vegan breakfast burrito recipe

Mexican recipes: these delicious breakfast dishes just so happen to be vegan

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From plant-based breakfast burritos to easy fried potatoes, these vegan recipes by chef Edgar Castrejón are some of the tastiest ways possible to start your day. 

When you think of Mexican food, it’s unlikely that vegan recipes immediately come to mind. Meat and fish are central to Mexico’s food culture, with marinated pork, beef, chicken and seafood regularly featuring in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, stews and more.

Recipes that don’t involve meat or seafood will often be heavy on eggs, dairy and lard – which can make it tricky for people following a plant-based diet who still want to enjoy all the rich, fresh, spicy and savoury flavours that authentic Mexican cooking has to offer.

That was certainly Edgar Castrejón’s experience. The American chef was born in Oakland, California, to parents who’d emigrated from Tacámbaro in central Mexico. “As with most Mexican families, everything in my home revolved around food,” Castrejón writes in the introduction to his new cookbook, Provecho: 100 Vegan Mexican Recipes To Celebrate Culture And Community. “I was weaned on fragrant beef stews and grilled meat, chicken tamales, and seafood ceviche.”

Provecho Mexican vegan cookbook by Edgar Castrejón
Provecho: 100 Vegan Mexican Recipes To Celebrate Culture And Community by Edgar Castrejón is out now with Ten Speed Press

But when Castrejón went to college and became vegetarian, then vegan, he realised he needed to make new versions of his family’s traditional recipes. He set out to “veganize” the foods he’d grown up eating, creating recipes that were as authentic as possible while still capturing the rich, comforting flavours of Mexican cuisine.

The delicious results of Castrejón’s plant-based cooking experiments can be found in Provecho (the book’s title comes from an expression exchanged before meals in many Latino countries, similar to “bon appétit” but with an extra dose of joy and gratitude). Below, he shares three vegan Mexican recipes that are perfect for lazy brunches or make-ahead WFH breakfasts.

Castrejón’s breakfast burritos are made using a chickpea-turmeric scramble instead of eggs, with spoonfuls of pico de gallo (a fresh tomato salsa) for added zing and extra protein courtesy of frijoles de la olla (lightly spiced, cooked beans). 

His recipe for papas loca, meanwhile, is an easy mix of fried potatoes with tomatoes and chilli, which you can serve with tortillas, beans or rice if you like. Finally, his chilaquiles rojos is a luxurious brunch dish involving cut-up tortilla wedges smothered in melted vegan cheese and frijoles fritos (refried beans). Provecho!

Burritos de desayuno

vegan breakfast burrito recipe
Vegan Mexican breakfast recipes: Edgar Castrejón's burritos de desayuno

Edgar says: “My favourite breakfast as a child was breakfast burritos. Sometimes, I took as many as four mini burritos to school. My mom and aunts had an assembly line – one cooking, one wrapping, and one cleaning.

“Those breakfast burritos were filled with pinto beans, scrambled eggs, pico de gallo, avocado, cheese, and loads of ketchup. But now my favourite filling is chickpea and turmeric ‘eggs’. The eggs are flavoured with kala namak salt, a Himalayan black salt that imparts a savoury flavour similar to hard-boiled egg yolks. You can find it at specialty shops and online.”

Makes 6 burritos

Ingredients

  • Avocado oil for drizzling
  • 1 cup frijoles de la olla (see recipe below)
  • 225g shredded vegan cheese
  • 6 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • pico de gallo (see recipe below) for serving
  • 1 or 2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • 6 lettuce leaves (optional)
  • ketchup for serving

For the chickpea-turmeric scramble:

  • 45g chickpea flour
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt or fine sea salt
  • kala namak salt (Himalayan black salt)
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 120ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp water

Method

To make the scramble: in a medium bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, pink salt, ¼ teaspoon kala namak salt and black pepper.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the almond milk, 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil, and water. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk together. The mixture should have a smooth, runny texture that pours like pancake batter.

Set the mixture aside.

In a medium nonstick pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon avocado oil. Pour in the mixture and cook, stirring constantly and pressing down with a silicone spatula to flatten, until the mixture resembles scrambled eggs, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle additional kala namak salt on top of the mixture, if desired, and stir once more to incorporate. Remove from the heat and cover.

In another nonstick pan over medium heat, warm a drizzle of avocado oil. Add a tortilla and cook until golden, about 30 seconds per side. Sprinkle with some of the vegan cheese and cook until the cheese melts.

Transfer the tortilla to a plate and add a spoonful each of the scramble, beans, pico de gallo; some of the avocado and a lettuce leaf (if desired); and a little ketchup.

Fold the right and left sides of the tortilla toward the middle. Fold the edge closest to you snugly over the filling and continue to roll up the burrito.

Repeat with the remaining tortillas and fillings and then serve.

Frijoles de la olla

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 540g dried pinto beans or black beans
  • 2.3 to 2.8 litres water
  • ½ white or yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt

Method

In a large bowl, cover the beans with about 940ml of the water and let soak for 10 to 12 hours.

Drain the beans and let them rest in a sieve for at least 2 hours (see note).

Transfer the beans to a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and 1.4 litres water; bring to a boil over high heat. Cover partially and turn the heat to a simmer.

