Friday recipe: baked bean and cheese burritos

I do not come from a bean-eating family. “They make my teeth sharp,” my father always complained, a curious description that somehow made sense. Those enormous Navy beans plopped on our school-lunch trays (this was the late Sixties/early Seventies, people) made my brown-bag lunch of Miracle Whip and lettuce on Wonderbread (I know, I know) taste even more divine. Those cloyingly sweet Van Camp’s pork-and-beans were not, and still are not, my cup of legumes. And those bags of dried beans stashed on the grocery store’s bottom shelves – what exactly does one do with those, anyway?

Then I grew up and – likely thanks to the Mexican restaurants we frequented in college – I discovered refried beans and black beans. I learned that beans are cheap and nutritious. And while Navy beans still give me the shivers, I’ve learned that white beans and kidney beans whizzed up in one’s food processor make a great substitute for sour cream and mayo in just about any dip recipe.

Pretty - and pretty darned good for you, too.
Pretty – and pretty darned good for you, too.

Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, two important components in managing or losing weight. The focus of a recent discussion in DMU’s Wellness Center kitchen, protein and fiber help you feel satisfied without packing in the calories. In conjunction with increased physical activity, adequate protein in your diet – a recommended 10 to 35 percent of your total calories – can help you retain muscle mass. Fiber can enhance weight management, because it slows absorption of food from the small intestine, helping you feel full longer.

To demonstrate that beans also are delicious, the Wellness Center crew recently baked up a batch of yummy burritos. Bonus: They make a quick and easy-to-prepare lunch or dinner, as the ingredients are simple to stock.

Baked bean and cheese burritos
Serves 4    

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • 1 seeded chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 16-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup diced tomato
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 7-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • ½ cup shredded low-fat fontina cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free salsa

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper. Cook, stirring until onion is translucent, 2-3 minutes.

Stir in pinto beans. Using a potato masher or fork, mash beans until almost smooth. Stir in tomato, cumin and salt.

Place one fourth of the bean mixture in the center of each tortilla and roll each up. Place burritos seam side down in small baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray; sprinkle burritos evenly with cheese. Bake until heated through, 10-15 minutes. Place a burrito on each of 4 plates and top each with salsa.

Nutritional info per serving: calories, 165.7; total fat, 4.5g; saturated fat, 1.8g; polyunsaturated fat, 0.5g; monounsaturated fat, 1g; cholesterol, 7.5mg; sodium, 726.8mg; potassium, 359.4mg; total carbohydrate, 27.9g; dietary fiber, 13.4g; sugars, 0g; protein, 14g.

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