Bounty (August - October), Cuisines, Evergreen (April - July), Fast + Easy, Main Dish, Mexican, Mist (November - March), One Pot/ One Pan
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Cheap + Quick + Easy: 20-Minute Beefy (or Beany) Spinach Burritos

burritos on green and blue plates

Some evenings are just not made for fussing over dinner. After a long work day; kids’ sports-music-dance-chess club-art-study group activities; community meetings; and who knows what, all cooks need some go-to quick, hot, hearty, tasty things we can make with our eyes closed.

This recipe got me through the flurry of raising my then-tween and teen-agers, and still is a completely comforting and serviceable years later. Over the years I’ve done a lot of “Making It My Own” improv riffing, and it’s always forgiving and welcome.

large beefy spinach-filled burrito on blue plate

A big plus to this recipe guideline is that it easily accommodates a range of dietary needs within a household. It’s easy to make a burrito cheesy-gooey for one person and dairy-free for another, and it offers the same flexibility with gluten-free and vegan options.

If you’re into left overs, plan to make some. It’s a jump-start to a hearty Joe’s Special egg scramble the next morning, or a great topping for a plate of Friday night nachos.

In my real-world life, not every meal is a multi-course beautifully plated affair. Nope, some nights are just about getting it done, and that’s good enough, especially when one of my adult sons still asks, “Hey, Mom, can I come over for spinach burritos?” That’s a sign of a successful recipe.

Cheap Quick + Easy 20-Minute Beefy (or Beany) Spinach Burritos

Course: Main Dish, Quick + Easy
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beefy, dairy-free option, GF option, healthy, hidden vegetables, vegan meat substitution
Season: Bounty (August – October), Evergreen (April – July), Mist (November – March)
Preparation: One Pot/One Pan
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 small burritos
Author: Pam Spettel
The perfect veggie-filled busy-night dinner when you need something hot, delicious and NOW! Gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan option, too!
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ lb. ground beef, vegan ground meat substitute OR
  • 3 15 oz. cans pinto beans, drained plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil for the pan
  • 6 cloves garlic, or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ Cups store-bought salsa
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chilies, or add another ½ cup salsa
  • 8 to 10 oz. fresh spinach
  • 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 medium flour or GF tortillas
  • canola or other cooking spray
  • cilantro, additional salsa and sour cream for garnish

Instructions

  • In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef or meat substitute, garlic, cumin, and salt.
  • If replacing the meat with canned beans, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan before adding the beans.
  • When the meat (or beans) and spices are well-browned, stir in in the salsa and green chilis.
  • Add the spinach leaves, two or three handfuls at a time, stirring them in until they wilt before adding the next few handfuls, until all the spinach is wilted and mixed through.
  • Heat a separate large skillet to medium high. Spray one side of each tortilla with the cooking spray (this will help them crisp up.*) Place the sprayed side down in the heated skillet, and sprinkle a little of the cheese down the center. (Omit the cheese for vegan/dairy-free options.) Spoon the beefy spinach filling down the center of the tortilla. Fold the edges over the filling, burrito-style. When the first side is browned, flip the burrito over to crisp it too.
  • Place the burritos on serving plates and garnish with additional salsa, green chilis, cilantro, and sour cream (omit for vegan/diary-free versions) as desired.

Notes

Make It Your Own:
  • add a chopped onion to the skillet when browning the ground beef
  • try this with ground chicken or turkey
  • experiment with adding chili powder and/or dried Mexican oregano
  • add a chopped stems from a bunch of cilantro with the spinach
  • fancy expensive salsa is not needed in this recipe, but have fun experimenting with different inexpensive ones. 
  • bump up the heat with spicier salsa, or add a chopped jalapeno to the meet as it browns. 
*This cooking spray tip is also how I soften corn tortillas for tacos and enchiladas. No need to pour oil into a skillet to do this task, just a simple shot of cooking spray. 

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