Continue to simmer for 30 minutes, then check the amount of liquid in the pot. If most of it has evaporated, add the remaining water (about 475ml) and continue to simmer until the beans are soft (but not so mushy that they don’t retain their shape) and the liquid in the pot has thickened, about 45 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves.

Serve the beans hot.

Note

Soaking the beans or any type of legume will help you digest them and prevent the, ahem, unwanted side effects that we associate with beans. Letting the beans drain for 2 hours activates the enzymes that aid digestion.

Pico de gallo

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

  • Avocado oil for frying
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 jalapeño chiles
  • ½ red onion, cut into ½-cm dice
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, cut into ½-cm dice
  • 3 Persian cucumbers, cut into ½-cm dice
  • 1 cup finely chopped coriander leaves and tender stems
  • 60ml fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt

Method

Set a small cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add a drizzle of avocado oil and the garlic and jalapeños and fry, turning occasionally, until charred all over, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Finely chop or mince the garlic and transfer to a large bowl.

Stem and halve the jalapeños lengthwise (remove the seeds for less heat, if desired) and chop into ½-cm dice; transfer to the bowl.

Add the onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, coriander, lime juice and salt and mix well.

Store the pico de gallo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Papas locas

Vegan Mexican breakfast recipe: papas locas
Vegan Mexican breakfast recipes: Edgar Castrejón's papas locas

Edgar says: “Even I can’t believe a quick 25-minute breakfast like this can satisfy all my cravings when it comes to Mexican food. The potatoes are perfect for meal prep – they can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week and reheated really well in the microwave.

“Making these ‘crazy potatoes’ in advance and having them on hand is a lifesaver on busy mornings when I don’t have time to cook something from scratch. They’re also great to pack for a lunch.”

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 6 small to medium Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and roughly chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 large or 3 medium poblano chiles, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • cooked beans such as frijoles de la olla (see recipe above) for serving (optional)
  • corn or flour tortillas for serving (optional)
  • cooked rice for serving (optional)

Method

Warm a large pan over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the avocado oil, cumin seeds, crushed red pepper, and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent and slightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the all potatoes and the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, poblanos, jalapeño, salt, and black pepper; turn the heat to medium-low; cover; and simmer until the tomatoes are still mostly intact while the other vegetables are slightly browned and aromatic, 6 to 8 minutes.

If the mixture is a bit dry, stir in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed.

Serve the papas locas on its own or pair with rice, beans and tortillas.

Chilaquiles rojos

vegan chilaquiles rojos recipe
Vegan Mexican breakfast recipes: Edgar Castrejón's chilaquiles rojos

Edgar says: “One morning after a fiesta, I got to sit alone with my abuelita and watch as she fried tortillas and roasted tomatoes and chiles. She said, ‘Mijo, estos son chilaquiles rojos,’ meaning ‘Son, these are red chilaquiles’; and since I was the first one awake, I would get the best chilaquiles, as they are best served immediately. She was right; those chilaquiles had the crispiest bite and the most flavourful sauce.

“Chilaquiles is a simple dish that’s easy to prepare for breakfast and often made using leftover tortillas, tomatoes, and black beans from the dinner before. It’s a much-loved Mexican meal that makes everyone happy.”

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 5 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, roughly chopped
  • ½ medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • fine sea salt
  • 85g shredded vegan cheese (I like vegan mozzarella), plus more for topping
  • frijoles fritos (see recipe below) or black beans for topping
  • sliced avocado for topping
  • chopped red onion for topping
  • chopped coriander leaves and tender stems for topping

Method

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Lightly coat two or three baking sheets with cooking spray.

Cut each tortilla into four equal wedges, arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets, and then lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake until crisp, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat, warm the avocado oil. Add four-fifths of the tomatoes, the jalapeño, white onion, garlic, and adobo sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to a high-powered blender or large food processor. Set the uncleaned pan aside.

Add the vinegar, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt to the vegetables in the blender and blend until smooth. Return the mixture to the pan and simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low, then taste and add more salt, if needed.

Add the baked tortillas and fold gently into the sauce. Add the 75g vegan cheese and simmer until the cheese is (mostly) melted, about 5 minutes.

Serve the chilaquiles topped with beans, avocado, the remaining tomato, red onion, additional cheese and coriander, as desired.

Frijoles fritos

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp coconut manna or coconut oil
  • 4 to 6 chiles de árbol or dried Japanese chiles (depending on heat preference)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 3 400g cans pinto beans; one can rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt

Method

Warm a large pan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the coconut manna, dried chiles, and garlic; turn the heat to low; and cook, stirring, until the chiles and garlic are dark brown, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat if it starts to burn (you’ll see steam).

Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the chiles and garlic, leaving the oil in the pan.

Add the beans and liquid to the pan and mash with a potato masher, leaving half the beans whole, then bring to a boil and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt before serving.

Provecho: 100 Vegan Mexican Recipes To Celebrate Culture And Community (£25, Ten Speed Press) is out now

Reprinted with permission, copyright © 2021. Ten Speed Press is an imprint of Penguin Random House

Images: © 2021 Edgar Castrejón

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