Tomatillo Smothered Spinach, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Burritos

Back in September I shared a recipe for a tomatillo sauce. This is one of my late summer/early fall staples that goes in the freezer until it’s time to brighten up winter. The recipe for the sauce is adapted from Rick Bayless’s Everyday Mexican, which I originally used to make simple spinach and mushroom enchiladas. Eventually, I started making quinoa with pepitas and cilantro, rolling this zesty grain mixture into burritos along with spinach, mushrooms and goat cheese, and smothering them with fresh, spicy tomatillo sauce.

Did you make some tomatillo sauce? If so, it’s time to reach into the freezer and reward your efforts with one of my favorite, not to mention convenient, vegetarian meals. Once you bite into a spicy, smothered burrito, you’ll forget you ever knew such a thing as winter doldrums.

Spinach, Mushroom, Quinoa and Goat Cheese Burritos with Tomatillo Sauce

Makes roughly 4 burritos with some leftovers

  • 1 quart tomatillo sauce
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds), coarsely chopped or lightly pulsed in a grinder/processor
  • Juice of 2 limes (just 1 if it’s large and juicy)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large bunch of spinach, rinsed, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • Flour tortillas (you can use 10″ burrito size, or you can use smaller tortillas and make 2 mini-burritos per person)
  • Additional cilantro leaves and/or sliced avocado for garnish *optional

Either thaw the tomatillo sauce in the refrigerator a few days in advance, or set it in a bowl of water at room temperature a few hours before dinner. Empty it into a saucepan and set to simmer on a rear burner, stirring occasionally.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa and place it in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to rest and steam with the lid on for about 5 minutes more. Add the cilantro, pepitas and lime juice, and gently toss while fluffing the quinoa with a fork.

In a sauté pan, heat roughly 2 tablespoons of oil over a medium heat and add the mushrooms. Toss to coat with the oil and cook, stirring occasionally until golden and tender (about 5-7 minutes). Add the garlic, cumin seeds, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the spinach (it’s OK to let some water cling to the leaves when you rinse it) and toss, cooking for about 3 minutes until it’s wilted and thoroughly combined with the mushrooms.

Lay out your tortillas on a baking sheet. Pile a few spoonfuls of quinoa onto each tortilla (don’t overdo it or you wont be able to roll them without the contents falling out), then distribute the spinach mushroom mixture on top. Finish each with a bit of crumbled goat cheese and roll the burritos. Place them folded side down on the baking sheet in the oven for about 5-6 minutes. They’ll turn a golden color and begin to crisp on the bottom. Move the burritos to plates and smother them with a ladle or 2 of tomatillo sauce. Garish with some chopped cilantro – you can also add a few slices of avocado on the side – and serve.

*Use your judgment on the filling amounts based on the size of your tortillas and the appetites of your guests. We almost always have leftovers, which you should store separately for making future meals.

The quinoa is great as part of a green salad with avocado and a lime vinaigrette. We also like to make a breakfast burritos of eggs scrambled with spinach and mushrooms and smothered in the leftover tomatillo sauce.

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