Tuesday, June 28, 2011

0 Recipe #275: Southwestern Black Bean Salsa Tortilla Wrap

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This is a light and easy-to-make meal that's perfect for lunch. You can either eat one whole wrap that's been cut into two sections or only eat one half with a soup or salad. It's up to you.

Southwestern Black Bean Salsa Tortilla Wrap

Black Bean Salsa Ingredients:
1 15.5 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. yellow bell pepper, diced (about 1/2 medium-sized yellow bell pepper)
1/4 c. red onion, peeled and diced (about 1/4 small onion)
1 1/2 Tbsp. jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced (about 1/2 large jalepeño pepper)
1 c. fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, diced (about 3 small tomatoes)
1 c. shredded Mexican 4-cheese blend (or vegan cheese substitute)
1/2 c. ripe California olives, drained and sliced crosswise into 1/4" rounds
1/8 c. scallions (green and white parts), sliced crosswise into 1/4" rounds (about 1 large scallion)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/16 tsp. (a pinch) salt (optional)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
1/8 tsp. ground Chipotle pepper, or to taste
1/8 c. fresh cilantro, finely minced and densely packed
1/8 c. freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 large lime)
1 c. Haas avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced (1 medium-sized Haas avocado)
1/2 c. frozen (or canned) corn kernels, thawed and drained

Other Ingredients:
4 c. unsalted water (for cooking the corn)
1 small romaine heart, leaves detached from base and well-washed (1/2 large lettuce leaf, i.e., 4" piece, per person)
4-6 extra-large (i.e., 10" in diameter) low-fat flour tortilla

Directions: Make the salsa (in advance)*: In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together all ingredients except for the avocado. Then add avocado, and gently combine. (Avocado tends to get mushy quickly if mixed too vigorously.) Make sure all of the avocado is covered with lime juice, which will preserve it and keep it from oxidizing. Cover and place into the refrigerator until serving time. (It's better to let the ingredients marinate a bit; this produces a tastier end result.)

Next, steam the corn: Place a metal steamer basket into a large pot, and spread out its tabs so that it covers the entire bottom of the pot. Then add roughly 4 c. of unsalted water to the pot, or however much water is needed to reach the base of the steamer. (Salted water toughens corn.) Bring water to a rolling boil (on high heat), about 8 minutes. Add corn, cover pot with its lid, and steam for 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Drain into a colander. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Add corn kernels to salsa and gently mix.

Assemble wraps: Place each tortilla onto a plate, then place 1/2 of a large romaine lettuce leaf (about a 4" piece) down the center of the tortilla. Next, place a line of black bean salsa down the center, about 3/4 c. (Don't overstuff tortillas with filling, or the wrap will be hard to close.) Fold over the bottom end (i.e., the end that's closest to you) of the tortilla, bringing it up only about 2-3" towards the center. Then repeat for the opposite end. Then, starting from the sides of the tortilla that still remain open, roll the tortilla into a tight bundle. Grip tortilla firmly from one end while slicing into the center in a slightly diagonal direction. Repeat for each plate until all wraps have been rolled. If you aren't serving them right away, wrap sandwiches in aluminum foil or wax paper, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve and enjoy!

Yield: 6-8 wraps.

Chef's Notes: You could also make the entire meal in advance and then bring it to work with you for lunch. If you decide to do this, place salsa into a plastic container with a lid and the tortilla and lettuce leaf into separate resealable plastic bags. Tortillas tends to dry out and harden when exposed to air for too long.

Ingredient Substitutions: Meat eaters could replace 1/2 of the cheese or beans (or a 1/4 of each) with pieces of cooked, skinless, boneless chicken breast. As a variation on a theme, substitute baby spinach or mixed (i.e., mesclun) spring greens for the romaine lettuce. Spinach tastes very mild, and thus does not distract from the flavor of the wrap, while mixed spring greens will add a bit of peppery flavor. For added flavor and color, you could also use spinach or tomato flavored low-fat flour tortilla wraps. Colorful wraps make for a nice presentation, one that's pleasing to the eye as well as the stomach. :)

Optional Ingredients: Before rolling up your wrap, you can also add a dollop of nonfat plain Greek yoghurt or low-fat sour cream (about 1 Tbsp. per person) for added flavor. Or, alternatively, you could try a bit of creamy, low-fat dressing -- like Ranch, Ranch-Buttermilk, Russian, or Thousand Island dressing. There's already a lot going on with this wrap in terms of flavor diversity, spice, and heat, so use any additional ingredients sparingly and make sure they're not too spicy or overpowering. Cool, creamy flavors tend to work best; they provide balance and round out the dish.

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