Chimichanga! It’s so fun to say! I had a request for a chimichanga video from my buddy Larry. That same week, I had TWO requests for “unhealthy vegetarian food” — a descriptive that makes me smile. A chimichanga is pretty unhealthy, on account of the frying, and the cheese, and also the frying. So I figured a smash-up of both requests would keep everyone happy!
These chimichangas turned out to be mini-chimichangas (or mini-chimis as they say during Happy Hour around local Tex-Mex joints) because I only had taco-sized flour tortillas on hand instead of the big burrito-sized ones that are usually called for. (In case you’re not clear, a chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito.) Either way you want to play it is cool. I kind of like the mini ones. Easier to eat and a higher ratio of crunchy shell:melty cheesy filling. Often in restaurants, they are served drowned in either a warm red chili sauce or a cool creamy cilantro sauce. Sometimes both sauces! Since I don’t keep sour cream on hand, I made my sauce with yogurt, cilantro, and garlic. I think that sauce would also make a good green-goddessy kind of salad dressing, to be frank. It’s pretty dang good.
Like burritos, you can fill chimichangas with anything. Beans and cheese are requirements and I prefer refried beans because they help all the fillings stick together and stay inside the chimi while you’re chowing down. Meats can be anything you desire: shredded chicken, beef picadillo, shredded brisket or roast beef, leftover pork roast, leftover anything. If you’re using leftover meat, shred or chop it fairly small and mix in a little salsa and something creamy to help bind it: cream cheese, sour cream, or ricotta cheese like I did here. Wrap the fillings (don’t overload the tortilla!) up inside like a burrito: bottom, sides, roll it over. Secure with toothpicks. Fry! Fry! FRY! You’re done!Print
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large portobello mushroom
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce or liquid aminos
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup refried beans
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
- 8 standard flour tortillas or 4 burrito-size flour tortillas
- 4–6 cups oil for frying (peanut, corn, canola)
- Creamy sauce:
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 10 stalks cilantro, stems and leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- pinch of salt
- Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
- Slice portobello thinly, then cut slices in half. Add to skillet with a pinch of salt. Cover and let steam about 2 minutes. Stir in onion, jalapeño, garlic, cumin and oregano and cook another minute until cumin starts to smell toasty. Add soy sauce and bell pepper and cook another 30-60 seconds. Turn off heat. Stir in ricotta. Set aside.
- Warm tortillas on the stove or in the microwave to make them easier to fold. For mini chimis, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons mushroom mix and 1 tablespoon beans in the lower center of the tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon cheese. Fold like a burrito and thread toothpicks into the seam to hold.
- For large chimis, use about 1/4 cup mushroom and beans, top with a couple tablespoons of cheese and fold up.
- Heat oil (1″ deep for mini chimis; 2″ deep for large chimis) to 360ºF.
- Carefully add chimis, seam-side down, 3-4 at at time. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side until golden.
- Cool on a rack while you make the creamy sauce.
- For sauce: Combine all in a food processor or blender and puree.
- Serve chimichangas with cream sauce and salsa of your choice.
Rumor has it chimis originated from my locale…Tucson! Just thought you’d enjoy that fun tidbit. Love your turquoise plate, by the way.
Rad! Where’s the best place for chimis there? My cousin is going to school in Tucson. I’ll tell her to find some chimis. 😉
Guadalajara Grill…and one is big enough for two!
Where to start? Well, these look totally delicious. On the other hand, my dietician might object. On the third hand, she encourages one “excursion” a week, and this is way healthier than most other culinary excursions I could think of.
Definitely use vegetarian refried beans, or go healthier, albeit less binding, with plain or even ranch beans.
I really like portabella mushrooms — very meaty. Crimini would be almost as good. Your tip about covering the mushrooms for a little bit is great. I just use a rule of thumb to saute mushrooms for 3 minutes; your method would speed things up. Thanks!
Cabot makes a Sharp Extra Light Cheddar that has 75% less fat and tastes great. That could lighten it a bit.
