JIM ROMANOFF, Associated Press - -
One of the many appealing things about a burrito is that an often surprising range of ingredients can be rolled up into a complete meal in a single package.
But other less desirable surprises also can lurk inside burritos, especially extra fat and calories you may not have bargained for.
AP Photo - - Creole-inspired red beans and rice in a whole-wheat wrap form the basis for this healthy take on burritos.
AP Photo - - A delicate combination of Indian spices and flavors come together to make keema, served over a soft, warm flatbread like naan.
These Creole-style burritos are inspired by the flavors of the Gulf coast, take only about 35 minutes to make, and are built with less fattening ingredients.
First off, they're vegetarian, eliminating one of the chief culprits behind gut-busting burritos fatty meat fillings like ground beef or pork.
Here, red beans and rice, a Louisiana favorite, bring the heft and some protein to the party. The recipe calls for a convenient boxed rice and beans mix, but you can use homemade, especially if you're looking to cut down on the sodium. However, you may want to use a bit more Cajun seasoning to keep the flavors popping.
Vegetables make up the rest of this Mardi Gras-inspired wrap. Again, for convenience we call for a packaged frozen pepper and onion stir-fry mix, but if you have the time, you can fry up your own.
A handful of baby spinach adds more color and nutrients and is a healthy switch from the typical iceberg lettuce that's often found in this kind of dish.
And of course, no burrito would be complete without some cheese. We've kept things light by blending full-flavored, full-fat pepper jack cheese with some lower calorie reduced-fat cheddar.
Last, but not least, we wrap everything up in a whole-wheat tortilla. When it comes to wraps you need to choose carefully because tortillas vary widely in nutrition. A flour tortilla can have as few as 100 calories and about 1 gram of fat, or as many as 400 calories and 12 grams of fat.
Start to finish: 35 minutes (15 minutes active). Serves 6.
NOTE: An 8-ounce box of red beans and rice mix will make about double the amount needed to fill these burritos. You can either make half the box (you will need to adjust the package cooking times and reduce the amount of broth used), or serve the excess on the side.
8-ounce package red beans and rice mix
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1 cup grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese
16-ounce package frozen pepper and onion stir-fry mix, thawed
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
6 burrito-size whole-grain tortillas
2 cups fresh baby spinach
3/4 cup salsa
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Cook beans and rice according to package directions, substituting the broth for the water called for.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss together both cheeses. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high, combine the pepper and onion mix with the Cajun seasoning. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are dry, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese blend over each tortilla. There will be about 1/2 cup remaining.
Spoon about 1/3 cup of the rice and beans over the bottom two-thirds of each tortilla. Spread about 1/3 cup of the pepper-onion mix over the rice. Pile some of the baby spinach on top of the peppers. Fold in 2 sides of each tortilla and roll-up. Arrange the burritos, seam-side down, in a baking dish. Top each with salsa and some of the remaining cheese.
Bake the burritos for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is melted.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 313 calories; 98 calories from fat (31 percent of total calories); 11 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 21 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrate; 16 g protein; 4 g fiber; 721 mg sodium.
Think of it as the 'sloppy joe' of India
Flatbread, spices lend the right note of authenticity to this presentation
J.M. HIRSCH, Associated Press
Think of keema as the sloppy joe of India.
You pretty much brown ground meat -- in this case turkey, but chicken, bison or lean beef would be fine, too -- with a bit of oil, garlic and diced onion. Then you add spices (technically the "keema"), a bit of yogurt to make it creamy and some fresh herbs. That's it.
While you could continue the sloppy joe analogy and spoon the mixture onto burger buns, you also could get some naan flatbread. Most grocers sell packages of naan in the bakery section.
Keema Turkey with Peas and Mint
Start to finish: 25 minutes. Serves 4
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh (or thawed frozen) peas
1/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salt, to taste
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
4 large naan or other flatbreads, warmed
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and
garlic, then saute for 5 minutes. Add the ginger and cook for another minute.
Add the turkey and cook until the meat starts to brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garam masala and turmeric, then saute for another minute.
Add the tomato paste and water and heat, stirring to mix, for another minute. Add the peas, then cover and cook for 3 minutes.
Uncover the pan, then stir in the yogurt. Season with salt, then stir in the cilantro and mint. Serve with naan.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 477 calories; 163 calories from fat (34 percent of total calories); 18 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 65 mg cholesterol; 47 g carbohydrate; 32 g protein; 7 g fiber; 607 mg sodium.