Eggplant and Mushroom Saute for Tacos

I’ve often envied the delicious veggie tacos at Mexican restaurants, so I decided to try to replicate them. Whenever adapting a recipe based on one from a restaurant, I always know that it’s not going to turn out exactly the same because chefs have specific ratios and speciality ingredients that they use. That being said, every recipe I make is sure to have its own yummy and unique flavors too.

There are so many varieties of veggie tacos, and since I wanted one with lots of protein, I opted for an eggplant and portobello mushroom mixture. The great part about cooking for one is that I have a lot of leftovers and get to try the dish in many different forms. First, I ate the mixture in a cabbage lettuce wrap with salsa. Then, I added chickpeas to the mixture and had that as an entree. Don’t be afraid to try new combinations!

Eggplant and Mushroom Saute

Ingredients:

> 1 medium eggplant, cut into bite-size pieces
> 2 medium portobello mushrooms, chopped
> 1 teaspoon chili powder
> 1 teaspoon ground cumin
> 1 teaspoon salt
> 1 teaspoon black pepper
> 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions:

Combine eggplant, portobello mushrooms and spices in a medium bowl. Over medium heat, place olive oil in a large pan. Add mixture to pan, and cook for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through.

Assemble tacos or prepare for another dish.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from The Chubby Vegetarian.

Lentil-Walnut Green Tacos

I love taking vegetarian spins on classically meat-heavy Mexican meals. I’ve made two types of vegetarian tacos in the past — one filled with a carrot sofrito, and the other with a chickpea-bean mix. This time I decided to make one of the healthiest of tacos out there that is friendly to all kinds of diets. It’s gluten-free and vegan. Instead of using corn tortillas, these tacos use lettuce wraps as the taco shell.

Lentil-Walnut Taco

Ingredients:

> 1 cup green lentils
> 1 cup walnut pieces
> 1 teaspoon ground cumin
> 1 teaspoon chili powder
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 2 tablespoons water
> 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
> 4 tomatoes, diced
> 12 leaves large romaine
> toppings: salsa, sliced avocado, sliced green onion, cilantro

Instructions:

To make the lentil-walnut meat, bring 2 cups water to a boil, and add lentils. Simmer for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain excess water. Combine walnuts, lentils, cumin, chili powder and a dash of salt in a food processor. Pulse until chopped. Add oil and water, and process until well combined.

Grill bell peppers until soft, about 8 minutes.

Assemble tacos by topping lettuce lead with lentil-walnut meat, grilled peppers and other toppings.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Oh She Glows.

Vegan Tacos with Chickpea-Bean Mix

Tacos are typically a meat-dominant food, but they can just as easily make a delicious vegetarian meal. Plus with corn tortillas, they can be vegan and gluten-free, satisfying many dietary needs. Grilling or sautéing the vegetables of your choice is also a good go-to, but why not jazz it up with a flavorful chickpea-bean mix.

Veggie Tacos with Chickpea-Bean Mix

Ingredients:

> 1 can chickpeas, drained
> 1 can black beans, drained
> pinch of cumin
> pinch of paprika
> pinch of chili powder
> pinch of cinnamon
> 2 medium zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
> 1 green bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
> 8 corn tortillas
> 1 yellow onion, diced
> cilantro, chopped
> salsa

Instructions:

To make the chickpea-bean mix, spray medium pan with cooking spray and add chickpeas and black beans to the pan. Season with a pinch of cumin, paprika, chili powder and cinnamon. Cook for about 7 minutes, or until the mixture is thoroughly cooked into a molded mix.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place zucchini and bell pepper on baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and season with a pinch of cumin and salt. Cook for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Warm tortillas over gas stove. Assemble tacos with chickpea-bean mix and vegetables, and top with salsa, onion and cilantro.

Makes 4 servings.

Original recipe.

Vegetarian Tacos

The flavors that make Mexican food so delicious often come from the meat, but I’ve been experimenting with ways to make typically meat-dominant meals just as flavorful in a vegetarian version. These vegetarian tacos are full of flavor and are filled with good-for-you veggies and plenty of protein from the cheese. If meat eaters in the house want their fill of meat, this dish can be adapted by adding chicken or pork.

Vegetarian Tacos

Ingredients:

> 1 1/4 pounds carrots, chopped
> 1 yellow onion, chopped
> 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
> 1 can diced tomatoes, or 1/2 pound fresh tomatoes, chopped
> 2 tablespoons olive oil
> 9 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
> 12 corn tortillas
> salsa
> optional condiments (sour cream, guacamole, etc.)

Instructions:

To make the carrot sofrito, preheat the oven to 225°. In a food processor, pulse the carrots, onion and garlic until very finely chopped. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes to the food processor and pulse until nearly smooth.

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, and add the carrot mixture. Cook over moderate heat until slightly softened, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato puree and a dash of salt, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Coat a 9-by-12 inch baking dish with cooking spray, and transfer the sofrito from the skillet to the dish. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until the carrot sofrito is very soft. Season with salt and stir occasionally.

To assemble the tacos, warm the tortillas and spoon the sofrito over the tortilla. Top with cheese, salsa and any other condiments.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Tacos