Another new year, another basics post (last year's is here). They feel good right as the calendar turns.
Fresh meals are great, but there's serious value in having a small stack of burritos tucked into the freezer for effortless meals at any time of the day. These are made with pillowy potato, fluffy seared tofu, creamy avocado, and seriously spiced pinto beans. They're filling enough for lunch or dinner, but their convenience works especially nicely for breakfast, since savory breakfasts tend to take a little more effort than sweeter grain-based ones.
Any meal you choose, this is a session of batch cooking that really pays off. There are a few items to prepare separately, so it's wise to wait until you're in the mood to cook to put these together. Even so, there are no advanced moves here, and you'll simply cook the tofu and beans in shifts while the potatoes take care of themselves in the oven—read through the recipe before beginning to anticipate a little multitasking that really helps. Roll them up, bake them off, and eat breezily for days.
Tofu, Potato, and Pinto Bean Burritos
yields 8 burritos
3 cups frozen hash browns (look for a brand that contains nothing but potatoes)
1 15-oz can pinto beans
2 TBSP olive oil, divided
14-16 oz firm tofu
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup vegetable broth (not tomato-based)
1 TBSP reduced-sodium tamari
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP maple syrup (grade B preferred)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp applewood smoked salt (or fine sea or kosher salt)
3/4 tsp ground cumin
8 10-inch flour tortillas
1 avocado, pitted
to serve, salsa of choice
Heat oven to 350. Spread hash browns over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle lightly with salt and bake until browning around the edges of the pan, 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain and rinse beans in a fine sieve. Set aside to let drain thoroughly. Drain tofu. Heat one tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble the tofu roughly through your fingers into the pan. Spread into roughly one layer. Top with nutritional yeast, oregano, garlic salt, and a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper, to taste. Let cook, undisturbed, five minutes. (While the tofu cooks, measure out the spices for the beans into a small bowl.) Toss. Let cook another three minutes, undisturbed. Toss and cook another two minutes. Toss and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the same skillet. Carefully—the skillet will be quite hot—add beans, broth, tamari, vinegar, maple syrup, paprika, smoked salt, and cumin. Let cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has cooked off, 5-7 minutes. While the beans cook, use a sharp knife to cut the flesh of each avocado half into eighths. Scoop the slices from the skin with a spoon and set aside on a small plate for assembly. When the potatoes are done, move the parchment off the baking sheet (you'll use it to bake the burritos now) and onto your assembly work counter.
Increase oven temperature to 375. To assemble, heat tortillas (microwave works quickly for this, if you have one). Assemble using about a scant quarter-cup potato, one-quarter cup tofu, a generous tablespoon of pinto beans, and two slices of avocado for each burrito. Roll up and place seam-down on the baking sheet. Bake until crisped and beginning to brown at the edges, about 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve with salsa.