Burritos with Beans and Greens

I wish my mother had thought of making burritos from Swiss chard. I might have eaten my greens as a child and liked them.

My farm box of fresh veggies arrives twice a month, and this time of year it’s full of greens. Chard, kale, beet, spinach, mustard and collard greens have all made an appearance at my table recently. One of my family’s favorite ways to eat them is in a burrito full of pinto beans and saffron rice. I use a bit of cheese in this recipe, but it can become vegan simply by omitting it. There is so much flavor in these guys that you won’t miss cheese if you’re a recent convert to dairy-free living. I use whatever cheese I happen to have on hand and do so sparingly. Cheddar, Monterey Jack, cojito or feta all work well here.

About the rice — I say make your favorite kind. Lately I’ve been making packaged yellow rice from Vigo because I’m lazy. Homemade would be better, less salty and richer in saffron flavor. You can also make Mexican or Spanish rice in advance from scratch. The point is this recipe needs a well-flavored rice. Plain is too boring. Whatever rice you choose, make sure you start with 1 cup uncooked rice to yield enough for 4-6 servings.

This will make 6 burritos.


  • Prepared rice. See note above.
  • 6 – 10 inch tortillas. Flour or whole wheat.
  • 1 onion, diced.
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste.
  • 1 teaspoon minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced.
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin.
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano.
  • 1 pound (half a kilo) of Swiss chard or beet greens or kale or collards. Wash. Remove stems and spines. Roll up the leaves into a tight cigar and slice into thin strips (1-2 cm or half to three-quarters of an inch wide).
  • 1 cup vegetable stock.
  • 1 can (150z; 425g) pinto beans, drained and rinsed.
  • juice from 2 limes.
  • salt and pepper.
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.
  • shredded or crumbled cheese.


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of neutral vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook until soft and turning color.
  3. Stir in tomato paste, chipotle, garlic, jalapeño, cumin, oregano, and a big pinch of salt. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Add your greens and 1/2 cup vegetable stock. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until greens are tender.
  5. Use a potato masher to roughly mash the beans together with another 1/2 cup of stock in a bowl.
  6. Stir the beans into the pot of greens. Cook, continuing to stir until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Off heat, stir in lime juice and cilantro.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  9. Place tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Warm them on medium power until pliable. 1-2 minutes.
  10. To assemble the burritos spoon rice and filling in a line in center of toritilla. Spinkle with cheese if using. Roll the bottom tightly over filling and fold in sides then finish rolling over the top. If not serving right away, place each burrito into a ceramic dish. Cover with foil and reheat in the oven later.

Serve with homemade pico de gallo and diced avocado, more lime and cilantro.

Leave a Reply