Restaurant brunch, a vegan’s worst enemy. The menus are full of eggs, bacon, sausage, all big no-no’s. It doesn’t get much better when it comes to the waffles, pancakes, french toast, or parfaits. All which generally contain eggs, milk, or yogurt. So what happens if you are vegan and go to a restaurant for brunch that doesn’t cater to vegans? Usually I’ll end up with a salad, toast, and some fruit, or some other waiter collaboration, which is fine, but ordering a fancy dish straight from the menu: not going to happen. So the excitement and joy when you find somewhere that serves vegan brunch? Well I’ll just be dancing happy dances all the way right into that restaurant.
Which is exactly what happened in Isla Mujeres when I came across Lola Valentina, a little restaurant that had an entire section of the menu dedicated to vegan brunch options. Challenge accepted, cue the happy dance. Even though it was already 2pm in the afternoon, I refused not to go for brunch. Once I had a look at the menu, the sweet potato and plantain burrito was exactly what I needed. Immediately, please.
Here it is! See how fast that was? This burrito was insanely delicious! I love the sweet, creamy plantains combined with a hint of spicy deliciousness. I knew upon first bite that I would need to create my own version of this masterpiece. Although it was technically on the brunch menu, I could eat this for lunch or dinner. And so I shall…
I don’t know how it was prepared at Lola’s but for my version, I decided to toss the plantains and sweet potato in spices and roast them. Which is both because I am lazy and tend to avoid cooking ingredients in multiple pans, and because I didn’t want to fry the plantains in a lot of oil (the way plantains are most commonly cooked). The result is soft in the middle, caramelized on the outside, sweet, spicy, why-don’t-I-make-these-everyday-good. Then, I took it a step further and made a Cilantro and Lime Sauce to go with the burrito and ohmygoodness. Yes please. More please. Now please.
These ↑↑↑ are plantains. Nope not bananas, plantains. They are like if a banana and a potato had a baby, and it turned into one delicious baby… hmmm that doesn’t sound very vegan…
I find most grocery stores have them, at least in my hood, but if yours doesn’t, look in Caribbean grocery stores. When you buy them they may be yellow or even green. Boo hiss. Take them home, set them on your counter and wait for a couple of days. You want them to have lots of black spots like in my picture. Even spottier is better. The more black spots the sweeter the plantains will be.
You can peel them like a banana, but sometimes that’s difficult to do, so just slice an end off and cut slits lengthwise to pull off the peel. Slice them diagonally (just because it’s pretty) into 1/4″ thick slices. Then peel and chop up the sweet potatoes into pieces that are about half the size of the plantain slices. The plantains will cook faster so making the sweet potato slices smaller will help them finish cooking at the same time.
Add the plantains and sweet potatoes to a bowl and toss with all of the delicious seasonings. The cayenne is optional, but if you want the spice kick, I recommend it. If you are a timid spice liker, then 1/8 of a teaspoon will do (or a wee pinch).
While the plantains and sweet potatoes are in the oven, you can make the Cilantro and Lime sauce. Just dump all the ingredients into a high speed blender, and blend. Presto, delicious sauce.
Roast the plantains and sweet potatoes, flipping halfway through until they look like this. Omnomnomnom. Creamy on the inside, caramelized on the outside. I think I devoured half of the tray before I even got to making the burritos.
Lay out your tortillas, and fill your burritos with all your favourite fillings. I went for brown rice, extra cilantro, jalapeños and then a generous drizzle of the Cilantro and Lime Sauce. Make the burrito by folding the top and bottom over, and rolling it up so all the yumminess is trapped inside.
For the finishing touch, heat a dry pan (no oil!) over medium-high heat, and place the burritos with the flap side down. Let that toast for 1-2 minutes until it’s golden brown on the bottom. Flip and toast the other side. Your burrito will be sealed shut like in the photo above so that you aren’t stuck with the can’t-set-burrito-down syndrome. Toasting the tortilla also brings out the flavour so its a win-win! Serve with extra cilantro and lime sauce on the side.
The sweet potatoes and plantains are roasted so they are creamy on the inside and caramelized on the outside. Perfect for a summer nights meal.
- 2 plantains, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
- 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chop them into pieces that are about 1/2 the size of the plantain slices
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne optional, will make it spicy!
- 6 large wheat or corn tortillas
- cooked rice, black beans, cilantro, jalapeño, sliced peppers, corn kernels, the lime and cilantro sauce (recipe below), or whatever else you want to layer into your burrito!
Preheat your oven to 400F (200C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
Add the plantains and sweet potato to a bowl with the olive oil and all the spices. Toss to evenly coat. Spread the plantain and sweet potatoes across the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping once halfway through. They are done when the sweet potatoes and plantains are soft all the way through and browned on both sides.
Fill a tortilla with the sweet potatoes and plantains, and whatever other fillings you like. Rice, black beans, cilantro, etc. Fold over the ends and roll them up so all of the fillings are trapped inside.
To seal the burritos closed, heat a dry pan over medium-high heat. Put your burritos seam side down. Toast the burritos for about 1-2 minutes until golden, then flip and toast the other side. This seals the burrito so that it won't fall open, and the toasted tortilla tastes amazing!
Don’t forget the cilantro and lime sauce! This is also great as a dressing for salads.
A simple cilantro lime dressing that is perfect on burritos or any salad.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, see notes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 1 small handful cilantro (about 1/4 cup lightly packed)
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 pinch black pepper
Add everything to a high speed blender, such as a Blendtec, and blend until smooth and creamy!
If you don't have a high-speed blender, you will need to soften the cashews first. Cover the cashews in water and boil for about 10 minutes until tender. Drain, rinse and continue with the recipe using ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon water (instead of the full 1/2 cup of water).
Featured Ingredients: Plantains and lime.