Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer Vegetarian Tacos

     Summer is a great time to experiment with vegetarian meals since there is an abundance of fresh vegetables offering a variety of colors, tastes and textures to experiment with.  This summer I have been focusing more efforts in creating some interesting vegetarian meals since my oldest daughter and her fiance have been living with us, in preparation for their up-coming wedding.  While she is a fairly strict vegetarian, her fiance, is not.  Everyone else in the house seems to fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.  Needless to say, meal planning can be a little tricky.
     I came up with these super-easy vegetarian tacos that also happen to be GF (gluten-free) and CF (casein-free), if you so choose, while offering great taste and meaty texture.  Also, by omitting the tortillas and taco shells, this dish contains no "bad" fats, and is a great, nutrient-dense, calorie-light meal.  They are similar in assembly to lettuce wraps:

  • 1 bunch leaf lettuce, washed and separated
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained (you could also use garbanzo beans, pinto beans or kidney beans)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (I used one red and one yellow tomato)
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1 small zucchini, shredded
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (or lime), or more or less to taste
  • a couple of shakes of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • pepper
  • In large bowl, combine black beans and all of the vegetables.
  • Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, cumin, salt & peppers.
  • Chill completely
  • Serve as if you were serving lettuce wraps:  A large plate of cleaned lettuce leaves and the bowl of filling.  Kids especially enjoy being able to "make their own" food, and this is an easy way for them to do that right at the table.  Garnish could include pepitas for crunchy texture, some shredded cheese and plain yogurt, and some salsa or hot sauce.  This could also be used in tortillas or taco shells, as a topping for super-simple nachos, or simply as a black bean salad.  

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