Let me just say something. If you knew me prior to my little food transformation, you knew that if there was one thing I HATED with a passion it was Mexican food.
The smell of it made me gag, and I refused to go to any such restaurant.
Everyone who was cool liked Mexican food, and I definitely wasn’t cool. (I know, I know, it’s a generalized statement, but I promise it’s how I felt).
My reason was simple. I threw up once when I was ten when my aunt made me eat a quesadilla. So, a lifelong hatred was warranted, right?
Later in life, this hate relationship I had posed a big issue. The problem wasn’t that my taste buds were unpopular. It was that Mexican food is my husband’s favorite food group–like lick the plate kind of favorite.
If you’re friends with me now, you know taco night is one of my favorites. So, what changed?
Well, to be quite honest, my taste buds. As I continued this journey to real foods, my taste buds CRAVED fresh foods. I ate jalapeno for the first time. Now, I actually know what cilantro is.
I still won’t eat Mexican at the very Americanized versions of it. 1. Because they are really unhealthy 2. They aren’t fresh at all.
If I find myself at a social function and can’t avoid it, I order the vegetable fajitas and fresh guacamole and chow down.
But now, Mexican food is on the main rotation. I can’t go too long without it before I really miss it and our newfound love starts to waiver. I need it in my life. Lots.
My idea of a fresh taco night is some homemade corn tortillas, fresh and preferably local veggie toppings, some guacamole, and a nice protein (refried beans, walnut meat, or some good quality local meat).
I know Walnut Meat sounds weird. But it’s really not. What’s weird is the nasty ground beef in a log. Yes, things I used to buy.
If you are looking for meat free options, or just wanting to try something different, give this a shot. I know it will surprise you.
It’s really, really good. Well, to my crazy taste buds 🙂
Here’s how to build the tacos:
Get a good tortilla. I prefer to make my own using this recipe, but you can also get some good quality sprouted corn tortillas at the grocery store. The biggest thing here is to use organic–since corn is a top GMO crop.
Three options for store-bought tortillas or shells:
Garden of Eatin Shells (I have found at Earth Fare and Kroger). My only hesitation with this is the oil isn’t organic, and I don’t like that….But for a treat–would be nice.
Late July Chips. If you can’t find a shell you like, try making “nachos” out of this meal! I love that this is a family company that uses all organic ingredients. Plus their product is amazing! (I find at Costco and Earthfare)
Get some great toppings. We love: refried beans (so easy & cheap to make!), black beans, spinach/lettuce, onions, avocado, mushrooms, peppers, jalapeno, organic corn (frozen, then cooked), tomato or salsa, mango OR anything else your heart desires. Be creative & let the family get involved.
Top with Organic Sour Cream (if you’ve got no problems with Dairy–or make the cashew sour cream [recipe below] if you’re dairy free!)
To make the “meat,” you’ll just need a few ingredients. Pulse them in the food processor, and heat on the stove for a few minutes. Then, you get this:
Looks pretty similar, huh?
Assemble your ingredients, and voila–an incredible, filling meal!
Since going dairy free, I’ve discovered cool ways to make “dairy” like things without using milk, and sour cream is one of them. Who woulda thought I could still enjoy these things? I love using this Cashew Sour Cream with soups, tacos, or even this Mexican Lasagna (recipe coming soon).
2 cups raw walnuts, soaked 8 hours to overnight* (see note)
2.5 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t garlic powder
½ t salt
1 large pinch of cayenne pepper (omit if you don't like heat)
Put all ingredients in a food processor.
Pulse a few times until walnuts are broken down, spices are mixed, and the consistency is like taco meat.
(optional step) Transfer to a saucepan and cook on medium, stirring frequently, until heated through.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
1. Put the walnuts in a bowl and cover with filtered water. Cover with dish towel and set aside for 8 hours or overnight. 2. This is a family sized portion. Feel free to cut the recipe in half for less, or double for more.
You will need RAW, UNSALTED nuts for these recipes. I usually buy mine in the bulk bins at Earthfare, although Trader Joes has much better prices if you are near one 🙂