“Running Burritos” (Vegetarian Sweet Potato Burritos)

Confession: I wouldn’t have tried this recipe on my own. It seems weird to me to put sweet potatoes in a tortilla. Thankfully Jeff can cook circles around me and knows a good recipe when he sees it. I can’t remember why, but he called them “running burritos” the first time he made them, and it stuck in my mind. Pair these burritos with something green, and I don’t think you could do much better to fuel your running.

The original recipe, which I am 75% true to, can be found on this page: “Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos“. Check it out for the original measurements, ingredients, baking instructions, etc. 

Running burritos

Sweet potatoes, cheese, quinoa, beans, salsa verde? It’s a delightfully unexpected combo if you ask me.

Ingredients / Handy Grocery Shopping List:

1 tbsp sunflower oil (vegetable/olive would also work fine)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups cooked beans (I used black beans; the original calls for kidney beans. If using dried beans, check out the 90 Minute No Soak Beans instructions – so easy!)
2 cups water (add slowly, you may not need it all)
1 tbsp chili powder, 1.5 tbsp chipotle chili powder, 1-2 pinches of salt and cumin (alternative: 3 tbsp chili powder)
4 tsp mustard
2 tsp cumin
Dash of cayenne pepper
3 tbsp soy sauce
4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
3 tbsp-1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 cup quinoa (measured uncooked). Cook according to these instructions or as you normally would. (How to cook fluffy, tasty quinoa)
12 burrito-size tortillas (can substitute smaller tortillas to make small burritos, but get more of them – I used 30!)
8 oz. cheese (I used cheddar)
Salsa verde (if desired, for topping)
Sour cream (if desired, for topping)

For starters, the recipe calls for 4 cups of mashed sweet potatoes. I baked and mashed 3 and a half regular sized sweet potatoes (forgot to measure how many cups) thinking it would be enough, but I found myself rationing sweet potatoes as I assembled burritos. Next time I’ll go for 4 large sweet potatoes, or maybe 5! (Leftover baked sweet potatoes in the blender with some almond milk and cinnamon is one of my favorite super-easy side dishes, especially topped with toasted pecans 🙂 I leave the skin on to preserve a bit of texture.)

To mash my sweet potatoes without a potato masher, I cut the baked sweet potatoes into cubes, skin on, except for a couple of crispy spots in the skin that I peeled off. I used a large serving fork to mash the sweet potatoes, and left them kinda chunky, since they’re going in a burrito. Recipe modification: here I add approx. 3 tbsp-1/4 c. of finely chopped cilantro. I always buy more cilantro than I need and end up freezing some before it goes bad. This recipe is a great opportunity to use frozen cilantro.

Sweet potatoes mashed with cilantro. This is not a photogenic recipe.

The next step is getting your bean mixture prepped. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat, then add beans. Getting the beans mashed into a nice texture is a part of the recipe that I have found challenging. Here I gradually add the water to the bean mixture to make sure I don’t have watery or runny beans. I had some luck using a whisk as a bean masher, but I have gotten impatient on multiple occasions and put a portion (about 1/3) of the bean mixture in my Vitamix.

Once the beans are mashed to your liking, with all or part of the water, add the soy sauce, chili powders, mustard, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Because I ran out of regular chili powder, I had to make a modification that I really liked! I had just under a tablespoon of chili powder, which I used in the bean mixture. I also had chipotle chili powder from the international grocery store, so I added it about 1/2 tbsp at a time until it tasted good to me, for a total of 1 1/2 tablespoons of chipotle chili powder (in addition to the regular chili powder). Since regular chili powder has cumin and salt in it, I added a few extra dashes of each to the beans. (Chipotle chili powder adds a bit of heat, so I’d suggest adding just one tablespoon to start, then adjust to taste.)

Delicious beans, yes. Photogenic, not so much.

The last big thing I felt the desire to add to this recipe was a grain. As great as the flavors are, I didn’t want to bite into all mashed things and cheese. I cooked a cup of quinoa (measured uncooked) in veggie broth to add texture to the burrito. Rice would work great in this recipe too.

So now we arrive at the point in the recipe when burritos must be assembled. In spite of my frequent patronage of Chipotle, this is a weakness for me. To make things harder, I got the idea of making small burritos (thanks to Boston’s Bolocos for the idea). I used these 12″ tortillas from Trader Joes. The flour tortillas were fine to work with, but the “healthy” whole grain tortilas not so much. I used 3 packs of 10 for this recipe (note that following the instructions and making regular sized burritos will use fewer tortillas).

First rule of burrito assembly: START WITH WARM TORTILLAS. This may cause you to use the microwave countless times and possibly even run out of paper towels, but just do it.

Burrito assembly line in my kitchen.

Through trial and error, I found this to be the most effective burrito assembly process:
1) Start with the quinoa.
2) Add beans.
3) Add sweet potatoes.
4) Add cheese. 


Roll up the burrito, and if desired, roll into a paper towel for freezing (in a freezer safe bag, obviously). If eating immediately, bake the burritos for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. (The original recipe says 12, but my ends were a bit charred.)

My favorite toppings are salsa verde and sour cream. I wouldn’t be mad if you topped that off with a little cheese either.

If frozen, the burritos microwave nicely in the paper towel and the tortilla stays soft through the reheating process. I’d give it a couple zaps in the microwave of 1-2 minutes each, depending on your microwave. I have about 15 of these little burritos in my freezer at the moment. They are the perfect healthy, homemade item to have in your freezer in case you don’t have time to cook dinner or pack a lunch for work.

Happy cooking!!