I’m going to make this short because I know you really just want to get to the recipe, but I do have some things to say. So I have a long history with Taco Bell, probably my most frequented fast-food joint from back in the day. I’ve also had A LOT of Crunch Wraps and they’re a true comfort food for me. When I became plant-based, it didn’t take long for me to tackle a vegan Crunch Wrap copycat, and I’ve finally gotten around to posting a formal recipe.
So there are 6 pieces to my crunch wrap puzzle –
-large soft flour tortilla
-saucy stewed black beans
-chipotle “queso” sauce
-crispy corn tortilla
-fresh tomato salsa
-shredded iceberg lettuce
So many flavor and textures and they all come together in a symphony of delicious that I simply can’t get enough of. It’s like a burrito except with an inner layer of crisp and that you get a little bit of everything in each bite.
The black beans I’m using are a signature recipe. My stewed black beans are made from dry beans, not canned, and they’re deliciously simple, flavorful and perfectly saucy. The recipe makes a lot of beans, but you only need a heaping 1/4 cup of them for each crunch wrap, so expect leftovers. Same deal with the Chipotle “Queso” Sauce. You only need a couple tablespoons for each wrap, but the queso recipe is a full batch. Let me tell you, there is nothing better than having these beans and this queso in the fridge for later. Sure, you can freeze them, cut the recipes in half or use store-bought shortcuts, but if you’re going to make them yourself, why go through all the effort to only make a scant amount? You’ll thank me when you have easy burrito bowls or taco salads on hand for another day.
The OG Crunch Wrap consists of an upper layer made with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and sour cream. Because I’m eliminating the sour cream, I decided to use a pico de gallo (salsa fresca) instead of just plain tomatoes. This addition gives the wrap so much flavor and freshness, it’s so amazing. I make my own pico de gallo with red onion, garlic, cilantro and lime juice, but you can use plain tomatoes and vegan sour cream if you prefer, or a store bought fresh tomato salsa. So yeah, it’s really customizable and you can do whatever you want with it, I’m really just here to inspire.
1 large burrito-size flour tortilla
heaping 1/4 cup Stewed Black Beans (or similar protein of choice)
2 tablespoons vegan Queso Sauce
1 taco size corn tortilla, either soft or crispy
2 large handfuls shredded iceberg lettuce
2.5 tablespoons pico de gallo, homemade or store-bought (drain the juice off, reserve)
oil for pan frying
If your taco-size corn tortilla is soft, heat oven to 425 degrees. Brush tortilla with oil, season with salt. Bake for 5-6 minutes, flip, and bake for another 5-6 minutes until super crispy and slightly darker in color.
Get all components prepped and ready to go in an assembly line. Heat a cast iron skillet over low heat (preheating for grilling the crunchwraps). When you’re ready to assemble, heat the flour tortilla gently just to make it more pliable, I do this in the cast iron skillet that heating up. On a plate or clean surface, lay out the flour tortilla and top with the black beans. Form the beans to the same size as the small corn tortilla. Top beans with queso and then the crispy corn tortilla. Top the tortilla with a small-ish handful of the shredded lettuce and then top with the pico (remember to drain excess liquid off of the pico salsa and to also reserve it for plating).
Once everything is in the tortilla, turn the pan heat to medium to medium-high and add a teaspoon or two of oil. Now it’s time to fold the crunch wrap before cooking it in the pan. Keeping the crispy corn tortilla centered and steady, fold the flour tortilla up and around everything using the corn tortilla as a guide. To do this, fold one side over – holding it down and keeping corn tortilla centered as you use the other hand to fold the next section over in an overlapping pattern, doing this six or seven times as you make your way back around. I stuff mine to the point that there is a small opening at the top with the pico salsa popping out, which I actually like. Folding these guys will likely take some practice, especially when you stuff them like I do, but after making all four of our crunchwraps I was a pro.
Use your fingers to hold the shape as you carefully transfer the wrap over to the skillet, folded side down. Gently press the wrap into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy. Flip and repeat on the flat side. Lower heat if the pan gets too hot, adjust as needed.
For plating, add the remaining shredded lettuce to a plate and drizzle with some of the reserved salsa liquid. Lay the crunch wrap partially on top.