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With the exception of what might be called authentic American foods like roasts, some soups, and (of course) fast foods, Italian food is undoubtedly THE number-one ethnic cuisine in the United States.
That’s if you can even call some Italian foods ethnic anymore.
When you include pizza and include all the Americans living in the US with some Italian heritage, the authentic Italian line is getting pretty blurred nowadays.
I don’t think California Pizza Kitchen’s Barbeque Chicken Pizza with Pineapple, Cilantro and Red Onion is exactly what the Italians had in mind. Yet, somehow, I suppose they might have gotten there on their own–eventually.
The same can be said for many foreign cuisines that have been embraced by Americans. It seems that sometimes we can’t leave well enough alone. We always seem to have this overwhelming urge to MAKE it our own by changing it into something that fits our insatiable appetite for fat, sugar and carbohydrates. And it’s even BETTER if, at the same time, we can re-engineer so that we can buy at a drive thru window or have it SUPER sized.
The second (or third) most-popular ethnic cuisine in the U.S. (depending on where you live) is Hispanic or Chinese/Asian. And the same thing is happening there (and no, sorry, adding shredded lettuce doesn’t make everything all better).
So, let’s say you enjoy a burrito (and I do), just how can you get your fix without the guilt? Are we really at the mercy of the food do-gooders? The ethnic food engineers? The chains? Nope.
Here’s my recipe for a healthier burrito. It really doesn’t take much time to make this recipe, and if you make double the turkey filling part and freeze the extra, it’s even quicker to enjoy this great dish the second time around.
Before you make this dish, understand that as much as I’d like to make it 100-percent healthy, in my mind, there’s only so far you can go before you begin to compromise the integrity of the original.
I think this version is a good middle ground.
Pete’s Healthier Turkey Burrito
Makes 4 – Nice Size Burritos
2 TBSP Canola Oil
½ Cup Sweet Onions, Chopped
¼ Cup Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 TBSP Garlic, Minced
1 lb 4 oz Ground Turkey Meat
1 TBSP Cumin, Ground
2 TBSP Chili Powder, Ground
¼ tsp Oregano, Crushed
Pinch Cayenne Pepper
1 TBSP Tomato Paste (Optional)
To Taste Salt & Pepper
1 Cup Refried Beans (La Preferida Fat Free)
1/3 Cup Salsa (Garden Fresh, Jack’s Special Medium)
8 Slices Kraft Singles (Skim Milk American Fat Free, 25 Calories per slice)
4 Flour Tortillas (10”) La Banderita Brand (No Cholesterol, 0g Trans Fats)
As Needed Vegetable Spray
2 Cups Enchilada Sauce, La Preferida Red Chile
2 TBSP Cilantro, Chopped (Optional)
¼ Cup Sour Cream, Low Fat (Optional)
- Make the filling first by sautéing the onion, bell peppers and garlic in the canola oil over medium heat until softened.
- Add the ground turkey meat and cook through.
- Add the seasonings and tomato paste (optional), and season to your taste with salt and pepper.
- Cool this mixture.
- Mix together the refried beans and the salsa. Season this mixture with salt and pepper.
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 F.
- To assemble your burritos, place a flour tortilla on a flat work surface, and spread ¼ cup of the refried bean mixture in a vertical stripe approximately 3” wide by 8” tall.
- On top of the bean mixture, place 2 slices of the cheese, one above the other.
- Portion approximately ½ cup of the turkey mixture at the lower end of the refried bean and cheese ingredients you’ve laid down (closest to your waist.) The mound of turkey mix should be about 4” x 2” and in a tube-like shape
- Lift up the bottom edge of the flour tortilla closest to you and fold it over the turkey mixture. Next, fold both the left and right sides of the flour tortilla over the turkey mixture and roll forward (away from you). You should end up with a roll about 4” x 2 ½” in diameter.
- Repeat with the three remaining flour tortillas and place each, seam side down, on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet or baking pan.
- Before baking, spray each filled burrito with vegetable spray. Place them in a 400 F oven and bake approximately 20 minutes or until they are medium golden brown.
- Heat the enchilada sauce to a simmer and serve each burrito with a quarter cup of sauce, and optionally, with a dollop of low-fat sour cream and chopped cilantro.
Now, this recipe is a good base. From here, you can add ALL sorts of additional ingredients to your burrito, such as sweet corn, black beans, fresh green onions, and more peppers. And you can serve it with shredded iceberg lettuce, Spanish rice, guacamole or additional fresh salsa.
Enjoying your favorite Mexican and Hispanic dishes doesn’t have to come at the expense of your diet.
I think you’ll be quite surprised to discover how delicious this recipe for burritos is, and I don’t think you’ll stop for a moment to notice all the fat and sugar it’s missing.