This burrito delivers big flavor by combining two tasty recipes – the spiced beans included here and Green Rice – as well as layers of contrasting condiments like creamy avocado and crunchy toasted pepitas. I often use queso fresco, a fresh Mexican cheese that can be found in the cheese case at Cronig’s, but my husband really likes grated cheddar in his, so you decide!

There’s a little time investment in making these, so feel free to make either the beans or the rice the day before or the morning before assembling and serving the burritos. You can also use plain rice or a packaged flavored rice if you’d rather, but I really encourage you to try that Green Rice – it is so good.) Folding and rolling a burrito can be a little tricky, so follow the instructions here, and then cut the burrito on the diagonal for easiest serving and eating.

Susie Middleton

Makes 5 burritos


For the beans:

  • 1 ½ teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cocoa
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup medium-diced yellow onion
  • 2 cups diced seeded plum tomatoes or quartered grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno (optional)
  • One 15 1/2-ounce can small white (navy) beans or other canned beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro


For assembling the burritos:

  • 5 large (burrito-size, 10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 ½ cups cooked Green Rice or any other rice, reheated if necessary
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) crumbled queso fresco or 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 15 to 20 cilantro sprigs
  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges


Make the beans:

1. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cocoa, 1 teaspoon salt, and a big pinch of ground cloves.

2. In a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes are very broken down and the pan is somewhat dry, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the spice mixture and cook, stirring well, until the mixture is well-combined and darkened in color.

4. Add the beans and 1 cup water and stir and scrape the bottom of the pan. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the liquids have reduced to just a few tablespoons, about 5 minutes. (You can remove the pan while the mixture is still slightly soupy as the beans will absorb extra liquid on cooling.)

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro. Taste and season with more salt if you like.

For assembly:

1. Warm the tortillas however you usually do. (I wrap mine in foil and put in warm oven for 10 minutes). Have ready your rice (reheated if necessary), your beans (reheated if necessary), your cheese, your pepitas, your cilantro sprigs, and your avocado.

2. Arrange one tortilla on your work surface. Spoon a portion (about ½ cup) of the warm rice onto the lower center of each tortilla, forming a rough shape a little bigger than a deck of cards (with the long side facing you). Arrange a portion of the beans on top of the rice. Top with a portion of cheese, some of the pepitas, the cilantro, the avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime.

3. Wrap the burrito. Start by folding up the bottom (the side closest to you); then fold the two sides in, keeping the filling layered and compact. Then roll the whole burrito tightly over on itself to close it. Cut each burrito in half on a sharp diagonal and arrange the two halves on a plate. Repeat with remaining burritos and filling.