Earth Day Burrito Bake!

EARTH DAY is a time to reflect on how we may help to lower our personal carbon footprint. As more of us become passionate about following a plant-based, eco-friendly-lifestyle, the question of how our individual food choices impacts the environment is a major player in the conversation.

                                  

As a dedicated vegan myself, I follow a plant-based life path for three reasons:

1) Compassion for animals. 2) Better health. 3) Eco-responsibility.

 

The impact we make on our Mother Earth when consuming animal products, is addressed by the website, takeextinctionoffyourplate.com stating that “Meat production is one of the main drivers of environmental degradation globally, and the crisis is rapidly growing worse…By reducing our meat consumption, we can take extinction off our plates and improve our own health along with the health of the planet.”

So whether you are already vegan, thinking of going plant-based full time, or simply pondering adding more vegan meals into your weekly menu plan, the best thing to do is to start adding plant-based versions of dishes that you are already familiar with to your diet. Classic favorites like chili, lasagna, pasta, veggie burgers with baked fries, or a main dish salad, soup, sandwich, casserole or easy stew are a great way to start on the path toward eating more veggies, fruit, grains, legumes and nuts - and it’s an effective way to start lowering your carbon footprint.

 

So for Earth Day I'm sharing my popular Earth Day Burrito Bake with Vegan Sour “Cream," an easy, but hearty recipe, with a classic taste.

My steam/bake method for cooking these delicious burritos makes them slightly crisp on the outside and super moist on the inside. I have been making this dish for many years and it continues to be a favorite midweek, 'go-to' recipe in my kitchen.

My “Vegan Sour “Cream” makes a realistic substitute for the dairy variety, and it works well as a base for dressings and dips, spooned over baked potatoes or chili, or served with my Easy Burrito Bake. When I served this to the crew on the set of my television show, they were amazed by how much it tastes like actual sour cream!

Happy Earth Day, everyone!


Easy Earth Day Burrito Bake

Makes 4 servings  

4 10- to 11-inch whole-grain tortillas

2 to 2¼ cups cooked pinto beans (depending on the size of your tortillas) (drained and rinsed

if canned)

8 heaping tablespoons prepared salsa, plus more for serving

1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese

6 cups, well packed, mixed spring greens or baby spinach

Vegan Sour “Cream,” for serving, (see recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line an 11 x 17-inch baking dish with unbleached parchment paper, allowing a 7-inch overhang on the two lengthwise sides of the dish.

Put a tortilla on a large dinner plate. On one side of the tortilla, layer one-quarter of the beans, 2 heaping tablespoons salsa, one-quarter of the vegan cheese, and 1 cup of the greens. Roll the tortilla tightly around the filling and place it seam-side down on the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Bring the sides of the parchment paper over the burritos, fold it over, and seal tightly. (This will keep the burritos from drying out as they bake.) Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before carefully unwrapping the parchment. (Inside will be very steamy and hot!)

For each serving, drizzle some of the Vegan Sour “Cream” on a colorful dinner plate. Put a burrito on top of the Vegan Sour “Cream” and spoon salsa over the top. Drizzle with more Vegan Sour “Cream” and serve the remaining greens on top, or on the side.

Vegan Sour “Cream”

Makes 6 to 8 servings  

16 ounces soft silken or regular tofu, drained

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Put the tofu, lemon juice, and sea salt in a blender and process until smooth. Taste and add additional lemon juice and sea salt, if desired. Chill 1 hour and serve.