April 7, 2010

    Tofu and Black Bean Tacos

    Tacos - there's not an American household that I know of who doesn't eat tacos on occasion. We love them in my house, but for a while I went vegetarian to force myself to find new and creative ways of incorporating vegetables into our mainly "meat and potato" diet. I found that after a week or so, I absolutely *loved* being a vegetarian, and this simple dish was a fantastic, healthy way to keep my beloved tacos in my diet. You won't miss the grease one bit! Each taco is light yet filling, and the flavor is wonderfully well rounded. Even my carnivore husband, who only reluctantly went mostly vegetarian with me, requested these stay in the meal rotation.

    I'm going to attempt to show the frugality of some of these meals, when possible. For instance, I purchase nearly all of the items from this dish at Whole Foods Market - which truth be told has never been known for it's low prices.** However, spices are pennies for what's needed in the bulk section, the tofu I buy their house brand (365) for $1.79 a block, beans are 365 brand (salt free) for $0.99 a can, tortillas I can make for pennies or buy a large stack for about $2-3, and lettuce and tomatoes vary with the season, but generally I don't pay more than a few dollars.

    (Image courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

  • 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained (I also pressed mine)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed (if you're feeling adventurous and have a new tortilla press from the quesadillas, try making your own!)
  • 3 cups shredded green leaf lettuce (we used baby spinach)
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (we used Muir Glen’s fire roasted diced in a can)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

    • Put tofu, chili powder, oregano, cumin, coriander and salt into a bowl and mash together with a fork. Set aside.

      Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and two-thirds of the green onions and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tofu mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. Add beans and remaining green onions, stir well and cook until beans are heated through, about 2 minutes more.

      Spoon tofu mixture into tortillas, top with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese and serve.

      Notes from the Kitchen:

      To press tofu if you are so inclined to get the extra water out of it (we prefer it for texture), place it on a folded kitchen towel with another towel on top. Place a plate or small baking pan (metal is best - I accidentally dropped a plate once and it shattered) on top with a book on top for weight. Leave until pressed to desired consistency. I generally press mine 30 minutes or so prior to starting dinner. Pressing tofu gets the last of the water out of it making it act like a sponge to any marinade you add, and it also firms the texture up. Freezing and thawing the tofu (just pop the package you get from the store right in the freezer!) prior to cooking it gives it an even firmer, more sponge like texture, and you can pretty much press it by hand then.

      Vegan folks could obviously not use cheese, or substitute for vegan soy or rice cheese. The verdict? We both like them BETTER than meat tacos – and we are a taco eating household, let me tell you. Not impressed? My husband has texture issues with both tofu AND beans…and he wanted seconds! This recipe will be a staple in our diet, that’s for sure.

      ** The key to shopping Whole Foods? BULK SECTIONS! You will save an amazing amount of money shopping the bulk sections of Whole Foods! I get all my grains, flours, spices, and dried legumes at Whole Foods and pay a fraction of what I would paying for plastic wrapped items even at the big box stores. The bonus? Almost all of what I'm getting cheaper is certified organic, and I'm not generating garbage that goes in the bin - plus saving the energy and petroleum that went into manufacturing that plastic. Bulk items in produce can also be very cost effective - watch for mushrooms, carrots, spinach, and any fruit that's currently in season. In Tulsa, the quality of the produce at Whole Foods can only be matched by the local Farmer's Market.

      Disclaimer - I am not being compensated by Whole Foods in any capacity at all, all information in here is solely my opinion.


      Post a Comment