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This vegan Chimichanga is a healthier alternative to the conventional deep-fried burrito. Pinto beans, brown rice, vegetable crumbles, and the most wonderful rich green chili sauce this side of the border are stuffed into a giant flour tortilla.
If you’ve ever had a chimichanga, you probably know it’s one of the most delectable meals in Mexican American cuisine. It’s also amusing to shout “CHIMICHANGAS!” in the kitchen while preparing them, and everyone in the house looks confused.
What makes a vegan chimichanga different from a burrito?
Chimichangas are essentially fried burritos. They are loaded with meat, cheese, and beans at Mexican restaurants. Though these fillings vary and provide a variety of alternatives, I went with a tasty and simple jackfruit mixture.
Burritos, though, are cooked and topped with sauce. So I air-fried my chimichanga dish to create that crisp surface without oil.
If you don’t have an air fryer available, you can bake a chimichanga instead.
What exactly is vegan chimichanga?
A chimichanga is a flour tortilla packed with rice, beans, and meat (vegan crumbles are used in this recipe!), similar to a burrito. Normally, the burrito is deep-fried. However, in this healthy alternative, we bake or softly broil them in the oven! So you’ve got a whole supper that’s really delicious with a creamy green chile sauce dolloped on top!
Tortillas without oil from the store
Regardless of the variety of tortillas available at the supermarket, if you practice an oil-free, plant-based lifestyle, you must check the packaging and ensure that you get the correct tortillas.
8 Large Flour Tortillas
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
½ cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups brown rice, cooked
2 cups pinto beans, cooked
2 cups veggie crumbles
Green Chili Sauce:
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp onion powder
2-3 TBSP of vegan chicken seasoning (you can also use vegetable bouillon)
5-5 Tbsp of flour, unbleached ( you can use cornstarch for the gluten-free version)
⅔ cup raw cashews
4 cups water, divided
4 oz canned diced fire-roasted green chilis
- First, with 1 tbsp of olive oil, sauté sliced onion until fairly cooked. Then throw in the vegetable crumbles (for those using) and two cloves of chopped garlic and cook until heated through. Combine the sautéed combination with the cooked beans (follow recommendations below if using canned) and rice.
- Lightly heat the flour tortillas in the microwave or on the stovetop before stuffing. This softens the tortilla and prevents it from breaking.
- Stuff the tortilla with 1 to 2 cups of burrito filling, allowing about an inch on the sides and 2 inches unfilled at the top and bottom. Begin by pinching in about an inch on each side, then wrap up the bottom, folding and curling as you go.
- Don’t panic if your burrito wrap has a weird shape! Sometimes I just tuck all the sides together to make a square. If necessary, use a toothpick to keep everything sealed; just be sure to take it out before distributing!!
- Arrange your wrapped burrito, open side down, on a greased baking sheet or a silicone mat. Put some olive oil on the top of each one.
- Broil the burritos for three to five minutes until the edges are gently browned. Watch them closely so they don’t burn!
- Meal Prep instructions:
While building chimichangas is very straightforward, if you make everything from scratch (rice, beans, toppings), the prep time might add up. The key is to prepare them ahead of time! To prepare ahead of time, broil the tops as directed above, then cool fully before storing them in a container (an airtight one) in the fridge. You may also freeze them now for a couple of months. When you are ready, just put them in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes (more if still frozen).
To make the thick green chile sauce/gravy, follow these steps:
- First, combine cashews, 2 cups water, vegan chicken spice or veggie bouillon, salt, flour, and onion powder in a food processor until totally smooth. Next, pour the combined mixture into a pan over medium heat, along with the leftover 2 cups of water and the canned fire-roasted chopped green chilis. Let it t Thicken over low heat, whisking often to prevent burning.
- To serve, dollop a spoonful of green chili sauce over your chimichanga. Then, top with shredded lettuce, salsa, vegan cheese, and chopped green onions (or any additional toppings your heart wants!). Enjoy!
Pin this recipe if you liked it and save it for later!
When you’re using canned pinto beans instead of handmade (seasoned) pinto beans, add a pinch of cumin, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder to the crumble/onion combination while it’s sautéing. Furthermore, when using canned pinto beans, make sure to thoroughly rinse and drain them before using!
Baking vs. frying:
Do you want to pan or deep fry your chimichanga? Take a chance! I’ve always baked them, but I must confess that the concept of using an air fryer for them seems fantastic. The next kitchen gadget on my shopping list!
As you see, it is not that hard to make this healthy and delicious recipe, let me know in the comments section how it turned out for you, or if you have any questions about it. Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for more recipes.
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