BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Inspiration Vs. Desperation

27 Comments

What spurs you on to create new recipes? Inspiration comes in countless forms, lurking just beneath the surface everywhere you look. It could be a trip to the market that lights a spark, or a great meal at a new restaurant. Even something as innocuous as watching tv or chatting with a friend might start the wheels turning. Some recipes, however, have decidedly less grand beginnings. Born not in some great flash of genius, but by sheer necessity, the results are by no means any less spectacular. Sometimes it just comes down to what’s already in the fridge.

Adding a single box of phyllo to a recent coop order seemed like a reasonable impulse buy to complete the case- A least until it arrived, and needed somewhere to stay. Freezer stuffed to bursting, there was no choice but to let it thaw out in the fridge, with still no destination in mind. With time ticking and now fridge space dwindling, that phyllo had to go, and not straight into the trash! At times like this, the great interweb is a true godsend.

Still waffling between sweet and savory recipes, it was the idea of Susan‘s Spinach and Artichoke Pie that sealed the deal. Tweaking the seasonings and switching out spinach for kale, it was an impressive outcome for the phyllo that had no clear purpose. Instead of making one giant pie, it seemed more fitting to break the dish up into individual wraps; less messy to serve and easier to store. Shatteringly crisp and flaky, that phyllo is truly what makes the final bundle of gently spiced greens and goodies so compelling. Only when my parcels had finished baking did I realize the strange cultural mash-up at play. Indeed, what emerged from the oven turned out to be glorified Greek burritos.

Greek Burritos
Adapted from the Fat Free Vegan

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
12 Ounces Frozen Chopped Kale
1 Pound Extra-Firm Tofu, Thoroughly Drained
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 Teaspoon Salt, or to Taste
1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Dill
1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Oil-Cured Olives
1/8 Teaspoon Dried Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 12-Ounce Bag Frozen Artichoke Hearts, Thawed and Quartered

1 Package Phyllo Dough, Thawed
Olive Oil in Spray Bottle

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper; Set aside.

Begin heating the oil in a medium or large soup pot over moderate heat. You want a vessel with high sides that can accommodate a good amount of food, so don’t hesitate to spring for one size bigger than you think is appropriate. It’s not a bad thing if it ends up being too spacious either. Add in the onions and garlic, and saute for 10 – 12 minutes until fragrant, softened, and beginning to take on a golden hue. Toss in the frozen kale, stir well, and let it thaw as it mingles with the hot onions. Turn off the heat as soon as the leaves are no longer icy.

Meanwhile, crumble your tofu into a large bowl and toss with the nutritional yeast, salt, dill, oregano, lemon juice, olives, pepper, cumin, and coriander. Once evenly seasoned, stir the tofu mixture into the hot onions and kale until well incorporated. Finally, introduce the artichokes, and mix just to distribute evenly throughout the filling. The mixture should be warm to the touch but not hot at this point.

To assemble your burritos, first lay out one sheet of phyllo on an immaculate flat surface, and lightly spritz with olive oil. Carefully top that with another sheet, lining up the edges to the best of your ability, and spritz oil on top of that. Repeat twice more for a total of 4 stacked full rectangle sheets. Gently distribute about 1 cup of the filling vertically, about 1 inch in from the left edge, top, and bottom. Now, as if it were a tortilla, fold the top and bottom edges over the filling, and roll, starting from the left side, until you have one smooth cylinder resting on the open end of the dough. Gingerly lift the wrap and place it on one of the baking sheets, and finally spritz the top once more with oil. Repeat for the remaining dough and filling, placing no more than three burritos on each sheet.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, rotating the sheets about halfway through if necessary, until golden brown all over. Serve immediately while hot.

Makes About 5 Large Burritos; Feeds 10 with Dainty Appetites, or 5 Very Hungry Vegans

If you’re cooking for a smaller crowd, you can keep any leftover filling and phyllo separate, assembling and baking individual burritos when desired.

