by Maya Girimaji & Jennifer Zhan, managing editor & editor-in-chief

Maya can cook. Jennifer cannot. For the next three months, the two of us will try finding recipes that people of any skill level can make, whether it’s a full meal, a snack, or a dessert for cheat day.

This month we made veggie wraps, courtesy of Maya’s original recipe. Here’s how we did it:

1. Wash all of your ingredients.

M: I typically put in bell peppers, tomato, onions, garlic and spinach. Sometimes I add in carrots depending on how I feel for the day. A great thing about this recipe is that not only is it healthy, you can also add whatever you want depending on your taste.

J: This part is pretty easy – even I could do it. You just scrub thoroughly in case there’s any dirt or chemicals on the vegetables. One thing to look out for, though: if you put too much water on the spinach, it’ll actually wilt when you cook it.

             The difference in chopping ability is apparent.

2. Chop all vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

M: This is a critical part when making any dish. You have to think about what you’re going to do while eating. If you make the pieces too big, it’s hard to eat the actual dish. But you also don’t want to make them too small. In this wrap, since we’ll be using our hands to eat and not utensils, you want to make the vegetables bite-size. And try to make them as even as possible, just for aesthetic reasons.

J: I have no experience with a knife, so everything I cut looked pretty much the opposite of aesthetic. But like Maya said, the important thing is that you don’t choke on a pepper while you’re eating your wrap. If your cooking skills are more on my level, I’d say just focus on making your meal edible first. Embrace the ugly!

M: Just be confident. If you’re nervous or scared, you will for sure cut yourself with the knife. Take your time and have a good grip on both the knife and the vegetable.

J: Warning: tomatoes are more slippery than you might expect.

3. Add oil to a large pan and heat it at medium-high heat. Once the pan is relatively hot, add the garlic.

M: You will be able to tell if the pan is hot by putting your hand above the pan but NOT ON IT. Make sure the garlic is finely chopped so that you don’t bite into large pieces of garlic while eating because that isn’t a very pleasant experience.

J: Maya specifically warned me not to throw the garlic down, and I was like, ‘what fool would do that?’. Then I immediately did it. It’s scarier to put your hand close to the pan and gently place the garlic, but as I unfortunately discovered, dropping it will make hot oil splatter up and burn your hands.

M: If you’re cooking with a friend and she burns herself despite your explicit instructions, you’ll have to take care of that. But don’t forget that since the oil is hot, you’ll want to constantly move the garlic with a spatula so that it doesn’t burn. Burnt garlic tastes bitter and gross.

4. Reduce the heat and add the onions and bell peppers – they take the longest to cook.

Don’t cook the spinach and tomatoes! Put them in after the pan is taken off the heat.

J: This is when everything starts to smell really good.

M: Yeah. Jennifer had to shove her face in the pan just to get a good few sniffs of it.

J: To be honest, the smell is the only thing I remember from this step. You’ll have to describe what else you were doing. I was completely zoned out.

M: So after you smell the food, the onions should turn translucent and the peppers will get softer. That means they’re cooked, so take the pan off of the heat.

J: And then you mix in the spinach and tomatoes. The wrap is a mix of cooked and uncooked ingredients.

M: The uncooked part really keeps it fresh and light. And the beans are a great protein that fills you up.

5. Heat up a separate pan to medium-high heat. Do not add oil to this. Once the pan is hot, place the tortilla on the pan.

J: You need to press down on the tortilla with a spatula and flip it every once in awhile as it cooks. At first, this is pretty boring, but as it heats up, the tortilla will start to puff, so when you press down, it’s like playing Whack-a-Mole with air bubbles. Fun.

M: Popping it is the best part. Letting the tortilla puff up means that the heat has spread throughout the inside and it’s properly cooked.

6. Place the tortilla on a plate. Grab your favorite hummus and smear it onto the tortilla.

M: Hummus is a great protein. It’s made with chickpeas, sesame seeds and olive oil. All good, healthy things.

J: Spread it evenly so that when you’re eating later some of your bites aren’t exploding with flavor while others are literally just bare tortilla.

                             Almost done!

7. Add the vegetable mix to the tortilla, and any extra ingredients you want.

M: This recipe isn’t one we found online or in a cookbook. So you can really do what you want. This time, I put black beans inside. Sometimes I put carrots. If you want to spice things up, add paprika. You can even add rice if you want.

J: I didn’t put any beans in my mine, and I thought the wrap ended up tasting slightly Mediterranean, while Maya said hers tasted slightly Mexican. I like that you can kind of manipulate the flavor. That way you can make this dish several times and still get some variety in the taste.  

8. Fold the tortilla like a burrito and enjoy!

M: How would you evaluate this wrap, Jennifer?

J: Normally healthy food doesn’t taste that great, but this was really good. Thanks for teaching me. I think it’s something that I might be able to make by myself one day, if I get some more practice. What did you think?

M: Yeah. It’s super easy and took us maybe 30 minutes? It fills you up and you can eat as many as you want without feeling heavy or guilty. Great alternative to Chipotle or Freebirds. Hope y’all try this at home!

Stay tuned for our next recipe!