Being oil-free makes it difficult to buy anything packaged. For the most part, this isn’t a problem; I don’t really enjoy most packaged foods anyway, and most of them are full of other additives and garbage that I’d rather not put in my body. But every once and a while it’s nice to be able to pick something up that has a reasonably sized ingredient list, isn’t too expensive and–most importantly for me–isn’t going to result in serious distress after eating it.
Hence my excitement when I discovered Upton’s Naturals seitan at my local co-op. I don’t usually give vegan meat analogues a second look, but this caught my eye for a couple of reasons. One, it was on sale (always a big draw). Two, it comes in varieties like Italian, Bacon and Chorizo, flavors of seitan I don’t make myself. I couldn’t resist; I grabbed a package and read the ingredients, fully expecting to find oil among them as is often the case.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that, not only is there no oil, this stuff is fairly low in sodium and has real ingredients and zero preservatives. How often does that happen? Of course, I had to pick some up. I went with the chorizo pretty much because the bacon kind was out of stock (no surprise there). I’d only had vegan chorizo once before from Trader Joe’s, and I hate to say it because I’m quite a big fan of TJ’s, but the stuff was so oily and salty that it made me sick to my stomach. I’d never had chorizo before going vegan so I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pretty sure a big pile of reddish processed stuff wasn’t it.
Enter Upton’s to change my chorizo views. Their version of this spicy Mexican sausage is light, chewy and flavorful, and it makes a great basis for a burrito filling. I can’t remember what got me searching for chorizo burrito ideas, but I found several around the Intarwebs that gave me inspiration for this recipe. (Do people still say “Intarwebs?”)
These burritos are chock full of savory sauteed onions and peppers along with silky wilted spinach and that all-star of comfort food, potatoes. Wrapped up in a warm tortilla (homemade, if you can!) with some diced tomatoes, these burritos are the answer to any chorizo cravings you might be having. You could also sneak these on unsuspecting omnis and I tell you, they’ll never know they’re eating vegan food.
Of course, until you tell them and they go, “WHAT NO WAY AWESOME.”
Also, it’s greens season here in the Northeast. Today at the farmer’s market, I saw spinach, kale, mustard greens, chard and lots of awesome herbs, and I’ve already inhaled a bunch of kohlrabi greens, dandelion greens and arugula. If you can get your hands on some spinach at your local farmer’s market, I highly encourage you to do so! Whether or not you use it in burritos, you can’t go wrong with fresh, seasonal green leafy veggies!
- For the filling
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 green chile, seeded and minced
- 4oz. vegan chorizo, crumbled
- 1/3lb. potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
- 2 cups baby spinach or chopped spinach leaves
- chili powder, to taste
- cumin, to taste
- To serve:
- 2 large tortillas, homemade or sprouted storebought
- chopped tomatoes
- Place a vegetable steamer in a small saucepan with about 1 inch of water underneath. Add the potatoes, cover, bring to a boil and steam until tender, 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the pan doesn’t boil dry.
- In a medium-sized skillet, saute the garlic, onions and bell peppers over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add splashes of water to the pan if necessary to prevent sticking. Add the chiles and chorizo and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the chorizo is browned, about 5 minutes more.
- When the potatoes are done, add them to the skillet along with the chili powder and cumin. Stir to evenly distribute the spices and cook for a few minutes until the potatoes begin to brown. Toss in the spinach and cook until wilted, 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- To serve, heat the tortillas in a pan or a warm oven until pliable. Divide the filling between the tortillas and top with chopped tomatoes and anything else you think would taste good. Roll up and enjoy!
Oh, and another fun thing about Upton’s? Each variety features the same character/mascot, but with a different style of mustache depending on what kind of seitan it is. I get a huge kick out of stuff like that!
Nobody gave me anything in exchange for babbling on about Upton’s. I just got really, really excited about finding a natural, oil-free premade seitan!