Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Recipes: Black Bean Tacos and Mexican Corn

I am a carnivore through and through. There's nothing I love more than a great burger or a bloody steak. The idea of tofu makes me cringe (seriously food that imitates other food as a whole is just gross - just get the real thing already!) In fact, I'm even un-PC enough to admit that I love veal and even fois gras. Sure I think animals should be treated in a humane way, but I just can't pass up such delicious treats. Until they find a humane way to stuff a goose full of fat, I suppose I'll have to look the other way.

All of that said, I worry sometimes that the boyfriend and I eat too much meat. So I thought I'd try my hand at a little vegetarian cooking. The boyfriend was wary - how can anything healthy and meatless actually be filling? Fortunately this recipe for black bean tacos with feta and cabbage slaw was a winner, and I proved my point that we can occasionally cut out meat without skimping on flavor and satisfaction!

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw
From Bon Appétit - February 2009

Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cups coleslaw mix
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 white or yellow corn tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Bottled chipotle hot sauce or other hot sauce


Place beans and cumin in small bowl; partially mash. Mix 2 teaspoons olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add coleslaw, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in single layer. Spoon 1/4 of bean mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Fill tacos with feta and slaw. Pass hot sauce alongside.

I jumped ahead when making this and alas, I didn't notice that you weren't supposed to combine everything before cooking, so I ended up heating up a mixture of the cabbage slaw and the black beans. I also upped the amount of black beans included in the recipe because it looked a little cabbage heavy. The end result was quite good - it needs a healthy dose of hot sauce, salt and feta to keep it interesting, but still, it was very satisfying and made for good left overs.

Making the crunchy taco shells was a cool touch, but you could easily cut out a step by just buying them. I found them a bit tricky to do, and they tended to tear a bit, but they still tasted great.

Now what to eat on the side? I often struggle with Mexican side dishes because I don't like rice, so I was pleased to find this recipe for Mexican corn that made use of my leftovers from yesterday's Mexican chopped salad. This corn was so simple to make, and it was incredibly flavorful and veggie packed.

Mexican Corn
Adapted from Bon Appétit - July 1995

Yield: Serves 2

1.5 tablespoons butter
1 can corn kernals, drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper chopped
2 green onions, chopped
3/4 jalapeño chili, minced
1/4 cup purchased salsa
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn, red bell pepper, green onions and jalapeño and sautê until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Mix in salsa and chopped cilantro. Stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

We won't be eating tofu anytime soon, and burgers are still tops on my list, but at least I found a way to cut meat out of our diets on occasion without sacrificing our enjoyment. Given the ingredient overlap, this is a great weekly menu companion to the cilantro chipotle tilapia from yesterday.



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