Category Archives: taco

Delectable Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos With Vegan Cream Cheese/Jalapeno/Avocado Topping

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how to cook butternut squash. Sure, you can bake it, but what else can a person do? We recently discovered a butternut squash-based taco recipe that is so delicious we’re still salivating over our meal, hours later. The addition of whipped vegan cream cheese with avocado and fresh jalapeno makes this dish a total winner. And it’s so easy to make! The hardest part is cutting the skins off the squash. But persevere with the task, because the end result will be worth it.

INGREDIENTS

1 medium-sized butternut squash, de-skinned and cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon powdered garlic
8 ounces vegan cream cheese (we’re wild about Kite Hill, due to its smooth, creamy texture. But you can use any kind).
1 small avocado, chopped into small chunks
1/2 small jalapeno pepper, chopped into bits
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
soft, gluten-free corn tortillas (check package to make sure there’s no wheat)
1 can or 2 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed
sliced scallions
chopped lettuce or arugula

INSTRUCTIONS

Chop the butternut squash into small chunks and cut off the skins. Place the chunks into a medium-sized-bowl with the spices and avocado oil, and toss until all pieces are completely coated with the mixture. Spread the chunks on a cookie sheet and bake in a 425 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes. The pieces should be soft, but not mushy.

Meanwhile, prepare your topping. Pour the vegan cream cheese, lime juice, jalapeno bits, and avocado into a blender or food processor and combine until your mixture achieves a frothy, whipped texture. Add a little extra lime juice if it’s too stiff.

Heat your tortillas in the oven and your beans on the stovetop. When both are warm, pile the tortillas on plates. Ladle on the beans first, and then follow with the spicy butternut squash chunks, the cream cheese/jalapeno/avocado mixture, and finally the chopped scallions and lettuce bits. Have a seat at the table and dig in!

This incredible meal serves about four people. If you use a larger squash, maybe 6. But be careful — no one will be able to stop eating these tacos! They pair well with gluten-free beer or wine, or any other beverage of your choice. Leftovers keep in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. We’re already fantasizing about the lunch we’re going to have tomorrow. You’ll never look at butternut squash in the same way again.

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Black Bean/Polenta Tacos That Will Rock Your World

black beans

You can put anything you want inside a tortilla. In Mexico, tortillas are the equivalent of bread – versatile, delicious, and utilitarian. However, many Mexican restaurants are heavy on meat and dairy products, which you obviously want to avoid if you’re vegan. Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to enjoy a delicious, hearty taco meal without any animal products whatsoever. Here’s a recipe I developed all by myself. I hope you’ll find it as satisfying as I do.

1 can (or one cup) black beans, drained of water (for Instant Pot directions see below)
1 12-ounce package polenta (there are many varieties, but sun-dried tomato is my favorite)
3-4 cloves garlic (more if you’re a garlic lover)
4-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped into tiny pieces
Cayenne powder to taste
1 package gluten-free tortillas (corn preferred)
Optional Toppings
1 sliced avocado
1 small onion, chopped
Shredded carrots
Grated vegan cheese (Chao is my favorite)
1-2 small tomatoes, chopped
Shredded lettuce
Vegan sour cream (usually made with cashews)
Fresh salsa

Chop the polenta into small, triangular wedges. Fry in pan at medium heat setting with plenty of olive oil. Polenta has a tendency to stick, so watch the pan and be prepared to add more olive oil if necessary. Don’t let it burn! Some crumbling of the polenta is normal. When both sides are golden brown, add black beans and resume frying. Combine the chopped jalapeno, minced garlic, basil leaves, and cayenne pepper and toss them into the sizzling mixture. Continue stirring for 10-15 minutes.

Prepare the tortillas according to your preference. I like to fry them in a separate pan with a little bit of olive oil, but if you’re counting calories, just heat them in the oven. Corn is my favorite, but gluten-free flour tortillas come in many flavors, and create a lighter, less filling taco. Ladle the polenta/black bean mixture liberally onto the heated tortillas and add your favorite, preferred toppings. I’ve listed my favorites, but with a bit of brainstorming, you might be able to come up with a few of your own. Remember, pretty much anything tastes great, when it’s wrapped inside a warm tortilla! Add a few bottles of gluten-free beer, and you’ll have an authentic Mexican dish without having to rely on anything that came from an animal. Happy eating! Your friends and family won’t stop thanking you and asking for more.

Instant Pot direction for black beans: Put 1 lb of dry black beans (about 2 cups) and 6 cups of water in the Instant Pot. Seal and set manual time for 25 minutes at high pressure. Natural release. Drain and salt to taste (don’t salt until after they are cooked).

Serves 4-5 people.

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