Day 130: Veggie Burritos with Cilantro Sauce ♥

An easy, adaptable recipe, perfect for using up bits of leftover vegetables
Today's vegetable recipe: Quick-cooked vegetables and lentils wrapped in a tortilla and draped in a bright cilantro sauce. Very adaptable, a 'concept recipe'.

~ recipe & photo updated 2008 ~

2005, Day 130: Carnivores should eat so well! This delicious dish reminded me of the cooking I did during several meatless years. I didn't call myself a vegetarian -- which suggested a lifestyle versus a food choice -- I just didn't eat meat. There are still lots of meatless meals around here but this veggie-lentil combination somehow hearkened back to those years.

It's a delicious dish but it's also extremely adaptable. Feeding a few more? Add more vegetables or some cooked chickpeas. Want to serve as a side to grilled meat? Perfect. How about as a main dish? Or wrapped in half a soft thin pita or a whole wheat tortilla? Want to add meat? Sure, no problem, a little steak, a little chicken.

There was no getting enough of the sauce! All bright and fresh-tasting, the sauce maybe looks better on top but it tastes better inside, all mushed up with the lentils and veggies.

2008: Sure enough, the recipe delivered again, this time with a mix of potato, tomato, corn and red lentils, with fresh spinach and lime juice added at the last minute. The good news too, is that with the cover off the skillet, the vegetables cooked quickly. Supper was on the table in 30 minutes flat.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes about 4 cups of filling, 1 1/2 cups sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped, about 1 cup
2 teaspoons curry powder (used madras)
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño
2 small red potatoes, skins on, sliced very thin then diced finely
1 large fresh tomato, chopped
1/2 cup lentils (brown or red will quick the most quickly)
1 bay leaf
3 cups vegetable broth or even just water
Salt & pepper to taste

6 ounces fresh spinach (baby spinach is fine but curly spinach has more flavor)
Juice of a lime or a lemon (the brightness this adds is really important so don't skip it)

Other Ideas:
Tomatillos, husked, washed, chopped
Zucchini, trimmed, chopped
Fresh corn, sliced off the ear right into the skillet
Sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup)
1-1/2 cups 'milky' liquid (2005: used half non-fat yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese, 2008: used half keffir and half buttermilk)
3 green onions, white and green parts
2 teaspoons garlic
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sugar (important - don't skip this)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
Salt to taste
Cayenne (a tiny sprinkle was perfect)

FILLING: Heat a large deep skillet on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the oil. While the pan and oil heat, chop the onion. Add the onion and curry to the hot pan, combine well and cook for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally. Add the jalapeño, combine well and cook until the onions begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in the potato, tomato (and any other vegetables) and lentils and stir well to combine with onion mixture. Stir in the broth and add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and let simmer (reduce heat if needed) until liquid is nearly gone and the lentils are soft, about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. REMOVE THE BAY LEAVES. Stir in the spinach, letting the mixture's heat barely cook the tender leaves. Stir in the lime juice.

SAUCE: Rinse cilantro under running water, shake briskly then let drain over side of sink while assembling other ingredients. Combine all the ingredients (except the salt and cayenne) in a blender, including the drained cilantro. Taste and salt if needed and do add a bit of cayenne.

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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005


This dish looks and sounds delicious! Do you thinnk I could sub soymilk for the cilantro sauce or would it need an addition of something more substantial such as soy yogurt?

I think a blend would be best, the soymilk too liquid, the yogurt too thick. But yes, this is definitely an easy-to-convert to vegan recipe!

Alanna, the burritos with cilantro sauce will be MUCH used at our house. I printed it first thing. Both M&A rebel against lentils, but I can throw a handful in with some vegetarian baked beans. And the sauce looks fabulous -- I love cilantro and this looks perfect for me. Wonder how it would be on pancakes??? And as a dipping sauce for grilled cheese?? And overtop eggs on toasted English muffins? And maybe a little thicker, as the sauce on a Mexican pizza? OK, so maybe not the pancakes. But maybe in an open-faced ham sandwich, with a waffle instead of bread. Note to self: add cilantro to the grocery list.

thanks for the veganizing tip!

I love veggie burritos and this filling looks terrific! I love the nutty taste and texture of lentils. Teamed with the spice and prettiness of the cilantro sauce it makes a brilliant dinner entree. Thanks!

Btw - are you able to grow enough cilantro to provide for recipes like this? My cilantro plants never produce a great quantity of leaves. Luckily cilantro is inexpensive to buy by the bunch.

30 minutes flat and lentils: can't beat that. I'm always happy with new lentil recipes - cilantro, potato and I can add a little spinach, you won't mind will you;))

Lis ~ I've long given up on growing cilantro, there's just no growing enough. Plus, you're right, it's cheap at the grocery and if you keep it in a glass of water, it lasts for a week or more.

Alanna, I tried the sauce (here) and loved it! I couldn't find a perfect complement, though, so maybe I just need to make the darned burritos, haha.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna