Day 130: Veggie Burritos with Cilantro Sauce ♥

Veggie Burritos with Cilantro Sauce ♥, a vegetarian 'concept' recipe for what's on hand, gorgeous sauce. Very adaptable! Rave reviews!
graphic button small size size 10 Today's recipe for a vegetarian supper for Meatless Monday: So what if you just cooked up a few vegetables, whatever you've got on hand, made sure to use lots of warm spices, rolled it all up in soft, warm tortillas and then draped them with a gorgeous green sauce? Heaven on a plate, truly. Very adaptable, a "concept" recipe.

WAY BACK IN 2005 Carnivores should eat so well! This delicious dish reminded me of the cooking I did during several meatless years. I didn't call myself a vegetarian – that suggested a lifestyle versus a food choice – but I didn't eat meat. There are still lots of meatless meals around here but this veggie-lentil combination somehow hearkened back to those years. It's a delicious dish but it's also extremely adaptable. Feeding a few more? Add more vegetables or some cooked chickpeas. Want to serve as a side to grilled meat? Perfect. How about as a main dish? Or wrapped in half a soft thin pita or a whole wheat tortilla? Want to add meat? Sure, no problem, a little steak, a little chicken. (About that animal protein? Note to Vegetarians)

But here's the thing, there was no getting enough of the sauce! All bright and fresh-tasting, the sauce maybe looks better on top but it tastes better inside, all mushed up with the lentils and veggies.

UPDATE #1 Sure enough, this recipe delivered again, this time with a mix of potato, tomato, corn and red lentils, with fresh spinach and lime juice added at the last minute. The good news too, is that with the cover off the skillet, the vegetables cooked quickly. Supper was on the table in 30 minutes flat.

UPDATE #2 Acck, twas five o'clock and no supper plan in mind. Veggie Burritos to the rescue! This time, I cooked sweet potatoes instead of red potatoes and lentils, half a poblano and a little adobo sauce instead a jalapeño, a big tomato from the garden and no spinach since I had an arugula salad on the side. And the sauce? It's g-r-e-a-t with arugula! Dinner was saved! PS One important thing about the sauce? It adds almost as much protein as the filling itself.

"... the burritos with cilantro sauce will be MUCH used at our house." ~ 80K
"... tried the sauce and loved it!" ~ Judith
"Great recipe ... the flavor and combination were outstanding." ~ bookworks
"Wow! That was great! ... it was fantastic!" ~ Patti


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes about 4 cups of filling, 1 1/2 cups sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped, about 1 cup
2 teaspoons curry powder and/or cumin
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño
2 small red potatoes, skins on, sliced very thin then diced finely
1 large fresh tomato, chopped
1/2 cup lentils (brown or red will quick the most quickly)
3 cups vegetable broth or even just water
Salt & pepper to taste

6 ounces fresh spinach (baby spinach is fine but curly spinach has more flavor)
Juice of a lime or a lemon (the brightness this adds is really important so don't skip it)

Other Ideas:
Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in batons
Eggplant, cubed
Mushrooms, wash, caps broken into large pieces, stems chopped
Tomatillos, husked, washed, chopped
Zucchini, trimmed, chopped
Fresh corn, sliced off the ear right into the skillet
Sun-dried tomatoes or roasted tomatoes

1/2 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup) or arugula (a big handful or two)
1-1/2 cups "milky" liquid (see ALANNA'S TIPS)
3 green onions, white and green parts or 1 tablespoon minced onion
2 teaspoons garlic
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sugar (important - don't skip this)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
Salt to taste
Cayenne (a tiny sprinkle was perfect)

Whole wheat tortillas, warmed

VEGGIE FILLING Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet on MEDIUM HIGH until shimmery. While the pan and oil heat, chop the onion. Add the onion and curry/cumin to the hot pan, combine well and cook for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally. Add the jalapeño, combine well and cook until the onions begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in the potato, tomato (and any other vegetables) and lentils and stir well to combine with onion mixture. Stir in the broth and add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and let simmer (reduce heat if needed) until liquid is nearly gone and the lentils are soft, about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the spinach, letting the mixture's heat barely cook the tender leaves. Stir in the lime juice.

CILANTRO SAUCE Rinse cilantro under running water, shake briskly then let drain over side of sink while assembling other ingredients. Combine all the ingredients (except the salt and cayenne) in a blender, including the drained cilantro. Taste and salt if needed and do add a bit of cayenne.

