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Mexican takeout makeover: big bold burrito with a fraction of the calories of Taco Bell and Chipotle

By Carolyn Malcoun, June 1, 2011 - 10:01am

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The burrito joint I frequented in college boasted a sign on its window that said, “Burritos as big as your head!”® And were they delicious! Lots of juicy meat, seasoned rice, all the accoutrements your heart could desire. And, yes, I measured once, and one of their burritos was about as long as my head.

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That was many more years ago than I’d like to remember, but apparently that idea caught on because plus-size burritos seem to be the norm these days. Indeed, a Taco Bell Grilled Stuft Steak Burrito packs 640 calories (and that doesn’t even include guacamole!) and a Steak Burrito from Chipotle clocks in at a whopping 1,000 calories (that includes rice, black beans, steak, cheese, guacamole and salsa).

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But burritos are full of inherently healthy ingredients—lean meat, beans, fresh vegetables—so there’s no reason they have to weigh you down. Lucky for us burrito lovers, the EatingWell Test Kitchen uses three tricks to make a stuffed steak burrito that clocks in at 471 calories and is a whole lot healthier:

1. Reduce the amount of steak and added black beans, which are virtually fat-free plus full of fiber to keep the burritos satisfying.
2. Use a full-flavored cheese, like sharp Cheddar or pepper Jack, so you can use less without sacrificing flavor.
3. Don’t ditch the guacamole! It’s full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Just limit yourself to a tablespoon per burrito.

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Added bonus: They’re ready in 30 minutes so you can have them anytime a craving hits.

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Get the Recipe: Steak Burritos

What are your favorite ingredients to stuff in a burrito?

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TAGS: Carolyn Malcoun, Food Blog

Carolyn Malcoun
A graduate of New England Culinary Institute and University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism, Carolyn pairs her long-standing love for food with writing as EatingWell's senior food editor. Carolyn’s culinary interest is rooted in her childhood; she grew up making thousands of Christmas cookies every year with her mom and picking leaves off bunches of parsley to make tabbouleh with her dad. Away from the kitchen, Carolyn enjoys seeking out rare craft beers and exploring the outdoors with her husband, young daughter and dog.

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