I’m sure some of you are asking what sort of trickery I’m going to present by suggesting a meatless beef burrito. I promise, no trickery is involved. Both my husband and I LOVE meat. That said, with the cost of premium mince (and you wouldn’t want to get anything less because you’d be paying for the fat that cooks away and isn’t consumed) on the rise and the recent reports from the export cattle industry, we wanted to look into perhaps not giving meat up entirely, but look into eating less meat-based meals during the week. Or, in this case, eating things we’d normally eat with meat, but with a substitute.
To those of you secretly groaning in your head, “Ugh, no, never.” give this a try! I promise my method of preparation won’t leave you hungry or dumping unfinished burritos in the bin. Have you ever spit out a Lord of the Fries burger? They’re pretty tasty, aren’t they? They’re also meatless. They use something called Textured Vegetable Protein, or TVP. You can buy TVP in many different forms, canned and ready to use, dry slices, dry meatball-sized chunks or dry minced. This is what we’ll be using for this burrito.
You can get TVP from most Chinese grocers, or online from these guys.
The best part about TVP in mince form is the texture. It feels like meat unlike veggie burgers made from tofu, legumes and nuts. Add the right seasonings and some might not suspect it isn’t meat if they weren’t told.
(I’ve only tested the mince form so I can’t vouch for the quality of the “sliced” or “meatball” versions.)
Meatless Beef Burritos
Ingredients you’ll need:
1 cup dried TVP mince
tsp granulated garlic
salt and pepper to taste
cumin to taste
lime (or lemon) juice
1 tsp parisian browning essence
1 beef stock cube or beef styled cubes (optional)
shredded iceburg lettuce
shredded cheese (I like colby)
tapatio hot sauce to taste
extra light sour cream (optional)
Comal or equivalent (hot plate or large dry pan to heat the tortillas)
In a bowl, add 1 cup of the dried TVP mince and 1 cup boiled hot water. The hot water will reconstitute the TVP. If you want to add a beef stock cube, add it now and mix it in well. (Personally, I don’t feel it needs it, but some people may like a beefier flavour.) Add to this the garlic, salt, pepper and cumin all to taste. Normally I add around 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp each. Squeeze in a little lime juice and about 1tsp of the parisian browning essence. This makes it look more like cooked beef mince. (It’s a psychological thing, but it does make it feel more like the real thing.) Mix well. It should look something like this when it’s done:
Pretty convincing, isn’t it?
Have your shredded cheese and shredded lettuce ready and heat your tortillas. I prefer to heat them on a hot plate rather than in the microwave because the microwave will make them go stiff and hard very quickly. If you heat them on a hot plate, they stay pliable and soft through the burrito folding process and well into eating-time. If using the large Mission tortillas, this batch should yield enough for four tortillas. If using the smaller flour tortillas, you might get six or eight burritos.
Once warmed, stack the tortillas on a preparing plate and add a couple tablespoons of the TVP mince, sour cream if you’re using it, the shredded cheese, shredded lettuce and some tapatio sauce. Then fold into a burrito and place on dinner plates. Continue until all burritos are made.
That’s it! Did I mention it’s cheap to make and lasts much longer than even frozen mince would in your freezer? Great for those on a budget. Quick as well.
Variations: You can use different filling ingredients as well. If you’ve made frijoles or spanish rice, the leftovers can be used to make burritos the next night. Mix it up.
If you make this, let me know what you think!