Today we have another addition to our Health Dollar Menu! Katie from Kitchen Stewardship shares one of her families favorite meals…..all for under a dollar per serving. Thanks, Katie, for another great addition to our health dollar menu!
Versatile. Nourishing. Frugal.
People have been asking about my favorite meatless meals lately, and I always fall back on this one. I’ve often served it for company, always to rave reviews.
My father and husband appreciate it but often say, “It’d be better with meat.” Kudos to my mom for figuring out the perfect way to add meat and still keep it frugal!
Veggie Bean Burritos have lots of vegetable options and can be completed entirely on the stovetop or baked as a casserole, so they’re perfect for any season. It’s a great way to use up whatever might be in your fridge.
I have my favorite vegetable combination, so I tend to make them whenever organic mushrooms are on sale, especially when zucchini is in season at the same time. I always have green peppers frozen from the Farmer’s Market, and can often utilize frozen zucchini from summer’s bounty too.
Other vegetables I’ve been known to toss in:
- Spinach or kale
- Sweet potato or squash (frozen cubes) in the sauce
- Colored peppers
- Broccoli stems, chopped small
- Yes, I often end up with more than 2 ½ cups of veggies. Just toss in extra seasoning if you do the same. You really can’t go wrong here; these burritos are consistently tasty no matter what is stuffing them!
Veggie Bean Burritoes
1 small onion, chopped ($0.25)
1 clove garlic, crushed ($0.05)
1 small can green chiles OR chopped jalapenos ($0.25-$1.00)
½ T. chili powder
¼ c. tomato paste (freeze the rest for the next batch) ($0.20)
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. ground coriander
8 oz. can tomato sauce ($0.30)
1 c. water
[can sub 14 oz can tomatoes for sauce and paste.]
1 small onion, chopped ($0.25)
2 ½ c. chopped veggies (green pepper, frozen corn, zucchini, fresh mushrooms) I almost always end up with twice this much, so I double the recipe, and a single batch of sauce covers it all.
($0.25, $0.25, $0.50-1.00, $1.00)
2 cans black beans OR 3-4 cups cooked dry beans ($0.50-1.00)
½ c. water
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
(+ about $0.25 for all the spices? I’ve not priced these out yet…)
You’ll need 6-8 big tortillas for this one. (~$1.00)
To make sauce: sauté onion and garlic and ¼ c. water or olive oil 5 minutes. Add chiles and spices, stir and sauté a few minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients, mix well and simmer about 15 minutes. Set aside.
To make filling: sauté onion, green pepper, mushrooms in water for 5 minutes. Add other ingredients; sauté 10 more minutes.
You can just fill tortillas and eat smothered with sauce, or put a little sauce in the bottom of 9×13 pan, put the filling in tortillas, top with more sauce and cheese and bake 15-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Total Cost: $5-6.00, depending on where your veggies come from
Serves 8 adults at well under $1/serving.
Make it “with meat”: You can add ½ pound of grassfed beef to either the filling OR the sauce. That’s plenty to give it some bulk and flavor, and you only add ~$2 to the total cost, or 25-33 cents per person.
Potentially a meal in themselves, these burritos are huge. If you want an added side dish to complete the platter, consider adding Mexican beans and rice or, for a lower carb option, homemade refried beans. Both come in at under 20 cents a serving.
Making your own tortillas is the most frugal option while staying away from questionable ingredients in mainstream tortilla shells. Here’s my soaked recipe:
Start with: 2 cups white whole wheat flour ($0.40)
Cut in: 1/4 cup lard or coconut oil or butter (varies, $0.50?)
Fork in: 1/2 cup water w/1 Tbs whey or just 1/2 cup whey
After a 12-24 hour soak at room temperature, sprinkle the 1 tsp salt on and knead into dough. Knead thoroughly until smooth and flecked with air bubbles. Divide dough into 8-11 balls, depending on how big you want your tortillas. Roll as thin as possible on a lightly floured surface. Heat an ungreased griddle or cast iron pan very hot (400 degrees) and drop tortillas on it. Cook about 20 seconds, until lightly flecked with brown on one side, then flip until brown spots appear on the other side. Cook about 20 seconds, until lightly flecked with brown on one side, then flip until brown spots appear on the other side.Serve immediately or refrigerate (or freeze) in airtight container.