Amino acids, I think not. Instead of soy sauce, temari could be substituted — less or no wheat and slightly thicker. The yogurt topping looks great; it’s a tzatziki if you added mince cucumber. Overall, very mouthwatering and definitely worth an excursion.
Thanks for another great episode!
Oh boy, they are totally delicious. But terribly bad for arteries and things like that. 😉
You could also bake them, just brushed or sprayed with a little oil, on a rack. I’d do 375º for 10-15 minutes or until crisped up.
Yummy idea to add cucumber to the sauce. If I’d had Greek yogurt, that would have made it thicker and more dipping consistency, too. Thanks for the ideas!
noticed lately you are using a portable cooktop, what kind is it and do you like it, Been looking for one but am on the fence whether its worth the cost or not Thanx
Hi Heather! I got it at the big Asian market here in Austin, MT Supermarket. The sticker on it says “Gourmet Chef model #B-0029”. It was only around $20 and the butane canisters (which last quite a while) were about $8 for 4 of them, I think. Definitely worth the cost to me!
Thanks Hilah, next time I’m in Chicago think i’ll head to one of my favorite asian markets and pick one up, That is a heck of alot cheaper then I was expecting to pay, you made my day
I was surprised, too! Hope you find one.
I don’t know where to start. First, I LOVE the idea of mini chimichangas! We have Taco Night here once a week and always have some chimichangas with the tacos and burritos, and the mini’s would be perfect. Also, would be a great idea for an appetizer tray. Then, mushrooms are a super idea for the filling, I think your filling in the video was perfect. My guys here like sour cream and salsa with theirs, but I will make some of your creamy sauce. Tip: You probably already know this, but a little flour/water paste does nicely getting the reguar size chimichangas to seal up without toothpicks, and that might work for the mini’s too – I will have to try it out. And thanks for the shout-out here on your recipe page! YAY, I got my name in one of Hilah’s recipes! My life is complete.
This is the sort of vegetarian dish I like. Deep fried with cheese 🙂
Oh snap, that is actually what I made for dinner tonight. I second the Aminos since I use them with a ton o’ stuff. I use vegetarian black beans and mash them a bit. I also toss in some grilled corn for color. Good stuff, totally horrible for me but good stuff.
For road trips, I make breakfast chimis by using beans, eggs, and peppers. They keep and aren’t half bad if they’ve been in foil for a couple hours. Sorry, but they even beat a Buc-ee’s breakfast burrito.
My aunt, one from the deep back woods of Florida wanted to go out for something exotic while she was visiting. So, we asked her what she wanted and she wanted chimichangas since she’d read about them in a magazine. Her city didn’t even have as much as a Taco Bell. So in that case, Baby Auc’s was pretty darned exotic.
What a coincidence, Scott! 😀
For the breakfast chimis, you fry them and then wrap in foil? Interesting idea. I’ll have to try that. Can’t be bad.
That is a cute story about your aunt! Seriously, I’m smiling thinking about it. Thanks for writing!
I love chimis and similar foods because they are a good repository for leftovers. I tried the recipe above. I decided to go with the large ones. Don’t know why. The small ones would have been cute. But the results were adorable and delicious. Thanks.
That is a great point, Gene! Excellent way to use odds and ends. So glad you enjoyed this recipe, too!
Hilah, do you ever say to yourself and want to say on camera…”Dayum! I’m good!”
Cause you are!
Haha! Yes, all the time. Chris makes me edit it out! 😉
I don’t keep sour cream on hand either. I make my own creme fraiche. It’s very easy. In an old 24 oz. sour cream or cottage cheese container (I reuse these) I mix 1 pint of heavy cream with a half pint of buttermilk. Let it sit out on the counter (I put it on top of my fridge) overnight, and in the morning put it in the fridge. Wa-la! Creme fraiche deliciousness. This lasts a while, if you can keep it around.
Thank you, Thomas. That does sound wonderfully easy! This way I suppose you would also get those good lacto-bacteria. 🙂