Thursday, June 23, 2011

Black Bean Tacos

I realized that I've been blogging for 6 months now at this address, and haven't once pulled out a recipe using seitan.  To be perfectly honest, I don't use seitan a whole lot - tempeh and tofu have always been my preference, and with the advent of vegan meats like Gardein and Match, I find myself using seitan even less.  That said, I occasionally season or stir-fry it for a simple supper, and tonight I thought I'd try it in these savory tacos. Start with a homemade avocado salsa for super-fresh flavor, then put together the tacos themselves.

For the Avocado Salsa:
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup peeled and chopped avocado
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 seeded and minced jalapeno pepper
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, and lightly mash with a fork.

Serve with the taco recipe that follows, or stop reading right here, and add this salsa to any taco or burrito supper, or serve with tortilla chips.  It's a fresh alternative to bottled salsa.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1/4 cup), Calories 24

Now for the tacos themselves...

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 seeded and minced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry*
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) undrained can black beans
  • 1 (8-ounce) package seitan
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 hard taco shells
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 recipe Avocado Salsa
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, dried oregano, garlic, and jalapeno; cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Finely chop the seitan and add to the pan, along with the sherry, soy sauce, and black beans.  Bring to a boil, then continue to cook for about 7 to 10 minutes, until the liquid is nearly all evaporated.  Sprinkle with the black pepper.

2. Warm the taco shells according to package directions. Stuff each taco with about 1/3 cup bean mixture, about 2 and 1/2 tablespoons lettuce, and about 2 and 1/2 tablespoons Avocado Salsa.

Note: I used the yellow taco shells from Whole Foods. 

A nice contrasting side dish to these tacos is crisp julienne-cut crudites.  Try jicama strips, bell pepper strips, carrot sticks, crisp radishes, and shredded cabbage.  You can toss the vegetables with a light dressing, or marinate in just a little olive oil and lemon before serving.  And voila!  You have all the fixings for a Tex-Mex meal.

*When buying sherry, your best bet is to look for one that is unfined and unfiltered, since almost all other sherries will have been fined through animal by-products.  My go-to sherry is the Fino en Rama from Alvear.  Because I'm not a sherry drinker, I find that a bottle will keep corked in the fridge a long time - a perfect arrangement since many recipes call for only a tablespoon or two.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (2 tacos), Calories 283

Tasting Notes:
These were quite simply to die for - so much flavor your taste buds won't know where to begin.  Wonderful savory seitan, soy sauce, and sherry, with contrasting fresh avocado and lime in the salsa on top.  Just yum.  You might consider playing around with this recipe - break the taco shells into pieces and place in a bowl with the other ingredients on top, for a taco "salad."  Or try the filling wrapped up in soft tortillas.  Guaranteed you're going to want to make the filling again.


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