I have to admit tacos are one of my favorite foods. They can be hard or soft shell, it doesn’t matter to me. When I was little, I always looked forward to Taco Night, when my Mom would prepare an awesome build-your-own-taco spread with every ingredient in its own separate plate or bowl. It was so fun to pile my tacos until they were bursting with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, refried beans, cheese, spicy meat, and hot sauce and get my hands messy while trying to eat them. These days I love playing around with different healthy ingredients, but I always serve up my ingredients on little plates and let everyone build their own tacos, just like my mom. It always makes me smile.
Here’s a great veggie taco recipe that’s sure to please. I love the sweetness of the grilled mango with the spicy beans and fresh and tangy salsa. My recipe makes you a great big portion of beans and salsa so you and your friends and/or family can have a feast plus leftovers. For the “other ingredients”, feel free buy as much as you think you need.
Grilled Mango & Bean Tacos
(makes a big family feast, or lots of leftovers)
Spiced beans (see Tip#1 below):
1 lb. dry black beans
1 lb. dry pinto beans
1 quart vegetable stock
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. onion powder
Salt (to taste)
Fresh tomato salsa (see Tip#2 below):
4 large tomatoes (such as hothouse)
1 small red onion
4 cloves garlic
1 big handful fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. coconut sugar
Other ingredients (see Tip#3 below):
Soft tortillas and/or hard shell taco shells
- Soak the beans – Rinse off the beans and pour them in a big soup pot. Add 16 cups of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and let the beans sit off the heat for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans well.
- Cook the beans – Put the beans back in your big soup pot. Cover with 8 cups of water, 1 quart of veggie stock, and the cumin, garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, paprika, and onion powder. Stir well and cover with a lid (but tilt the lid so steam can escape). Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. When the beans are done, add salt to taste, and add any extra spices you want. Remove from the heat and transfer to a casserole dish or bowl.
- Make the salsa – Cut up 2 of the tomatoes, and the red onion, garlic, and jalapeño and put them in a food processor. Pulse a few times until the salsa becomes a liquid (leaving it a little chunky). Cut up the remaining two tomatoes into a small dice by hand and put them in a big bowl with the ingredients from the food processor. Give a rough chop to the cilantro and stir it in. Stir in the coconut sugar. Set aside to allow the flavors to blend.
- Prepare the other ingredients – Cut up the mango into 1/2 inch slices and grill them (using a grill or stovetop grill pan) until they turn golden brown on the edges. Cut up the avocado into thin slices. Chop up some fresh cilantro for garnish and cut up some limes into wedges to serve on the side. Warm up the taco shells and/or tortillas. Take out your favorite hot sauce for extra spice.
- Build your own taco buffet – Spread out all the ingredients out on your table and allow everyone to build them on their own. Store leftover beans and salsa in the refrigerator. When you’re having a “leftovers” night, always make fresh grilled mango and cut up fresh avocado, cilantro, and limes.
Tip #1: I thought it was fun to soak, cook, and spice my beans completely from scratch, but if you need to save time, feel free to use canned beans instead of cooking dried beans like I did. You can just rinse off canned beans, stir in your spices, and reheat as necessary.
Tip #2: These days it’s easy to find coconut sugar at your local health food store. It’s one of the best forms of sugar because it has a low glycemic index (check out Well + Good NYC’s guide to natural sweeteners). If you can’t find it, you can easily substitute with agave or brown sugar or honey.
Tip #3: For the “other ingredients”, I didn’t include exact amounts, because you can just guess and buy as much as you think you’ll use. For me, I bought bags of avocados, mangoes, and limes, a big bunch of fresh cilantro, and several packs of soft and hard taco shells so I’d have plenty to work with for my weekday leftovers.Pin It