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Burrito Bar

Thomas J. Story
Yield Makes 10 servings
Notes: At many Mexican delis, you can find great cooked filling choices like carnitas (slow-cooked pork) and carne asada (marinated beef steak). And meat sections often carry ready-to-grill marinated meats such as lomo de res (beef), puerco adovado (pork), or fajitas de pollo (chicken). If those options aren't available, look for rotisserie chickens from a supermarket deli.


  • 8 ounces cotija or feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups crema (Mexican sour cream) or sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa (1 or 2 types)
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 ounce fresh cilantro
  • 5 green onions
  • 2 avocados (8 oz. each) or 1 1/2 cups guacamole
  • 1 lime
  • 2 or 3 cans (16 oz. each) black, pinto, or refried beans
  • About 2 pounds boned cooked meat (see notes, above) or 2 roasted whole chickens (1 3/4 lb. each)
  • 10 fresh flour tortillas (10 in. wide)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 611
  • caloriesfromfat 44 %
  • protein 36 g
  • fat 30 g
  • satfat 12 g
  • carbohydrate 53 g
  • fiber 7.9 g
  • sodium 1744 mg
  • cholesterol 134 mg

How to Make It

  1. Crumble cotija cheese and put in a bowl. Place crema and salsa in containers. Rinse lettuce, cilantro, and green onions. Finely shred enough lettuce to make about 5 cups and place in a container. Chop cilantro and thinly slice onions (including green tops); put in containers. Pit and peel avocados, thinly slice into a bowl, and mix with 2 tablespoons lime juice.

  2. In a 2- to 3-quart covered pan over medium heat, stir beans often until hot (adding a little water, if needed, to refried beans), about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. Or heat, covered, in a microwave oven at full power (100%), stirring once, until hot, 3 to 4 minutes. If using whole beans, lift beans from liquid with a slotted spoon or drain in a colander.

  3. Tear cooked meat into coarse shreds or cut into thin slices. If using a whole roast chicken, pull meat off bones and shred; sliver skin and include (or discard if desired). If meat is raw, grill it, then slice into bite-size pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature. To reheat, place meat in a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and heat in microwave oven at half power (50%), stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Drizzle 1/4 cup water over a dish towel. Wrap tortillas in towel and overwrap with microwave-safe plastic wrap. Heat in a microwave oven at full power (100%) until hot and steamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and set towel-wrapped tortillas in a basket or covered casserole.

  5. Arrange cheese, crema, salsa, lettuce, cilantro, onions, avocados, beans, meat, and tortillas on the table.

  6. Note: Nutritional analysis is per burrito with chicken.