In case you haven’t been reading very long or incase you didn’t notice, one of my all time favorite meals are tacos (or really– pizza, but tacos are a close second). Tacos are a magical food item– there are so many different varieties and ways to prepare them. And as an added bonus: it’s kinda difficult to make an awful taco. Once at a restaurant, I had a taco with green beans in it… &well, that was pretty bad, but even still, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. A lot of people assume vegans can’t eat tacos, because tacos = ground beef, but that’s just plain silly. I’ve actually only ever used the faux ground beef once in a taco, and I probably won’t ever do it again, because it’s just not needed, but its totally an option.
Here are some vegan options that I personally love to put in my tacos:
Salsa: basic salsa, roasted tomatillo salsa, roasted hot pepper and tomato salsa
Meat Replacements: grilled mushrooms, black beans, spicy pinto beans, a mix of: sauteed mushrooms/garlic/onion/peppers/&blackbeans, crumbled tempeh, and the newest one I attempted last night: fried tofu. (This was a hit).
Other toppings: avocado slices, guacamole, raw onion, sauteed onion and peppers, jicama slaw, radish
So what’s missing? Well, besides the obvious missing meat…. you’re also leaving out the cheese or sour cream. If you are using fresh ingredients and properly seasoning everything, you wont need the dairy. Trust me, it will be beyond delicious. And hey, cutting out the dairy saves you that extra fat and cholesterol (if that matters to you).
Start off with: a few tomatoes. Choose whatever type you’d like (aren’t they all delicious anyway?)… I prefer to use plum, cherry, or grape tomatoes. Also: onions, fresh cilantro, &lime (I used more than what’s pictured). If you like raw garlic: throw it in there (nom). If you want it spicier: add jalapeño. Small chop everything. Mix. Squeeze in lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix more. Eat.
Make sure you buy organic, this will make a HUGE difference in your tomato taste. Also, if possible, do not store them in the fridge, this will cause your tomatoes to lose a lot of flavor and be left with a grainy texture.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa:
Tomatillos, peppers (hot or sweet), onion, cilantro. This works stovetop or on a grill. Roast peppers and tomatillos until charred. Chop onion and cilantro. Once peppers cool: small chop and set aside. Puree tomatillos. Mix peppers, onion, and cilantro with tomatillos— or puree everything completely. Salt and pepper to taste. Cool and refrigerate until serving.
Roasted Hot Pepper and Tomato Salsa:
Similar to the previous two recipes. Roast peppers, cool, chop. Mix with chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and lime. Salt and pepper to taste.
I like canned. Sauté diced garlic and onion in a bit of oil. Add beans and (half to all the) liquid. Add cumin, oregano (fresh is available), salt, pepper. Let them simmer over a low heat until desired consistency. That’s it.
So easy. Clean mushrooms. Either leave whole or chop and half. Toss in bowl with a tiny bit of oil, a lot of salt, chili seasoning, and sweet smoked paprika. Skewer and grill. Once cool enough to handle: chop. That’s it!
Veggie Mix With Black (Or Pinto) Beans:
Chop even amounts of mushrooms, onion, and green or red peppers. Chop as much garlic as you’d like. I like to chop as much garlic as I can peel before wanting to give up and throw the whole thing, but I have a garlic addiction and lack patience so this can be up to 6 cloves at a time. Saute all ingredients in a pan with a fair amount of oil. Season well with: chili spice and flake, cumin, oregano, hot paprika, sweet smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Add canned beans, with half the liquid. Simmer until liquid has been mostly absorbed. That’s it.
I attempted to make Veganomicon’s baja-style grilled tempeh tacos. Either, it didn’t come out how it was supposed to, or I just didn’t like it. I ended up crumbling the tempeh after my attempt, sauteing it more, with a ton of smoked paprika. This helped. My best advice for a tempeh filling would be to boil the tempeh for 10 minutes or so to remove the bitterness. Crumble and saute it in oil with onion and garlic. Add seasonings of your choice. My go to seasonings: smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. What work’s even better (if you have the time) is: after boiling, letting it marinade for a few hours before crumbling and sauteing. The marinade used in Veganomicon: 3/4 cups beer (pilsner or ale), 2 cloves crushed garlic (I would use 4 or 5, but that’s me), 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons lime juice, chili powder, and cumin.
Like garlic? Try this one. Press the tofu for 20 minutes or so (drain tofu, wrap in dishtowel, place on plate, put large book or pot on top). While pressing prepare a marinade: oil, veggie stock, chili powder, crushed or small diced garlic (OR BOTH), chili, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, maybe some hot sauce if you’d like. Cube tofu and marinade for as long as you can (the longer the better, but if your hunger kicks in an hour later, then go get em kid!). Pour a generous amount of oil in a pan (I used vegetable oil mixed with coconut oil. Coconut oil is good for you and supposedly great for milk production). Saute diced garlic with chili and smoked paprika. I ended up adding diced peppers too, once I realized I had them). Add in tofu and some of the marinade. Simmer/saute for a long time. This is the tricky part: you want to make sure the tofu browns and doesn’t stick to the pan. The best thing to do is leave it alone. Let if fully brown on one side, (again: a lot of oil), before flipping it. Be careful and patient. Once tofu has shrunk a significant amount and is nicely browned it’s done. Either drain oil on paper towel or if you’re like me and don’t own paper towels: indulge in the garlicky grease.
I either keep this very very simple or add a lot of extras depending on how much I already have going on. I love Florida avocados. In season– they are to die for. Hass avocado’s are also incredibly delicious. Just keep in mind: whatever you do, DO NOT BUY ‘SLIMCADOS’. They are gross and stupid. You don’t need an avocado to have ‘half the fat’. Yes, they are high in fat, but it is good fat! Enjoy it! My super easy way to smash the avocado into gauc: slice in half. take out pit (do not slice hand, I’ve had stitches from this before). With peel still on: make slices to create cubes. Squeeze. Scoop out with spoon. Place in bowl and mash. Always add lime right away, the acidity will help break down the avocado and help keep it from browning. Salt, pepper. Add in any or all of the following: diced onion, cilantro, garlic, tomato, spices.
Peel jicama. Slice very very thinly. Toss in bowl with apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and refrigerate for a couple hours.
There you have it folks: TACOS. I hope I’ve inspired you (even just a little bit!) to venture out into the delicious world of vegan tacos. I do it a few times a week. They are a healthy and great way to add protein and veggies to your meals. Happy taco-ing <3
And if you’d like, please spare two clicks and two seconds of your time to vote HERE for ohdeardrea :)PS. Thank you so much for all the incredibly nice comments! I’m glad you enjoy my home 🙂 Thanks for all the wonderful emails too. You guys rule.