TO SERVE Warm tortillas for a minute or two in a day skillet, fill with Veggie Filling, drizzle with Cilantro Sauce. Gorgeous!

"MILKY" LIQUIDS I use what's on hand. Examples include a mix of non-fat yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese; a mix of keffir and buttermilk; a mix of cottage cheese and buttermilk.

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Still Hungry?


~ Broccoli & Tomato Thai Curry ~
~ Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes ~
~ Chickpeas with Tomatoes, Spinach & Feta ~
~ more vegetarian supper recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Mediterranean Eggplant ~
~ Squash & Carrot Stew ~
~ Broccoli Rigatoni with Chickenpeas & Lemon ~
~ more vegetarian main-dish recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005, 2008 (repub), 2014 & 2015 (repub)
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. This dish looks and sounds delicious! Do you thinnk I could sub soymilk for the cilantro sauce or would it need an addition of something more substantial such as soy yogurt?

  2. I think a blend would be best, the soymilk too liquid, the yogurt too thick. But yes, this is definitely an easy-to-convert to vegan recipe!

  3. AnonymousJuly 17, 2008

    Alanna, the burritos with cilantro sauce will be MUCH used at our house. I printed it first thing. Both M&A rebel against lentils, but I can throw a handful in with some vegetarian baked beans. And the sauce looks fabulous -- I love cilantro and this looks perfect for me. Wonder how it would be on pancakes??? And as a dipping sauce for grilled cheese?? And overtop eggs on toasted English muffins? And maybe a little thicker, as the sauce on a Mexican pizza? OK, so maybe not the pancakes. But maybe in an open-faced ham sandwich, with a waffle instead of bread. Note to self: add cilantro to the grocery list.

  4. thanks for the veganizing tip!

  5. I love veggie burritos and this filling looks terrific! I love the nutty taste and texture of lentils. Teamed with the spice and prettiness of the cilantro sauce it makes a brilliant dinner entree. Thanks!

    Btw - are you able to grow enough cilantro to provide for recipes like this? My cilantro plants never produce a great quantity of leaves. Luckily cilantro is inexpensive to buy by the bunch.

  6. 30 minutes flat and lentils: can't beat that. I'm always happy with new lentil recipes - cilantro, potato and I can add a little spinach, you won't mind will you;))

  7. Lis ~ I've long given up on growing cilantro, there's just no growing enough. Plus, you're right, it's cheap at the grocery and if you keep it in a glass of water, it lasts for a week or more.

  8. Alanna, I tried the sauce (here) and loved it! I couldn't find a perfect complement, though, so maybe I just need to make the darned burritos, haha.

  9. Great recipe. I soaked the red lentils in water while I cooked the onion and jalapeno. The veggies and lentils were actually tender in 20-25 minutes. I added Swiss Chard from our CSA box. Added the stems to the lentil potato mixture and added the greens at the end. I was lucky enough to be able to buy spelt tortillas made by a local farmer and sold at the market. I think the only change I would make would be to add a bit less liquid to the cilantro sauce. However, the flavor and combination were outstanding. Thanks for an excellent recipe which we had today for brunch.

  10. Bookworks ~ Yay, another fan! And I do so love to hear how other cooks make the recipes their own, your description had me drooling! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know how it all went ...

  11. Wow! That was great! Here's what I really love about this recipe (beside how yummy it is): It's perfect for using up whatever veggies you have that need to be used up, including the cilantro that always seems to go brown on me too soon. As a gardener, I always end up with a random pile of whatever on my counter this time of year, and I suspect just about anything in that pile would be great in this burrito. I used a small eggplant, some dinosaur kale, a couple of tomatillos, some dried tomatoes frozen from last year that needed to vacate for this year's batch, a piece of a Serrano pepper (yeah, I like it hot), plus a Portobello mushroom and half a sweet potato from the store. I would never have thought to throw all those things together into one dish -- but it was fantastic! This recipe is going to be a staple of my late-summer diet. Thanks!

  12. Patti ~ Oh my, what a great way to put this! And I so know what you mean, our garden is putting out in spits and starts this year, never enough of “one thing” to cook with. For my style of cooking, that’s hard! I’m so glad these burritos work for you, truly!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna