Wednesday, April 29, 2020


 Did you ever imagine that a plant-based taco could be delicious?  Meatless tacos were a concept that was foreign to me because for as long as I can remember, Carnitas tacos have been my all-time favorite.  When it comes to tacos, I do not discriminate, I love them all.  Chicken tacos, Al Pastor tacos, Carne Asada tacos, Barbacoa tacos, Chorizo and Papas tacos, grilled shrimp tacos, fish tacos, yes and even turkey tacos that are especially enjoyed during the holidays.
Photo by Chitokan from Pexels
It is always time for tacos and not just on Tuesdays.

Photo by Ben Maxwell
As a kid, we grew up enjoying tacos at least once a week, sometimes twice a week if we were lucky.  
I remember my Mother making her special tacos that were kind of messy but oh, so delicious. 
She would combine browned ground beef with a little chorizo and add grated cheese, garlic and chile powder, then fill the corn tortilla and fried until golden brown and crispy. 
She would fill up a platter with these tasty morsels and my brothers and sister, and I would finish off the entire 
platter. . .  More Please.

We learned to cook in our kitchens with family mentors who shared their cooking tips and special techniques.  Nothing was as tasty as Mom’s cooking, but plant-based food was never on the menu.  It was not until I started cooking for my own family that I learned about dishes that were prepared using a variety of vegetables without animal protein. 

Photo by Pixabay
I am not a vegetarian, but over the years I have embraced the idea of adding more meatless dishes to our regular menu and reduced the number of days we eat animal protein.  Like so many others, I turn to the Cooking Channel or Netflix for inspiration and where the choices are endless, because the chefs make the dishes look appetizing.  One of my all-time favorites is “The Chef Show “that features the adventures of Chef Roy Choi and Jon Favreau, who recently visited the owners of “The Border Grill” in Las Vegas to prepare vegetarian tacos with Chefs Mary Sue Millican and Susan Feniger.

These tacos looked so appetizing and easy to assemble, that I dashed off to the market that day to pick up all the fresh ingredients for that nights’ dinner.  
There were yams to peel, cube and roast, poblano chiles and fresh corn to grill, red onions to dice and combine with black beans, cotija cheese, olive oil, splash of red wine vinegar, lime juice, fresh cilantro and seasonings to combine. 

When my husband opened in the door, his first question was “What are we having for dinner and is it time to eat?
Photo by Jack Sparrow
I heated up the griddle and piled up grated cheese, (may substitute to make it vegetarian), then added the fresh corn tortilla over top until the cheese underneath was golden brown.  

I plated the cheesy tortilla and added the vegetable mixture, topped it with fresh salsa and hit it with an extra squeeze of lime and devoured it.

How can this vegetarian version of a taco be so full of flavor and not contain any meat?

So often I will try out a new dish that I have never made before that usually turns out to be one of our new favorites.  At the end of the meal, my husband gets to name the new dish for future reference.  If the new dish is a keeper, he asks for it to be added to the “A” rotation, which usually means he requests the dish on a regular basis.  He takes great pride in being the “official food taster” and usually comes up with a creative name for my culinary experiments.  This new favorite was inspired by The Border Grill and now it resides in our kitchen to share with our family and friends. The name of our new favorite is:
G’s Garden Tacos.  (The “G” stands for Grilled)
Photo by Pixabay
Who knew plant-based food could be so delicious?  We haven’t omitted our favorite meat dishes altogether, but we have increased our plant-based meals significantly to our regular menu and find that we have more energy after a meal and reduced our food budget. Embracing a plant-based diet makes sense not just because it’s delicious but because it’s sustainable.

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