing at any time of day! And more amazing is that you managed to create such a meal with a baby on board! Definitely like the "Johanna" version of breakfast burrito!

  2. Wow yum I love breakfast burritos. I used to make them sometimes though nothing as fancy as this! I love how you used both tofu and potatoes. And some interesting beans (I would be lazy and just throw the beans in as is). Of course the guacamole is an excellent condiment addition!

  3. Yum - this looks fantastic. Will have to find time to try it (although if you can manage it with a baby I really have no excuses!)

  4. Wow, the recipe looks long indeed. But I get what you said! I would love to try this one day.

  5. Thanks Ricki - they were very good - and easier to make because I am around the house even if having sylvia about means I can't always be in the kitchen, I can start early if I get organised unlike when I am in the office all day

    Thanks ashley - I did think of throwing beans into the scramble rather than the refried beans but it just seemed more appropriate to do refried beans and I wanted to do it right once at least!

    Thanks anonymous - hope you do find the time (and there are plenty other excuses other than a baby for not having time - I have had many of them myself at times)

    Thanks Anh - hope you get to try it - despite the long list :-)

  6. Wow - what creativity and dedication must have gone into this dish! I like combining the refried beans with the tofu scramble.

    I never really feel inclined to make big brunches either - I'm too wedded to my nice healthy weetabix I think. But breakfast for dinner, now that's an idea I can run with :

  7. I've no doubt this was worth effort. Sounds wonderful indeed. I would probably substitute paneer for the tofu, but otherwise, would simply follow your instructions.

  8. Yum! I'd love to wake up to these for breakfast

  9. Thanks Lysy - I think that I thought about it ages ago and let the idea bubble away below the surface til the time was right. I agree that lots of breakfast food are good for dinner (except cereal)

    Thanks Lisa - definitely worth the effort! would love to try it with paneer!

    Thanks Katie - I'd love to wake up to it too - just need to find someone to make it for me now :-)

  10. FEED Me, FEED Me! Looks fabulous.
    Breakfast for dinner: I'm on it!! To my mind few things are more versatile than Mexican.
    If you'd like more filling you might like to try stacked enchiladas: tortilia, filling, tortilia, filling, tortilia; makes for a fun casserole like dish but probably nothing like grandma's;)
    Then you can top it with whatever. Or you could make the tortilias really big size and over stuff.

  11. Oh my goodness, that looks fantastic!

  12. Thanks Tanna - doing this as a stack is a great idea - I sometimes do tortilla stacks with chilli non carne but the idea of doing it with refried beans and a scramble appeals - I agree this is a better way of getting lots of filling in

    Thanks T.O.V.

  13. I love all the parts to this burrito. You make healthy look so good!


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