Make Ahead

Rice & Bean Hand-Snack Burritos From JJ Johnson

September 15, 2023
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Photo by Food52
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

For me, a burrito is the perfect vessel for rice. I call it a hand snack (though these are filling enough for lunch or dinner) after the traditional Mexican street food that I became enamored with on my first trip to Mexico, shortly after I graduated from culinary school. It was the first time I’d traveled with my chef lens on. I’ll never forget the experience of stumbling out of a club at 2 A.M. to get a burrito from the Isla Mujeres food-stall vendors—ladies selling tortillas stuffed with beans and flavored rice, cooked in cast-iron pans and sprinkled with lime juice. I reveled in the pull of the melted cheese, the grains of rice falling onto my shirt front, my friends laughing, and music pulsing from inside the club. This dish incorporates two other recipes in the book—Cuban black beans and cilantro lime rice—but really, this recipe is a blueprint, and you should feel free to follow it loosely, subbing in other grilled or sautéed veggies, cheeses, or rice. It makes a perfect meal if you have leftover Peruvian-Style Arroz con Pollo to add to the tortillas. And it’s a fun recipe to do with kids, mixing and matching ingredients to taste. Just make sure to use large tortillas, and don’t overstuff them, or they will be hard to fold up (and will no longer be a hand snack!). —Food52

Test Kitchen Notes

Excerpted from The Simple Art of Rice: Recipes from Around the World for the Heart of Your Table by JJ Johnson. Copyright © 2023, Flatiron BooksFood52

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Rice & Bean Hand-Snack Burritos From JJ Johnson
  • For the burritos:
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal)
  • 1/2 cup Cuban black beans
  • 1/3 cup cilantro lime rice
  • 2 large (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 ripe plum tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

  • For the Cuban black beans:
  • 1 pound fresh Mexican chorizo or plant-based chorizo
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • 3 (15.8-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal)

  • For the cilantro lime rice:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed, leaves chopped
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 3 limes)
  1. Make the beans: Remove the casings from the chorizo. Warm 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the chorizo and cook for about 10 minutes, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, until it is well browned. Drain off and discard the excess fat. Set the chorizo aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven or other large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
  3. Add half the cilantro, the beans, stock, bay leaves, cumin, adobo, and salt, then stir in the cooked chorizo. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn off the heat. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. Make the rice: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the rice, stir, and sauté for about 4 minutes, until lightly colored. Add the water, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the rice steam, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and add the salt, chopped cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  5. Make the burritos: Heat the oven to 400°F. Put the onion and bell pepper on a sheet pan, add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil and the salt, and toss to combine. Spread the vegetables out and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until somewhat tender and charred. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  6. Rewarm the black beans and rice, if necessary.
  7. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. One at a time, place the tortillas in the dry skillet and warm for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.
  8. Place the tortillas on a work surface. Spoon half of the black beans, the vegetables, and the rice onto the center of each one and top with the lettuce, tomato, and cheese. Fold the bottom half of each tortilla up over the filling, tuck in the sides, and roll up into a neat package.
  9. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet until it’s very hot. Add the burritos and cook for a minute on each side, or until golden. Serve hot.

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