These simple black bean burritos are packed with my favourite Tex-Mex flavours, and they can be easily adapted to suit your preferences.
Tex-Mex is one of my all-time favourite cuisines, and these spicy bean burritos are the perfect example of how incredible Tex-Mex food can be. Beans, rice, fresh veggies and cheese – what a perfect combination! They’re really easy to make, and you can mix up the fillings to suit anyone’s taste preferences.
What are burritos?
Burritos are one of the cornerstones of Tex-Mex cuisine. They’re made with large, soft flour tortillas, wrapped around various fillings to create the perfect little (or, preferably, big) cylinder. Their shape makes them easy to eat by hand, especially if they’re wrapped up in foil or paper.
What do you put in a burrito?
Burritos can have all sorts of different fillings. Non-vegetarian burritos will obviously contain some sort of meat, but my favourite vegetarian burrito fillings include:
- rice (I tend to use either plain rice, or Mexican-style tomato rice)
- black beans
- refried beans
- vegetarian bean chilli
- grated cheese
- roasted or grilled vegetables
- fresh salad-style vegetables (such as lettuce and tomatoes)
- sauces like tomato salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc.
To be honest, you could choose any combination from the list above, and you’d end up with an amazing vegetarian burrito. That’s why I love Tex-Mex food so much – it’s so easy to make something delicious, simply by choosing from a few main ingredients, depending on what you have on hand. You’ll end up with a different combination each time, but it will always work beautifully.
How to make spicy bean burritos
These spicy bean burritos are just one possible way of creating an incredible vegetarian burrito. Feel free to add any extra ingredients from the list above – though you might find it hard to roll your burrito if it’s crammed too full!
Step 1: Cook the black beans
I began making these bean burritos by cooking some black beans with some fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, and plenty of spice. It’s almost like a super simple bean chilli. You can make this black bean mixture as spicy (or as not-spicy) as you like. If you’re cooking for a group of people with different spice tolerances, start with a mild level of heat, and let people add extra hot sauce to their own plates as desired.
I used tinned black beans, rather than dried, because they’re quick and convenient. I usually only start thinking about dinner 30 minutes or so before we actually eat it – planning ahead is not my forte.
If you have more time on your hands, feel free to cook dried beans separately, and then use them as written in the recipe.
Step 2: Add the rice
The addition of rice is what makes a burrito a burrito, in my opinion – I think it would feel a bit lacking without the rice. It makes these spicy bean burritos feel really hearty. It also helps to stabilise the burrito a bit, making it easier to pick up in your hands!
Cook the rice separately, then mix it into the black bean mixture. On this occasion, I actually had some leftover rice that I’d cooked the night before, so I used that – but of course, you can cook it the same day if needed.
Step 3: Assemble the burrito with plenty of toppings
Now comes the fun bit – assembling your burritos.
Add a good heap of the bean and rice mixture to the middle of a large flour tortilla. I usually create a sort of rounded rectangle shape, as this helps with rolling the burrito later.
Start piling up your chosen toppings. Of course, grated cheese is a must for me (use vegan cheese if necessary!).
This time I also added some crisp lettuce, which brings a lovely texture to the burrito, in contrast to the soft rice and beans.
And a good smear of sour cream (sour cream and chive dip, to be precise) finishes it off beautifully, as well as helping to seal the burrito once it’s rolled!
Step 4: Roll the burrito
All that’s left to do is to roll the flour tortilla around your fillings to create that beautiful burrito.
I’m not going to lie, rolling a burrito takes a little practice, especially if you have a habit of overfilling your tortilla – I definitely have to stop myself from heaping the fillings too high! But luckily, even if things spill out a little when you roll your burrito, it will still taste incredible.
A good tip is to roll your burrito inside a piece of foil or parchment, as this can help to keep the fillings contained, and makes eating a less messy affair!
How to roll a burrito
Here’s a little image I made a while back to demonstrate how to roll a burrito. These pictures actually show my mushroom and black bean smothered burritos, but the method is the same, whatever the filling!
Start by folding in the two short ends of the burrito, then the two longer sides, to create a perfect pocket. Or, you can roll the burrito once you’ve tucked in the ends, rather than folding it, if you’d prefer a rounder shape.
How to serve a burrito
We usually eat our burritos on their own, since they already contain all the main food groups. There’s no real need to add any sort of side dish, especially since a burrito is pretty filling on its own.
But if you do want to create a slightly more varied meal, serving your burrito with a salad on the side would be a safe bet – something pretty light. Some extra sauces for dipping are always fun too (hot sauce, sour cream, guacamole, etc.).
Other vegetarian burrito recipes
I’ve shared a few other vegetarian burritos here before, so if you’re on board the burrito train, try these other recipes too:
- full English breakfast burritos
- mushroom and black bean smothered burritos
- veggie burrito bowls
- BBQ bean burritos
Or just choose your own combination of fillings from the list above, and let me know what sort of vegetarian burrito you come up with!
Spicy Black Bean Burritos
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 onion, sliced or diced
- 400 g tin black beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, when drained)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Black pepper
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 200 g (~ 1 cup) cooked rice (I used leftover white rice)
- 4 large flour tortillas
- Your choice of additional fillings: grated cheese lettuce, sour cream, etc. (see blog post for more ideas)
- Heat a dash of oil in a saucepan, and add the onion. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, until it is fairly soft. Add the next 7 ingredients (black beans through black pepper), and cook for a further 5 minutes, adding a small splash of water if necessary. Next, add the diced tomato, and cook for just a few minutes more, until the tomato has softened, but is still holding its shape.
- Add the cooked rice, and mix to combine. Ensure the mixture is piping hot before assembling your burritos (again, you can add a splash of water if needed, to help you heat the mixture without it drying out).
- To assemble, lay a large flour tortilla on a board, and heap about a quarter of the rice and bean mixture into the centre. Top with your choice of additional burrito fillings – I used grated cheese, lettuce, and sour cream.
- Fold in the two ends of the burrito, then roll or fold to fully contain the fillings (see blog post for photos if needed!). Burritos are best eaten immediately, especially if you’ve mixed both warm and cold fillings.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/4 of the recipe (1 burrito), with the toppings I used.