Apologies for posting late but I’ve just come home from a truly amazing road trip! As you can imagine food choices can be limited when you’re on the road, especially if you aren’t eating meat (except fish) or cow dairy. I ate a lot of tuna sandwiches, veggie burgers and fish and chips. A far cry from the whole-food plant based diet I’m aiming for! We limited the damage by picnicking for lunch (hummus, veggies, wholewheat pita…) and hiking as much as possible. We did have some good meals along the way – some great locally fished river trout comes to mind, as does the INCREDIBLE birthday dinner we had at Wazuzu in Vegas. Still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to some good healthy home cooking by the end of the two weeks.
I knew exactly what I wanted to make for our first meal back: chickpea tacos! I found a recipe by The Happy Herbivore‘s Lindsay Nixon for Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos in The China Study All-Star Collection Cookbook and tried it out the week before we left. My friends, it was a slam dunk. I’ve altered the original recipe to suit my fancy and came up with a rice and bean dish to accompany the tacos (we found that just doing the tacos was a little “light” especially for the Man).
I hadn’t used hard shell tacos in decades but they work really well here. I suppose you could substitute for soft corn or wholewheat tortillas but I encourage you to try the hard ones at least once – the crunch is so satisfying! Don’t hesitate to play around with the toppings; there are so many options out there.
This recipe is truly simple. It calls for canned chickpeas (huge time saver) and takes less than 30 min to make. The beans & rice take a bit longer to cook so if you are in a rush just throw a salad together instead.
I’m submitting this recipe to the Bunny Kitchen‘s Virtual Vegan *Linky* Potluck! There are so many wonderful vegan recipes to discover there.
Makes enough for 6 tacos and 3-4 servings of rice & beans.
- 6 corn taco shells (if possible, opt for non-GMO)
- 1 can chickpeas (15oz / 425gr) thoroughly rinced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (go for low sodium if you can)
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning mix (you can find packets in most supermarkets)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 ripe (but not mushy!) avocado
- Juice from ½ of a lime
- A dozen cherry tomatoes chopped finely
- Handful of cilantro / coriander chopped
- Handful of green onions chopped (I used only the green part – but use the white also if you like raw onion)
- Salt & pepper
Other taco toppings
- Optional: Hot sauce (optional since some of us can’t take the heat!)
- Optional: Grated non-dairy cheese (Note to the non-vegan ladies, you can use regular cheddar or goat cheddar)
Rice & black beans
- ½ a large yellow onion (or one small onion) diced finely
- 1 clove garlic diced finely
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup brown rice (long grain or basmati)
- 1 can black beans (15oz / 425gr) thoroughly rinced
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- 1 bunch cilantro / coriander chopped
- 1 bunch green onion chopped (just the green stems)
- Salt & pepper
First, we’re going to start with the rice & black beans because they take the longest to cook. Put a medium size saucepan on medium-high heat and add the broth, garlic and onions. Stir them often until the onions are quite soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the water, rice, beans, cumin powder and chili powder. Stir. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer – covered – for 45 minutes.
Now that the rice & beans are bubbling away we can turn our attention to the tacos!
Preheat your oven to 400°F / about 205°C
Time to make the fresh avocado salsa. Take your avocado and cut into small cubes. Place in a bowl and immediately stir in the lime juice. This is an important step – it keeps your avocado from turning a disgusto brown color. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well (but not too energetically or you’ll end up with guacamole. We wouldn’t want that now would we?). Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
Now for our chickpeas! In a medium bowl whisk together the soy sauce, lime juice, taco seasoning mix and garlic powder. Add the chickpeas and mix gently until completely coated.
Place the chickpeas on a non-stick cookie sheet in a single layer. Tip: for faster cleanup use baking paper to line your tray – these little devils are quite messy! Bake for 15 minutes. The chickpeas will still be quite tender, if you like them harder/crunchier you can leave them in for longer.
5 minutes before the chickpeas are done put the taco shells in the oven to warm them up. I like to use this opportunity to stir the chickpeas as well, and make sure all sides are toasted.
Take the chickpeas and taco shells out of the oven – it’s assembly time! Be careful, the shells are hot. Start with a layer of chickpeas…
… then add the avocado salsa….
… top with regular salsa, hot sauce and non-dairy cheese, if using.
Serve with a side of steaming hot rice & black beans (don’t forget to sprinkle some cilantro and green onion on top – it makes all the difference).
Update: I’ve tried substituting whole grain tortillas for the hardshell tacos – really delicious. See for yourself!