Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Veggie Tacos

Veggie tacos...yum!

Well our healthy eating is going really well! I say that enthusiastically because I'm so surprised by it. Ha ha. We've ventured into "diets" before only to have crazy withdrawals and binges. I think we are learning from our mistakes, curbing our cravings, and really loving the benefits of a healthier diet. The weight loss really helps with keeping us motivated too! Funny thing, our vegetarian diet is moving quickly toward vegan, but I don't know if we'll ever really take it there. We are finding great ways to add flavor without unhealthy fats, and most of the time we don't even miss them! Take, for example, these yummy veggie tacos I've now made three times for dinner. No meat, no cheese or sour cream. Just sauteed vegetables, and whatever toppings I have on hand in a corn tortilla. The first time we ate them we had just tacos, no sides. Surprisingly satisfying.

Mexican food has to be one of my favorite things on earth...probably because I was raised on it, but mostly because it's wonderful. When I first started thinking about healthy eating it seemed like I would have to give up most of what I love about Mexican food...melty cheese, flour tortillas, non-vegetarian refried beans (that means they're fried in rendered bacon fat--sounds gross tastes amazing!), tostadas. And going vegetarian seemed to seal the deal. I thought well, I can eat beans and salsa. It's taken a long time for me to like avocados, so now I can have guacamole too. As I have expanded my horizons I've learned to add Mexican flavors to my veggies, er, veggies to my flavors...yeah that one. Trust me it's nothing fancy, but it sure is good. I'm so glad that I'm learning to eat vegetables and that pretty much anything in a (corn or whole wheat) tortilla is delectable!

I found that whenever we ate Mexican food there were little or no vegetables on the table. Unless you count salsa because as my dad says, "Salsa is a vegetable!" So, I've been making something like a black bean and corn salad with zuchinni and red bell pepper that I added as a side to our taco nights a long time ago. I love it!

This concoction has become a base for many a Mexican dish in my house, and now it has become a taco!

Veggie Tacos
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced thin
1 Green Bell Pepper, sliced thin
1/2 large Yellow Onion, sliced thin
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Corn Kernels -- You can use frozen, canned, or fresh. I like to keep the frozen ones on hand because they taste fresher than canned and I can use them year-round.
1 cup Black Beans
1 medium Zucchini, cut in half lenthwise then sliced into 1/4 in half moons
2-3 small potatoes, diced -- I don't always add potatoes I was just craving them, so this is totally optional!

If you are using potatoes you'll want to start those first. I cooked mine separately because they take a little longer. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat till shimmering, add potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and a little bit of cumin. Cover and do not disturb while you get the peppers and onions going. Occasionally return to the pan to stir and turn the potatoes so that all sides turn golden and cook until the potatoes are soft. Try not to stir too frequently or they'll turn to mush!

Meanwhile, saute bell pepper and onions with a sprinkling of salt and pepper in 1 Tbsp olive oil till translucent. Add the garlic in at the last minute just to get it started cooking. You don't want to burn it so only cook about 30 seconds or so before you move on. Add zucchini, and if you're using frozen corn add that too and cook till zucchini is soft. (I didn't use zucchini in the tacos pictured because I didn't have any, hence the potatoes!) Finish with cumin, more salt, and pepper, then add black beans and heat through. Every measurement is to your taste so make sure you taste along the way for seasoning and use as much or as little of each vegetable as you prefer.

Once you've added the beans start on your tortillas. If you have a gas stovetop you can heat the tortillas right on the burner. If not, use a cast iron griddle or any flat pan that you've pre-heated. Use tongs so you don't burn your fingers! I like to heat them till they are nice and soft. You can pile them -- folded in half -- in a folded dish towel on a plate or keep them in a tortilla warmer till you've heated them all up. Fill each tortilla with veggies, and add whatever toppings you wish. My suggestions to try: fresh baby spinach (you won't even taste it!), avocados, salsa, chopped tomatoes, cilantro. Delish!

Veggie Tacos

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