Mushroom Barbacoa Burritos

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If you follow me on insta, you know I’m completely obsessed with cassava flour tortillas. They’re a far better texture and stretch for burritos than standard wheat flour tortillas and are also nutty, slightly sweet and bitter and super beneficial to gut health. Getting them burrito sized takes a lot of skill and a little magic, but if you want to try you can find the recipe on my Gut Health Vegan Queso post (otherwise, any large/burrito sized tortilla will do just fine of course). These also contain cultured cashew crema, arroz verde/green rice, wonderfully rich and quick black beans from canned, a basic fire roasted tomato salsa and, of course, the mushroom barbacoa. I recommend using dried mushrooms always, for frugality, sustainability and availability reasons, but here especially since you rehydrate them just with the sauce, making them super concentrated flavor bombs. And as far as flavor is concerned, shiitake mushrooms top the charts in umami, with 1,060 mg glutamate per 3.5 oz. Pork, beef and chicken each have less than 20mg. And what’s the most common reason for supporting animal abuse again, that meat tastes too good?  Lol

These are undoubtedly the best burritos I’ve ever had! As always, I suggest making extra so you can have quick burritos ready to go all week. It takes pretty much the same amount of time to make 2 burritos as it does to make 8. 

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If when you think of authentic Mexican food you picture something meat-heavy, you’re actually picturing a product of colonization and not true to the region or cultures that existed there long, long beforehand. Only like 1% of (what we now call) Mexico’s history includes domesticated livestock, so while burritos and rice like pictured here aren’t authentic by any means either, it’s an assload closer to the traditional, incredibly starch-heavy diet of Mesoamericans than anything with chicken, pork, beef or dairy, all of which the Spanish brought.

I say all this not because I’m a champion of authentic food or have any right to be here, and I definitely don’t mean to make any Mexicans that may read this feel less connected to their heritage if animal products were a big part of their personal history, but because I want to remind people that the roots of veganism are non-white. The western meat-and-dairy filled diet has been forced on people through government subsidies, food deserts and propaganda that aren’t genetically adapted to it (80-95% of non-white people are lactose intolerant but closer to just 15% for white people), and it is disease causing for everyone. I also hope hearing all this inspires people to eat more starch-focused Mexican food, as these flavors and textures have evolved together, these plants have been selectively planted and bred over tens of thousands of years with the intention of being paired. I know hearing things like “decolonize your diet” may seem out of place or shallow coming from someone whose existence, both here or at all, is a product of colonization, but in my eyes, my diet is one of the biggest ways I can show respect to the people whose land I’m on. The health of the soil, air and water was central to most indigenous cultures, and they believed it was their responsibility to care for it. Being vegan means I need 18x less land to grow my food, land that isn’t mine. Being vegan means I use 600 less gallons of water per day, water that isn’t mine.

The phrase decolonize your diet was coined in 2003 by Devon Abbott Mihesuah in her book Recovering Our Ancestors’ Garden, about the overall poor health and modern disease indigenous people are facing as a consequence of colonialism, and how health can be reclaimed via returning to traditional foods and planting gardens. It’s also a great collection of indigenous recipes. There’s a great Facebook group, Decolonize your Diet, ran by Dr. Luz Calvo the coauthor of Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing. I’ve also been majorly inspired by Alchemy Organica, an LA chef I found on Instagram that makes some of the most beautiful food I’ve ever seen.

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Mushroom Barbacoa Burritos

makes 3 burritos

ingredients

3 large tortillas

mushroom barbacoa (recipe below)

~2 cups cooked arroz verde (recipe below)

~1 cup of black beans (recipe below)

~1/3 cup salsa of choice (I make mine from fire roasted tomatoes)

~1/3 cup cultured cashew crema (you guessed it, recipe below)

Spread ~2 tbsp of the cultured cashew crema at the center of each tortilla, then divide all the rest of the ingredients evenly over each. Wrap, then sear the seam closed.

Mushroom Barbacoa

ingredients

3 oz dried mushrooms of choice (or 1 pound fresh), stems removed

3 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 a small onion, diced

2 tbsp chili powder

1/4 cup diced chilis (I use fire roasted hatch)

1/8 cup lime juice + a small splash of ACV

1/2 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp mexican oregano

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 cup vegetable broth (less if using fresh mushrooms)

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

I make these in my instant pot. I add everything, pressure cook on high for 15 minutes. Then depressurize, remove the mushrooms and chop them into thin strips now that they’re soft enough to cut. Then I add them back to the instant pot, stir and hit ‘slow cook’ for 4-6 hours. If not using an instant pot, I suggest using a slow cooker for around 8 hours. If cooking them on the stovetop, I suggest bringing the ingredients to a high simmer until the mushrooms are rehydrated, then chopping and lightly simmering, with the lid on, for at least an hour.

If you’re using fresh mushrooms, cut into strips then add to the instant pot/slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and cook for 6-8 hours.

Arroz Verde

makes 2 cups

ingredients

1 cup long grain white rice

1 cup water

3/4 cup salsa verde (or blended tomatillos)

2 tbsp lime juice

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup chopped cilantro

Cook your rice as usual, using the water, salsa verde, lime juice and salt. Add the chopped cilantro once it’s finished cooking.

Black Beans

(I don’t know what else to call these lol) makes ~2 cups

ingredients

1 can black beans

1 small onion

1 cup vegan chicken or vegetable broth (I use better than bouillon brand)

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1/8 cup diced chilis (I use fire roasted hatch)

optional – splash of balsamic vinegar, splash of soy sauce and 2 tsp nutritional yeast (or 1/2 tsp marmite)

In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic until fragrant. Add the chilis, then the entire can of black beans (including the liquid), vegan chicken broth and the optional flavorings. Bring to a high simmer, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat slightly and cook until almost all the liquid has cooked off, about 10 mins.

Cultured Cashew Crema

makes 10 servings

1/2 cup raw cashews

3/4 cup boiling water

splash of lime juice

pinch of kosher salt to taste

1/2 tbsp starch. I like using arrowroot for this, but tapioca, potato or corn starch will all work. You can omit it completely with a longer fermentation or use slightly less water, but I use every chance I can to get in more gut bacteria loving resistant starch

emptied probiotic capsules (I used acidophilus) or a scoop of store bought cultured vegan sour cream

In a blender, add the raw cashews, lime juice, salt and boiling water and your choice of starch then blend on high speed until very smooth. Let it cool completely to room temperature, then stir in the probiotics and let culture somewhere warm and dark for at least 1 day.

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