Vegan Food Nerd

Burrito Bowl with cuban style black beans

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20140822_175446Burritos are definitely easy to make vegan with rice and beans and loads of veggies. There’s also this great soya cheese that you can find at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market that melts and adds a great cheddar taste. I have tried other non dairy cheeses in the past, and this is definitely my favourite option and has made a world of difference to grilled cheese sandwiches, pizzas (the plain soya is like a mozzarella) and of course, burritos! The only problem is that I recently looked up the brand’s ingredients and discovered they use casein (a protein derived from milk) in their soy cheeses. Most vegans would say that this cheese is off limits due to this. While I try to be vegan as much as possible and avoid dairy, I still eat this soya cheese from time to time because it’s still a great tasting product and doesn’t hurt my stomach.

This burrito bowl allows you to throw in all the fixings without then struggling to wrap it and try to bite into it without everything spilling out. I like to eat with a fork until there’s a manageable amount of filling, and then wrap up what’s left in my bowl for an easy/clean/delicious finish! The awesome thing is that you can also make this with whatever fillings you like and have available. I made this particular version with cuban style black beans, cilantro lime rice, chipotle veggie ground, steamed sweet potatoes and a few veggies to top it with. I don’t use veggie ground often at all, but it tasted good with the rest of the fillings.


  • There are quite a few steps, but you can still easily get this on the table fairly quickly. I made this for a quick/easy meal one night but the steps can seem a bit daunting.
  • Put the rice on first as it takes the longest and once it’s covered you don’t want to open it again until it’s done anyways. Then get your beans cooking – the longer they cook, the more flavours they will absorb. I happen to have a steamer that fits on a few of my pots, so I chose to steam my sweet potatoes using the beans and their liquid. This saves time and a burner on the stove and they should be done cooking when your beans are done. Then prep all of your garnish/toppings and lastly quickly saute your veggie ground. Everything should be ready by the time the rice is finished. You can also cook the rice ahead of time since it will stay warm in a covered pot for about an hour.
  • This is a very quick version of cuban black beans – they still have a lot of flavour without the hours needed cooking dry black beans. You can find a more authentic recipe if that is what you are looking for.


Cilantro Lime Rice

1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups of water
1 no salt added veg bouillon cube
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
juice from one lime
1 tsp olive oil
1-2 tsp salt (depending on your preference)
pepper to taste

1) Add water to a small or medium sized pot with bouillon cube and bring to a boil.

2) Add rice, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.

3) Stir and cover and reduce heat to allow the rice to simmer. It will take 30-40 minutes to absorb all of the water.

4) When cooked, fluff with a fork. Leave covered if not ready to serve yet so that it stays warm.

Cuban-style black beans and steamed sweet potato

1/2 a large onion, diced
1/2 a green pepper, diced
1 jalapeno diced small, seeds removed (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 an orange
3/4 cup veggie broth
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tbsp white vinegar (or red wine or apple cider vinegar)
1 lime, freshly juiced
1 large sweet potato cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1) Preheat your pot over medium heat, add oil, onions and green peppers. Saute until onions are translucent. Add jalapeno if using and saute another 2 minutes.

2) Add garlic, and saute another 30 seconds to 1 minute (the garlic will become fragrant). Add oregano, cumin, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste and stir with the onion mixture.

3) Add veggie broth, beans and squeeze your orange juice into the pot. Throw the orange half into the pot as well to allow the beans to absorb more citrus flavour.

4) Cover pot and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring a few times. If the liquid cooks down too much, feel free to add a bit more water. As mentioned in the notes, this is also when you can steam your sweet potato while the beans are cooking, otherwise steam in a separate apparatus.

5) Remove orange half, and add cilantro, vinegar and lime juice. Stir and taste for salt and seasonings and adjust as needed. Serve immediately, or leave covered until ready to use.

Chipotle Ground Round

1/2 package of yves original ground round
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp chipotle hot sauce of choice (we used Cholula)
or some chopped chipotle peppers would probably work here

1) Saute all ingredients together until browned and heated through.

Garnishes (use any combination you like)

  • chopped raw green pepper
  • red onion, diced small
  • chopped cilantro
  • grated veggie cheese of choice
  • salsa
  • avocado or guacamole
  • cooked corn kernels
  • pico de gallo or just some chopped tomato
  • veg sour cream (such as tofutti or make your own! coconut milk or cashews make a great base and there are lots of recipes out there)
  • hot sauce!

Build your bowl

Use a large bowl and line with a large whole wheat flour tortilla briefly warmed up in the microwave. Add a few spoonfuls of the rice, top with a few spoonfuls of the beans, some sweet potato, ground round and whatever garnishes you prefer.

Makes 3-4 large servings. Any of the recipes here can easily be doubled as well if you want leftovers or have more mouths to feed.


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