Let's taco 'bout one of the most debated topics in the culinary world: tacos versus burritos. Aficionados of handheld meals everywhere have strong opinions about these delectable dishes. But what gives each dish its unique magic? Are they the same thing? Can they be substituted for one another? We load you up with all the delicious details!
When it comes to the nutritional differences between tacos and burritos, it all depends on what ingredients you use. Tacos are typically smaller and made with a soft or hard shell, while burritos are larger and wrapped in a soft tortilla. Tacos can be filled with a variety of ingredients, such as meat, beans, cheese, lettuce, and tomato, while burritos often include rice and refried beans as a base, with additional toppings like meat, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream.
If you're watching your calorie intake, tacos may be the better option as they are typically smaller and have less room for high-calorie fillings. Burritos are ideal for big appetites, especially for people who consume more of their common base ingredients (like rice and beans).
Two main areas where nutrition values differ include the tortillas and the toppings:
- Tortilla Variations: Burritos often use larger flour tortillas, which can contribute more carbohydrates and calories. However, whole wheat or low-carb tortillas are excellent options as healthier alternatives. Tacos, on the other hand, work exceptionally well with soft corn tortillas, which are generally lower in calories and gluten-free. Opting for corn tortillas can be a great choice for those seeking a lighter option.
- Fillings: The nutritional content of both burritos and tacos largely depends on the fillings. Protein choices like grilled chicken, lean beef, or beans can add a healthy dose of protein, while vegetables provide essential vitamins and fiber. Keep an eye on high-fat toppings like cheese, sour cream, and guacamole, as they can add extra calories. Choose lighter options or use them in moderation for a healthier twist.
Are Tacos and Burritos the Same Thing?
While tacos and burritos share some similarities in terms of their ingredients, they are not the same thing. The main difference lies in their assembly. Tacos are usually open-face, with toppings and fillings heaping directly on the tortilla. Burritos on the other hand are tightly wrapped, enclosing all the mouthwatering ingredients.
Tacos are typically smaller and made with a soft or hard shell, while burritos are larger and folded into a soft or crunchy tortilla. Tacos are often topped with a variety of ingredients. Pile your toppings onto your tortilla or hard taco shell and simply fold in half, which makes a pocket of magic you can eat. They are definitely the more straightforward and simpler option, with a less robust filling list than burritos. Though, there are no rules about limiting what you put into your tacos. Go wild! Fill them with anything!
Burritos are also endlessly customizable. Burritos are almost always contain large, steamed flour tortillas. This allows the tortilla to be extra flexible so that you can roll your burrito without ripping it. You can build a burrito out with just about anything, but they often include rice and refried beans as a base. Load up on protein in the form of meats, eggs, whole grains, or tofu. Next come the veggies, and you can include either cooked or fresh onions, peppers, corn, tomatoes, avocado, and more. Top with your favorite sauces like pico de Gallo, tomatillo salsa, queso, guacamole, and more. What makes the burrito specifically distinct is how the tortilla wraps around the ingredients. This creates a fully enclosed envelope of goodness that you can lift and eat.
Additionally, you eat burritos in a different way. Tacos are often held in the hand and eaten one at a time, while burritos are typically messier, and may require a fork or knife if they are overstuffed. You can also wrap them in foil to eat them on the go.
Can Tacos and Burritos Substitute for One Another?
While tacos and burritos are not the same thing, they can substitute for one another depending on your preferences. If you're in the mood for a smaller, handheld meal, a taco may be the way to go. If you're looking for a more filling meal, a burrito will be the better option.
The construction is the biggest differentiator when it comes to the two. If you need something quick and easy, tacos are a reliable choice. If you don't mind the extra work of making burritos to order or mastering the art of the fold of the burrito — which can be tricky, we won't lie — then burritos are a show-stopper for sure.
However, it's important to note that the flavors and textures of tacos and burritos are different, so substituting one for the other may not always result in the desired outcome. Especially if you're serving people who have sensory processing preferences when it comes to the elements of their foods.
Other Substitution Options for Tacos and Burritos
If you're looking for other substitution options for tacos and burritos, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from. Here are a few ideas:
- Quesadillas: Quesadillas are a great option if you're in the mood for something cheesy and filling. They can be made with a variety of fillings, such as chicken, beef, or vegetables.
- Enchiladas: Enchiladas are similar to burritos in that they are wrapped in a tortilla, but they are typically smaller and covered in sauce. Fill them with a variety of ingredients, such as cheese, meat, or vegetables.
- Nachos: If you're in the mood for something crunchy and cheesy, nachos may be the way to go. They can be topped with a variety of ingredients, such as meat, beans, cheese, and guacamole.
Best Burrito RecipesPrint
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, halved, thinly sliced
1 pound lean ground turkey breast
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup golden raisins
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon rubbed dried sage
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 (15 ounce) can lima beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups crumbled queso blanco cheese
10 whole wheat flour tortillas
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onion and ground turkey, stirring often, for 5 to 6 minutes or until turkey is browned and onion is softened. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Stir in shredded carrots and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
3. Add raisins, tomato sauce, sage, cinnamon, parsley, and lima beans, stirring to combine. Cook for 2 minutes and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Divide turkey mixture among tortillas and sprinkle with cheese. Fold tortilla ends over and roll burrito-style. Serve immediately.
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- Tacos can be made with a hard shell or soft shell, while burritos are always made with a soft tortilla.
- Burritos tend to be larger than tacos, making each burrito more filling and dense.
- Because of the size difference, tacos tend to be lower in calories, protein, and carbs compared to burritos. By using filling that's high in protein, the difference in protein content between the two foods can be reduced.
While there are some similarities between tacos and burritos, they are not the same thing. Tacos are typically smaller and made with a soft or hard shell, while burritos are larger and wrapped in a soft tortilla. You can substitute each for one another depending on your preferences, but the flavors and textures are different. If you're looking for other substitution options, quesadillas, enchiladas, and nachos are all delicious choices. Happy eating!