Northern Mexico Chivichangas

Chimichangas, called chivichangas in Mexico, are basically deep-fried burritos. A little decadent, but wonderful as an occasional treat, they epitomize the mingling of the American-Mexican border culture by their use of flour tortillas mixed with a filling suffused with adobo. You can find these in Tucson as easily as on the Sonoran side of Nogales.

Makes4 chimichangas



Total TimeUnder 30 minutes

Kid FriendlyYes

Dietary RestrictionsVegan

Dietary ConsiderationVegan


  • 1 teaspoon corn oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 cactus paddle or large zucchini, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup shredded seitan or 1 large portobello mushroom, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup adobo sauce from 1 (7-ounce) can chipotles in adobo
  • 4 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • Salsa of your choice


  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the cactus paddle or zucchini and salt to the skillet, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside. Toss the seitan or portobello in the adobo and set aside. Add enough oil to a deep fryer or Dutch oven to cover a burrito by 1 to 2 inches and bring it to 375°F.

  2. Along the left side of a tortilla, spread 1/4 cup of the Refried Beans, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on both the bottom and top of the tortilla. Place 1/4 cup of the seitan or portobello on top of the beans, followed by 2 to 3 tablespoons of cactus. Roll the tortilla closed about halfway. Fold the top and bottom of the tortilla inward, then tightly roll the rest of the tortilla closed, tucking the top and bottom folds into the tortilla as you roll it, making a burrito. Repeat this with the remainder of the filling and tortillas.

  3. Working one at a time, add a burrito to the hot oil, holding it closed with tongs, and fry it for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a paper towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining burritos. Serve with shredded lettuce and your favorite salsa.


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