Total cost: <$1, or about 10 cents each
See Katie’s Homemade Whole Wheat Tortilla Recipe for photos, other flours and non-soaked versions.
When she is not covered in flour, Katie Kimball blogs at Kitchen Stewardship, where she encourages baby steps on the journey to best nutrition. Find lots of practical tips for balancing real food with family life, your budget and the environment as you take it one Monday Mission at a time.
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mmmhhh… these look fabulous! I frequently resort to this very sort of meal. My 3-yr-old son gobbles them up. Because of gluten issues, I usually cheat and use Trader Joe’s corn tortillas. Based on the ingredients list – corn, water, lime – I’m guessing they are nixtamalized (sp?). Can anyone confirm that?
Usually all corn Tortillas are nixtamalized. Masa ( nixtamalized corn flour) is used because straight corn flour actually tastes bad in tortillas and tamales.
Unfortunately most corn is GMO so be sure to buy organic tortillas
Organic Masa is available but hard to find. I have seen it on Amazon.
The blue corn is the most expensive but after checking out the nutrition and enzyme content the white, yellow and blue are all pretty much the same. If your really dedicated you can quickly nixtamalize your own corn kernels at home with Pickling lime available at Walmart . Be careful buying lime that it is the right kind and food grade buying pickling lime cuts out that risk.
I make something close to this but omit the tomato ingredients because of allergies. Healthy, easy and tasty..you can’t beat that with a stick!
Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS
Katie, these look so good! What beautiful photos! You packed so much into them, it is hard to believe they are so frugal. Excellent post.
Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship
Kimi “lightened them up” for me – apparently she’s a master, b/c even I was shocked at the quality of the images over here! 😉 I love throwing veggies and more veggies into meals like this, and shopping reduced produce! 😉 Katie
Photoshop can do wonders. I am not good at working with photos actually (which is why Io always shoot mine during the day), but I was able to lighten them up easily this time! They were good photos to start with, otherwise lightening them up wouldn’t have made them look so fabulous. 🙂
I have been on a burrito kick lately, too, and love all these suggestions. My other addition would be eggs and salsa, for breakfast and beyond!
These sound great!
This is my favorite meal too. I make burritos all the time, knowing that they are frugal but I have never done the math. You folks who do have my admiration!
Omigod! THANK YOU! Tweeting to the rest!
I don’t know where YOU live but the ingredents where I live are 2x more expensive..I would call that a 10.00 meal…
I am not sure where Katie lives, but I have definitely found that the cost of food does vary sometimes dramatically depending on where you live and secondly on where you buy your food. For example, I don’t know if this includes the cost of organic vegetables or cheese. So with the dollar menu’s, we have found that some people may pay more or less for their ingredients. Thankfully with this recipe, even if it cost ten dollars to make (it would probably cost me that much), it is supposed to feed eight people, so is still a very frugal recipe. 🙂
Lindsey in AL
I think we’ll be trying these out soon since our burritos currently consist of homemade refried beans and brown rice. Even with cheese, sour cream and salsa added, they’re kind of boring.
I use my Silpat to roll out tortillas on; it works GREAT! I can get them really thin and there’s less flour on the surface of the tortillas to burn on the griddle.
I’m so excited about the tortilla recipe! The burritos look great too, but I’d been looking for a soaked tortilla recipe.
Thanks so much!
sorry for leaving this in your comment box, but i didn’t see another way to contact you. i love what you have going here and think it would be a great resource for tom cowan’s patients who are just getting started. would it be ok if i put a link to you on our site? our website is above.
I would be honored! Thanks for asking. 🙂
the first time i made the tortillas with this recipe, they turned out awesome. it was so easy and they were so delicious that i vowed i’d never buy tortillas again. however. i just tried again, this time with a double batch, and it was a nightmare. the dough was so sticky, it stuck to everything. i floured my countertop and rolling pin, but still could hardly pick the tortillas up once i had them rolled out without them sticking completely to the counter and then falling apart. does anyone have any idea what i did wrong? maybe i used too much water when i soaked the dough? i don’t know, but these did not turn out.