SEEMA Cooks: Colorful Vegetarian Tacos

tacos
Image courtesy of Malathy Chandrasekar

When we moved from Illinois to Texas, one of the activities I eagerly looked forward to, was eating at several authentic Mexican restaurants. Dallas is (in)famous for being the place where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Did you know that it is also the birthplace of the well-known 7-Eleven stores? Their headquarters is still located here.

This city is also well known for its high concentration of restaurants per square mile. Since we are so close to the Mexican border, I thought I’d start to taste authentic fajitas, tacos, enchiladas and guacamole. Margaritas, chips, churros and flan.

But wherever we ate, we found the food greasy and cheesy, margaritas were sugary and there were not enough vegetables on my plate.

Authentic Mexican Vegetarian Tacos

A trip to Mexico changed everything. At a hole-in-the-wall vegetarian restaurant in Mexico City, I struck up a conversation with an English-speaking wait staff. I explained to her that I wanted less cheese, less salt, less sugar and more veggies on my tacos. She looked at me in surprise and said, “That’s exactly how we make our tacos.” I waited with bated breath.

After the meal was devoured, I realized I had eaten the best Mexican food ever! I then knew my mistake: I was dining at chain restaurants in my city. These restaurants “Americanize” Mexican food. They add too much of cheese and oil and make the food extremely salty. Vegetables are sparse and mostly overcooked. And the desserts are literally doused in sugar.

In Mexico, I ate the real deal. Vegetarian tacos that had plenty of crunchily cooked vegetables, with just a hint of cheese. Fresh cilantro, table-side guacamole, made-from-scratch salsa and beans baked just right added to the appeal.

Now, instead of picking chain Mexican restaurants, we frequent the small mom-and-pop run establishments. Not only are we getting authentic food, but we also encourage local businesses. Win-win.

Colorful Vegetarian Tacos

Now, I make tacos at home, and they turn out perfect every time. I can control the quality of ingredients and the quantity of oil, salt and cheese. It allows me to let my imagination run wild. I can also experiment with different sauces and salsas.

Try making these tacos in your own home. I promise you that you will invite a small part of Mexico into your home.

I have used store bought tortillas, Mexican cheese blend and salsa for this recipe. Everything else is home made. Feel free to use BPA free cans of baked black beans if you don’t want to take the trouble of cooking them.

The Recipe

Bring a whiff of authentic Mexican food into your home with these easy and super healthy veggie tacos. Sink your teeth into these tacos and you will never eat them at a restaurant again.

Course: Appetizer, breakfast, main course, side dish

Cuisine: Mexican

Special diet: Gluten-free, nut-free, no added sugar, vegetarian

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

Calories: 269kcal

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 jalapenos, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup onion, fine-cut
  • 1 cup bell peppers, cut 1″ thick (I use red, orange, green and yellow)
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, cut 1″ thick
  • 1/2 cup yellow squash, cut 1″ thick
  • 1/2 cup black bean (Eden Organic Black Beans)
  • 3 tbsp cilantro. fine-cut
  • 1/2 cup salsa (Mrs. Renfro Salsa, Mango Habanero, Medium Hot, 16 oz)
  • 8 corn tortillas (Del Campo Soft Corn Tortillas)
  • 2 tbsp Mexican cheese blend, a blend of sharp cheddar, Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses
  • 4 tsbp guacamole (Recipe here)

METHOD

  1. Cut all your vegetables into 1-inch cubes. I have used minced garlic, fine cut onions, sliced jalapenos, colored bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash. You can use carrots and mushrooms as well. Soak black beans overnight and cook them. Otherwise, use BPA free canned beans.
  2. Heat oil in a pan.
  3. Brown garlic for 20 seconds.
  4. Add jalapenos and sauté for 20 seconds.
  5. Add onions and sauté until translucent. About 2 minutes
  6. Add all the vegetables and sauté on high heat for 3 minutes. Make sure the veggies are crunchy, yet cooked. Set aside.
  7. On a hot griddle, warm up the tortillas. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon cheese on each tortilla. Add 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro and 1 tablespoon cooked black beans on each tortilla.
  8. Top it up with 2 tablespoons stir fry vegetables. Garnish with additional freshly chopped cilantro.
  9. Serve with any sauce of your choice and homemade guacamole. Add the guacamole and salsa on to the tortilla. Carefully fold it into half and dig in!

Notes

*Use organic ingredients wherever possible

For the full recipe, go here!

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