So a few years ago, my housemate comes home from a bucks weekend and announces that he is now going to be a vegetarian… I suppose three days of eating nothing but meat and bread will do that to a person…
This wasn’t a problem for me. I myself have never really been a huge fan of meat. I’ve never been able to enjoy the smell of it while it cooks – I used to cook lasagne in the middle of winter with all the windows open just so I wouldn’t smell it while it was browning. However, what I do miss is tacos.
Yes, yes, I know you can make tacos with fish or chicken… Fish tacos are fish tacos, not taco tacos, and well, chicken belongs in fajitas, not tacos… yes well…
I haven’t made tacos at home for quite a while, because most vegetarian tacos just didn’t quite hit the spot; they were either not satisfying or too cold or just plain boring.
It occurred to me one night when I was making my four-bean vegetarian chilli that if I made a drier version and altered the spice palate of the dish slightly, it might actually work as a building block to a yummy and fulfilling vegetarian taco…
Let’s just say I’m never going to a Mexican restaurant to order tacos ever again. Have a lovely national taco day everyone!
Vegetarian Tacos with Tomato and Corn Salsa
- 10 taco shells (hard, soft, your choice)
- 4 teaspoons olive oil (halved)
- 1 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 red onion (finely chopped)
- 1 red capsicum (deseeded, sliced into thin strips)
- 400g can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 400g can four-bean mix (or your favourite beans)
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon thyme (halved)
- Up to 1 teaspoon of chipotle powder (add ½ teaspoon for less heat)
- 3 fresh tomatoes (diced)
- 2 corn stalks
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 1 tablespoon coriander (fresh, very finely chopped, optional)
- 100g cheese (grated, to serve, optional)
- Sour cream (to serve, optional)
- Guacamole (to serve, optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Arrange the capsicum slices on a baking tray and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and half a teaspoon of thyme. Place the corn stalks on a separate baking tray, but do not add oil. Put both baking trays in the oven, making sure to put the capsicums in the higher position in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the capsicum begins to char. Remove and allow to cool. (You may wish to leave the oven on at this stage if you are planning on heating up your taco shells.)
- Meanwhile, add the remaining two teaspoons of olive oil into a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and the onion. Season with cumin, salt, chipotle powder and the rest of the thyme. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, beans and roasted capsicum, and mix well to combine. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- While the sauce is cooking, carefully remove the kernels from the corn stalks using a sharp knife. Add the kernels to the diced, fresh tomatoes and coriander, if using, and mix to combine. Add half of the lime juice and taste before adding more for personal taste. Season with salt and set aside.
- Prepare the hard or soft tacos at this stage, following the instructions of whichever brand you are using.
- Serve the tacos with the bean filling, the tomato and corn salsa, grated cheese, sour cream and guacamole.