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

27 thoughts on “Inspiration Vs. Desperation

  1. And they tasted really good :)

  2. A case of phyllo–oh my goodness that’s a lot! Those ‘burritos’ look like a delicious way to use it up though!

  3. They look utterly delicious :D
    Love phyllo!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  4. My rss feed reader is cram packed to the back gills with inspiration. I rarely have to venture into the wider net community because I have a taste of just about everything right here and every time I read through comments I find another fantastic blog that is spiced just right for me. As a vegan living in a meat eaters paradise I have sheer desperation as my mantra most times. I get up early in the morning to read my rss feed reader in peace before the sun comes up and over my first cup of tea I tick boxes, I plan plans and I centre my inner vegan to feed my outer vegan in the near future. Living out in the sticks means that we have to plan our fortnightly trips into the city well and we have to make sure that we have all of the extras and incedentals that we need to both keep us going and give us something to play with when we feel creative. Steve is the king of finding me delicious vegan recipes online when I need to invent in a hurry. He found me a vegan recipe for a magnificent cake for my birthday that was amazing. This recipe is the bomb! The only problem that I have would be working out whether to serve it with guacamole dipping sauce or tzatiki! ;)

    • I’ve fallen so far behind on my emails and comments, and of course this is one that deserved a response right away! It’s the most wonderful thing imagine my humble recipes being recreated halfway around the world, in your capable hands. If I can provide enough inspiration to merely get anyone into the kitchen, I’d consider that a huge success. You’re inspiring me just by being so kind and supportive! That’s what makes the blogosphere such a wonderful community- We all spur each other on to keep creating, intentionally or not. :)

      • I am still amazed that there are so many wonderful people out there who give their time and energy freely to share with the rest of us. Your blog is a perfect example. You lead a busy life, you are a true professional but you still take the time to share with us regularly and freely. Your recipes are amazing and so are you. Thank YOU Hannah for everything that you do and our regular comments supporting you are the least that we can do :)

  5. These look FANTASTIC! Oh how I miss phylo…
    When is someone going to come-up with a gluten-free version???????

  6. Looks delicious. One hint for phyllo is that if you can find somewhere that sells it fresh, it’s easier to work with than when it’s been thawed.

  7. I love the use of phyllo in this! I still haven’t tried using phyllo, but need to get on it!

  8. This looks great, Hannah! Also, I’d like to say how much I love that your mom commented on this. My parents almost never look at my blog!

  9. i agree… inspiration can come from anywhere!
    these greek burritos look like they would taste so much better than my basic mexican burritos. great addition of artichokes :)

  10. I find inspiration just about anywhere and everywhere.. Tv, blogs, my cupboard, the market or a quick google search will usually do the trick. Mid week it’s more likely to be a quick whipped up meal with whatever we have left in the fridge but when there is more time I love browsing around a good market and just let the colors and smells guide me… Love these phyllo beauties! Mmmm, I think I have some left in the freezer!

  11. These look so lovely! What an amazing use of phyllo :) I’ve never used it, but should I ever pick some up I know exactly what I’m going to try!

  12. What a creative idea & gorgeous browning on the phyllo you’ve got there. I’ve been making phyllo triangles like a fiend in school this week, and have certainly lost my fear of working with them. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Great healthy recipe! I’m really looking forward to trying this out and sharing with my very health conscious friends when they come for dinner next week.

  14. This is my next lunch adventure! Thanks for sharing! These look great!

  15. Um Yum. So elegant looking. Love the combo of ingredients!! Haven’t had the Filo for some time, as do GF now, but we had them at wedding with vegan yumminess inside & loved them!! Love the artichoke idea.

  16. Wow. These filo looks golden brown and beautiful! Look at the layers!! Love all the vege in it too!! I totally agree with you that inspiration come from anywhere. Sometimes its from reading a mag or going to the market. And Sometimes it’s really just to use up whatever that is in the fridge!

  17. These look delicious Hannah! Filo is such a handy readymade ingredient to have around.

  18. That is a cool cultural fusion, a spanakopita wrap. I found out recently that the Greeks have vegan ‘fasting’ versions of their food for their Lent. Not with tofu and nutriyeast of course, but still, there are vegan versions of Greek food that are traditional. Thanks for the heads-up on the frozen kale, I’ve never seen it for sale before but it’s good to know that they have it at Whole Foods.

  19. Just made your Greek Burritos tonight. Love the recipe. Both my mother and sister enjoyed it. One thing I found was that there appears to be an insufficient amount of spices. Would love more dill in it. I think this recipe is a keeper. Thanks.

  20. Oh my. This is so delicious. I have to try it for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  21. love these delicate phyllo burritos!

  22. that looks really great! and i bet it tastes delicious too.

  23. Five servings? Are ya kidding me lady? I’m a vegan with an appetite! I shared this whole recipe with one person and only expected to have one leftover.

  24. Pingback: Greek Burritos | In the Living Well

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