I honestly love buying frozen vegan burritos, especially from Amy’s. I often grab three or four when they’re on sale and keep them around for quick, hearty snacks or emergency work lunches. BUT, one of my goals for 2019 was to eat homemade food for more of my meals, so I spent a weekend in January making dozens of vegan burritos, freezing them and reheating them. For science. Science and financial benefit.
I’ve included instructions for making, freezing, reheating, and customizing your own homemade vegan burritos. Making my base recipe will save you an average of $2.10 per burrito as compared to store-bought burritos.
Vegan burritos: store-bought versus homemade
I wanted to be able to compare the cost and taste of my vegan black bean burritos to the ones available in the store, so I kept the fillings for this base recipe super simple. All you need is a batch of Instant Pot black beans, a batch of Instant Pot Mexican rice, and a little bit of salsa or hot sauce of your choice.
(Optional: You know me, I can’t get enough of my vegan cauliflower queso, so I made a batch of that too and I drizzled a little bit on each burrito. I also added some fresh cilantro, which I feel good about because I recently learned that just because I love cilantro, doesn’t mean I’m not a supertaster.)
With the basic bean-and-rice filling, you’ll need to buy the ingredients for those recipes along with a package of tortillas. Those recipes made enough for 14 burritos. The current price for an Amy’s vegan burrito at my local supermarket is $3.19. I went through my receipts and my total cost to make 14 burritos was $11.12*, which means…
The cost per burrito of my homemade recipe is approximately $0.79. And they said being vegan is expensive. It seems like the price of the Amy’s burritos can vary by store, so I’ll be conservative with my estimate and round down the price to $2.89, for a savings per burrito of $2.10.
Vegan burritos without an Instant Pot
You’ll notice my base recipe components for these vegetarian burritos require a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot. My stovetop renditions are coming soon, but in the meantime, I’ll point you to these stovetop black beans and this stovetop Mexican rice (substituting vegetable bouillon for the tomato bouillon). Both recipes make the same quantity as mine, so you will be able to make the same number of burritos.
Regardless of the cooking implement used, making the black beans from scratch is pretty crucial to the money-saving element of these burritos. You’ll nearly quadruple the cost of your beans if you buy them canned, so while you’ll still come out ahead of freezer aisle vegan burritos, the margin will be a lot slimmer. Food for thought.
Other vegan burrito mix-ins
While I’ve kept these very no-frills to get you started, you can add whatever fillings you like to your vegan freezer burritos. You’ll be most successful if you follow my same folding and freezing instructions, and keep the amount of filling to about 1/2 heaping cup total per tortilla. Here are a few ideas for changing it up:
- Swap out some or all of the black beans for copycat Chipotle tofu sofritas, jackfruit carnitas (low protein, but high deliciousness), or homemade soyrizo (high protein)
- Add sauteed spinach or kale, which take up almost no volume once wilted and add nutrition!
- Swap in some roasted sweet potato
- Use the filling from my chickpea scramble breakfast enchiladas to make breakfast burritos
The possibilities are endless! Just take care not to use anything that’s too watery or sharp (for lack of a better word). You don’t want the filling to seep out while you’re reheating the frozen burritos later. Also, if you’re going to be freezing and microwaving the burritos, I don’t recommend adding avocado or guacamole, but if you’re eating them fresh you certainly can.
Healthy vegan burritos
Some people are going to take issue with my tortilla-on-rice combo, and I’m fine with that. I include plenty of carbs as part of my healthy diet. I don’t offer nutritional advice here on Yup, it’s Vegan. I won’t health shame any person (unless that person is making erroneous and dangerous health claims that aren’t evidence-based).
Anyway, if you’re planning, as I did, to eat these bean burritos for lunch for like a week straight, you might want to consider how they fit in to your overall diet and whether they are meeting your vitamin and nutrient needs.
Depending on your specific health and nutrition goals, you may consider some swaps, changes or additions such as the following:
- Use a whole grain tortilla, such as the sprouted tortillas made by Food for Life, for added fiber and a lower glycemic index
- Add a mix-in such as soyrizo (discussed above), for added protein
- Reduce the oil used in the base black bean and rice recipes, for lower fat
- Add leafy greens or cruciferous vegetables, for a more broad array of vitamins and minerals
Vegan Burritos with Black Beans and Mexican Rice (Make-and-Freeze)
These humble vegan burritos might seem simple, but with saucy black beans and seasoned Mexican rice made from scratch, they don't skimp on flavor. They DO skimp on cost, saving you about of $2.10 per burrito compared to the store-bought kind. Batch cooking for the win!
Prepare the black beans and rice according to recipe instructions.
Bring your tortillas to room temperature, or warm them slightly for even better pliability. One by one, lay down a tortilla, then spread about 1/4 cup of rice and 1/4 cup of beans on one side. If using, add a little bit of vegan queso and/or salsa.
Fold the tortilla over the filling, then press it down on the other side and push the filling back a little bit. (See photos in the blog post for a visual aid). Fold in the sides, and then, holding in the sides, gently roll up the burrito. Proceed to fill and roll the rest of the vegan burritos.
Eat warm, or freeze for up to a month to eat later. To freeze your vegan burritos, lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and stick it in the freezer. Once the burritos have frozen, you can transfer them to a bag or airtight container of your choosing.
To reheat frozen burritos in the microwave (tested using an 1100-watt microwave), place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds. Flip over the burrito, letting it rest for 30 seconds, then microwave it for another 1 minute 15 seconds. Enjoy hot.
GLUTEN-FREE: I tried out the Mission gluten-free tortillas so that Brent could get in on the burrito fun. Sadly, those tortillas were terrible, breaking at every turn when I tried to fold them. If anyone knows of better options, let us know in the comments!
NO INSTANT POT: In the blog post I link to stovetop recipes that can be used instead.
OTHER MIX-INS: Feel free to mix and match the filling, just try to keep the amount of filling to about 1/2 cup. I share many more suggestions in the blog post.
NUTRITION COMPARISON: One Amy's non-dairy burrito has 310 calories, 52g carbohydrates, 10g protein, 8g fat, and 8g fiber. My vegan burritos are higher protein, lower fat, and higher fiber.
*My price calculations include the full cost of purchasing everything for these recipes, which actually includes more than is needed of the rice, tomato paste, tortillas, and garlic, which would make the average cost even lower if accounted for. One exception is that I used Budget Bytes‘s method for calculating the cost of spices and oil. Dry spices are calculated as $0.10 per teaspoon, and oil as $0.16 per tablespoon.
Want more of these Shannon-versus-the-freezer-aisle posts? Let me know in the comments or on social media! This vegan burrito breakdown was a ton of work but I would do it every day if people are finding it helpful!