Simple Black Bean and Barley Vegetarian Burritos

bean burritos
Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

Calories 408
Fat 10g
Carbs 68g
Protein 14g
View All
Total Time 55 min
Prep 10 min, Cook 45 min
Servings 6 (1 burrito each)

Put together a batch of these bean and barley burritos for a few days' worth of heart-healthy, grab-and-go vegetarian meals. Being prepared can help you get closer to a cholesterol-friendly diet. When you're prepared you're less likely to choose unhealthier fare or order something in. Instead, you'll enjoy a delicious meal with ingredients you're familiar with.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup barley, dry
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dry garlic
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans
  • 6 large whole wheat tortillas (9 or 10 inches across)
  • avocado, salsa, shredded cheddar, or sour cream, for garnish and dipping, optional

Preparation

  1. Prepare barley according to package instructions.
  2. While barley is cooking, heat up olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, pepper flakes, cumin, salt, tomato paste, carrot, and black beans. Stir together and let heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mash the mixture slightly with a fork.
  3. Once barley is ready, place each tortilla on a separate plate. Divide the barley and black bean mixture into six parts and arrange them towards the middle of each tortilla.
  1. Wrap your burritos.
    1. Fold the tortilla in half, then tuck one edge under the stuffing and pull it back along with the stuffing.
    2. Fold in the left side of the tortilla towards the middle (about 2 inches in). Repeat with the right side.
    3. Tightly roll the stuffing until you have a perfectly rolled burrito.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

Black beans are rich in soluble fiber, an important part of a cholesterol-lowering diet. Fiber helps reduce LDL cholesterol specifically, likely by binding molecules as they travel through your digestive tract. The benefits don't stop there, though. You also get protein, which helps you fill up and avoid becoming hungry soon after your meal. In this way, beans are helpful for weight control too.

These benefits apply to all legumes, so if you don't have black beans or prefer lentils, white beans, black-eyed peas, pinto, or any other luscious legumes, go ahead and use them.

Using a whole grain like hulled barley also adds some fiber to your meal. The specific type of fiber, beta-glucan, also happens to contain cancer-fighting characteristics. When buying, you might notice that both hulled barley (sometimes called dehulled) and pearl barley are offered. Hulled barley is minimally processed, meaning most of its outer layer, the bran, is intact.

Hulled barley is thus a whole grain. This outer layer is mostly removed in pearled barley, but some may still be present.

Additionally, fiber in barley isn't concentrated in just the bran but distributed throughout each kernel, so pearled barley still offers some fiber. If you're short on time, pearled barley will cook quicker. Otherwise, why not go for the hulled variety (or a different whole grain altogether).

Cooking and Serving Tips

Since barley takes some time to cook, aim to have it on the stovetop before you begin anything else. Another trick is to soak it overnight. Drain and rinse before putting it on the stovetop.

Serve with store-bought or DIY classic guacamole, ruby red salsa, or a sprinkle of shredded cheddar and creamy sour cream on the side. Instead, you can add these options into each burrito before rolling it up. Note that these add-ins are not included in the nutrition facts for this recipe, so be mindful of portion sizes.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 (1 burrito each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 408
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 616mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 68g 25%
Dietary Fiber 16g 57%
Total Sugars 4g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 14g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 226mg 17%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 678mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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