I have a fantastic group of friends. A night spent laughing around the dinner table with them rivals any ab-killing exercise I’ve ever experienced – you donkeys know who you are!
Last night I had the pleasure of hosting a little dinner fiesta with some of my buds; I am slowly getting brave enough to cook for larger groups of people. After years of cooking for one, and now two (although my boyfriend eats 3 normal-people-servings of most suppers), I have become accustomed to sizing thing up based on just the two of us. 4 serving dinners usually get the job done.
For me, cooking for a crowd comes with a few challenges. I have learned to pay extra attention to the timing of the meal’s separate dishes - nothing worse than having soggy roasted spuds while you’re waiting for the entree to finish baking, or having cold eggs to side that big stack of brunch pancakes. Planning is important!
The other thing that I’ve flubbed in cooking for a crew is the intensity of spices. Ask my boyfriend about the first time I made a meal for him and his friends! Major, painful, sweet-merciful-jesus pad thai failure.
Lesson Learned #1 – Take chili pepper flakes very seriously. They don’t mess around.
Lesson Learned #2 – Taste test as you go, and add any additional spices to your recipe gradually! Slow and steady wins this race. Your colon will thank you.
So, back to last night’s fiesta. I’m eating vegan this month, so I decided it’d be fun to find an awesome vegan dinner recipe and really showcase how tasty eating animal-free can be. With 4 boys around the table, I thought I might have my work cut out for me.
I found this recipe while perusing Angela’s vegan genius on Oh She Glows. Burritos are economical, fun, and easy to whip up. And who doesn’t love a ‘build your own’ style dinner? Takes me back to my childhood days of english muffin pizzas – my signature ‘pie’ was hotdogs and cheese slices. Classy!
For this occasion, I doubled Angela’s recipe and served the burritos up with an array of toppings – salsa, shredded cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and cilantro. And they were a hit! There was lots to go around, and even some leftovers. I stuffed a pita pocket with them the next day for lunch and the filling was still amazing; so deadly good, I have been eating it out of the bowl in the fridge, cold. Don’t judge me!
Above and beyond all things, these burritos are a mega nutritious. Butternut squash are vitamin A and B complex jackpots, plus you get a serious fibre and protein load from the black beans and bulgur. These stick to your ribs, big time!
Butternut Squash & Black Bean Burritos
Yield – 4 burritos
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cubed, & roasted (takes time, so be mindful of this step)
- 1/2 cup bulgur wheat (or brown rice, quinoa, millet, whatever you have!)
- 1 cup chopped sweet onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- 2 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
- One 15-oz can black beans (about 1.5-2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup shredded cheese (optional)
- 4 tortilla wraps (large or x-large)
- Toppings of choice: (avocado, salsa, vegan sour cream, spinach/lettuce, cilantro, etc)
Preheat oven to 425F and line a large glass dish with tinfoil. Drizzle olive oil on squash and give a shake of salt and pepper. Coat with hands. Roast chopped butternut squash for 45 mins. or until tender.
Cook your grain according to its directions
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add oil, onion, and minced garlic. Sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Now add in salt and seasonings and stir well.
Add chopped red pepper, black beans, and cooked rice and sauté for another 10 mins. on low.
When butternut squash is tender remove from oven and cool slightly. Add 1.5 cups of the cooked butternut squash to the skillet and stir well. You can mash the squash with a fork if some pieces are too large. Add cheese (optional) and heat another couple minutes.
Add bean filling to tortilla along with desired toppings. Wrap and serve. Leftover filling can be reheated the next day for lunch in a wrap, pita, or as a salad topper!