Monday, February 8, 2010

Building a Better Burrito

I admit it, I am a recovering Grilled Stuft Burrito (GSB) addict. I used to love them but I haven't been to Taco Bell since before I started changing my eating habits. And after digging around for nutrition information on their site, I'm not sure I'm ever going back. Here is the nutrition information and ingredients in a GSB made with chicken, directly from Taco Bell's site.


Fat~24 fat grams (mostly hydrogenated or partially, anyway)
Carbohydrate~77 grams
Sodium~ 2180 (just under the RDA for an entire day)
Fiber~9 grams
Protein~34 grams

Southwest Chicken~Chicken Breast Meat With Rib Meat, Water, Seasoning [Salt, Maltodextrin, Spices, Garlic Powder, Chili Pepper, Paprika, Onion Powder, Carrageenan, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Natural Flavoring, Mixed Triglycerides, Yeast, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Syrup Solids, Yeast Extract, Alginates (Sodium, Calcium And/Or Ammonium), Cellulose, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate Used To Protect Quality, Not More Than 2% Silicon Dioxide Added To Prevent Caking, Soybean Oil], Modified Food Starch, Sodium Phosphates Soy Lecithin (Used As A Processing Aid).

Pinto Beans, Partially Hydrogenated Soy Bean Oil (With TBHQ And Citric Acid Added To Protect Flavor) , Salt.

Three-Cheese Blend~
Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese (Cultured Pasteurized Part-Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto), Pasteurized Process Monterey Jack And American Cheese With Peppers [Monterey Jack And American Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Water, Cream, Sodium Citrate, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Lactic Acid], Anticaking Agent.

Pepper Jack Sauce~
Soybean Oil, Buttermilk, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Egg Yolk, Jalapeno Peppers, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Granular, MontereyJack, Parmesan, and Semisoft Cheeses (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Salt, Buttermilk*, Bell Pepper*, Xanthan Gum, Whey, Mustard Seed, Garlic*, Onion*, Natural Flavor, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate Added as Preservatives, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Spice, Proplene Glycol Alginate, Calcium Disodium EDTA Added To Protect Flavor. *Dehydrate

Tortilla Flour~Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Contains One Or More Of The Following: Cottonseed Oil, Soybean Oil), with Mono- and Diglycerides, Sugar, Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Salt, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Fumaric Acid, Calcium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (used as preservatives), Dough Conditioners (DATEM, Mono and Diglycerides, Enzymes

Fiesta Salsa~Tomatoes, White Or Yellow Onions, Cilantro. Fiesta Salsa Dressing: Diced Green Chili (Green Chilies, Citric Acid), Vinegar, Water, JalapeƱo Chili, Partially Hydrogenated Corn Oil, Salt, Garlic Powder, Xanthan Gum, and Less Than 0.1% Sodium Benzoate Added As A Preservative

Seasoned Rice~Water, Seasoning: Salt, Vegetarian Broth (Natural Flavors {Including Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Autolyzed Yeast}, Maltodextrin, Salt, Citric Acid, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Tapioca Dextrin), Tomato Powder, Corn Flour, Spices, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dehydrated Bell Pepper, Dehydrated Onion, Dehydrated Tomatoes, Paprika (Color), Extractives of Paprika (Color), Citric Acid, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Less than 2% Silicon Dioxide added to prevent caking.Rice (Raw): Enriched Precooked Parboiled Long Grain Rice [Rice, Niacin, Ferric Orthophosphate (Iron), Thiamine Mononitrate (Thiamine), Folic Acid]. Oil: High-Oleic Low-Linolenic Canola Oil, TBHQ (To Protect Flavor), Dimethylpolysiloxane (An Antifoaming Agent).

Holy merde! Did you have any idea the amount of crap contained in one fast food item? I'm shocked but shouldn't be. Fast food companies don't have our health interests are heart. I know I can do better with a grilled stuffed burrito, filling and tasty to satisfy the mouth and highly nutritious to satisfy the body.

I started with a La Tortilla Factory Smart and Delicious low carb tortilla. Honestly, they are not good. Tasteless with bad texture but are transformed into something truly tasty after just a few minutes in the George Foreman.

Here are the ingredients of the tortilla...

Ingredients: Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Oat Fiber, Soy Bean Flour, Cold Pressed Canola Oil And/Or Safflower Oil, Contains 2% Or Less Of The Following: Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Sea Salt, Yeast, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Calcium Propionate (To Maintain Freshness).

Then I layered on some herb salad blend. I always keep baby greens around to stuff into sandwiches. It's a painless way to get extra veggies. It also acts as insulation to keep the tortilla from going soggy.

I made a batch of the most delicious chili (I'll post the recipe later because it's really worth trying.) It came out so rich and thick, I knew it would be an amazing filling for my burrito.

Then the garnishes. You could put whatever you have in the fridge, sour cream, leftover grains, anything. I put cilantro, a squeeze of lime, 1/4 of a creamy, ripe Haas avocado and a few dashes of Sriracha hot sauce.

Wrapped it up, grilled it up and gobbled it up.

Doesn't that look good? It was full of yum and full of good stuff, too...

Calories~331 (half the calories of the GSB)
Fat~ 16 grams (mostly from avocado which is a fat that you want your body to have)
Carbohydrates~37 grams (a savings of 40 grams)
Sodium~ 450 milligrams
Protein~22 grams
Fiber~19 grams (10 bonus grams!)


  1. if this blizzard we had in Delaware didn't snow me in, i'd be on my way to buy tortillas. can't wait to see the recipe for the chili!

  2. Holy merde, indeed! An additives list a mile long!

    Your recipe looks scrumptious!

  3. Wow, that list of ingredients is stunning. Ick! And I used to love T. Bell. No wonder we called it Bag of Death in college. Thanks for your burrito recipe - looks very yummy! And keep up the great writing, Andra - I've gotten addicted to your blog. (This is Suzy from EL.)

  4. Great recipe makeover = which proves even more that whatever those fast food companies try to sell us we can make way better ourselves!!