I tried hard not to jump on the taco bandwagon. Really, I did. Instead I made burritos. 🙂 You can call them wraps if you like, I won’t judge. Either way, despite the fact that mastering the wrapping technique has taken me most of my adult life (tip: though you may want to pile in a mountain of filling, don’t), I think you’ll find that these babies are easier to hold and eat without various delicious sauces dribbling down to your elbows than are the more slapdash tacos (no offense; I love you, tacos!).
Actually, if you want to get all technical, these are probably not ‘real’ burritos. They contain no meat, beans or cheese. In fact, they’re vegan – although you could totally play around and add massive handfuls of mozzarella as per the recipe I based this on. Being a bit of a cheese fiend, I would personally be totally up for this. I was, however, called on to provide a vegan main for a family holiday dinner and I think that the substitution of massive handfuls of grated tofu is both wholly satisfying and similarly protein-y (though not as melty).
This recipe was adapted and veganized from a quesadilla recipe created by Miriam Kasin Hospodar, which appears in her Ayurvedic vegetarian cookbook, Heaven’s Banquet. It’s a massive book containing over 700 vegetarian recipes inspired by numerous food cultures and, as well as giving a useful introduction to the Ayurvedic approach to wellbeing through diet, it is also full of delightfully quirky little stories and nuggets of wisdom, both culinary and otherwise.
Sesame-Pistachio Cauliflower Burritos
PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 50-60 MINS
Approx 5 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp nigella seeds
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp whole mustard seeds
4 tsp whole cumin seeds
One medium-sized head of cauliflower, finely chopped
2-3 red peppers, thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper
Approx 10 sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
60g / 2oz shelled roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
300g / 10.5oz firm tofu
50g / 2oz spring onions, chopped
8 large flour tortillas
8 ripe tomatoes
1/4 of a small onion
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
3 tbsp olive oil
Handful of fresh coriander, leaves and stalks
Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat. When it is warm, add 4 tbsp of the olive oil, followed by the sesame and nigella seeds. Sauté the seeds over a medium-low heat until the sesame takes on some colour. Then add the garlic, ginger, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and sauté everything, stirring, for about 30 seconds.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the cauliflower and red peppers to the pan, sprinkle with soya sauce and some black pepper and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the vegetables cook gently in their own juices, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the sundried tomatoes and pistachios. Leave the pan uncovered on a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower browns a little bit.
- Meanwhile, wrap the block of tofu in paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Coarsely grate the tofu and add to the pan. Stir and check the seasoning. Add a little more soya sauce or salt if needed.
- Remove from the heat. Set some of the spring onions aside for a garnish and stir the rest into the pan.
- Place a tortilla flat on a plate or chopping board. Put 5 tbsp of the cauliflower mix in the centre of the tortilla (see pic below). Fold in the sides of the tortilla. Fold up the bottom quarter of the tortilla so it covers about half of the mix. Fold the bottom part of the tortilla up again so all the mix is enclosed inside. Place, open side down, in a baking tray. Repeat with the other tortillas.
- Brush the burritos with the remaining olive oil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until they turn a light golden colour.
- Garnish the burritos with the remaining spring onion and serve with the simple salsa on the side.
I find that the textural combination of the finely chopped cauliflower with the nuts and seeds almost mimics that of minced beef but the result is a far lighter, fresher and less oily burrito. Try them and let us know what you think!