Vegan Spring Tacos with Cucumber, Radish and Avocado

I came home from WFM the other day, having gone there for a few staples.

“I found some local food you’ll like,” I said to Chimp.

“What’s that?” he asked.

I held up a snack-food bag. “La Tapatia tortilla chips.” (Hooray, another anthropomorphized tortilla mascot!)

“Cool. Where are they made?”

On Belmont.”

So though the corn for the masa may not be local, those chips, and the tortillas I bought with them, were made within eight miles of our house.

I’ve often seen the La Tapatia trucks driving around Fresno. Fresh corn tortillas are another animal entirely from the store-bought ones that have been previously frozen. I’ve never had the great fortune to have someone hand-make me tortillas from freshly prepared masa, but if it was another magnitude better than those from La Tapatia, I might not be able to go on living.

This dish is definitely in service of my need for cooler food.

We pile a great deal of different things on top of black beans throughout the year to make seasonal tacos – corn and tomato salad in the summer, hot-sauce-laced roasted butternut squash in the fall, shredded cabbage, carrot and red onion salad in the winter. For spring, here’s a crunchy-creamy-cool mixed vegetable salad. You could add crumbled Mexican, feta or jack cheese if you felt like you just couldn’t live without the dairy.

The Vegetable Salad

2 bunches easter-egg radishes, chopped (mine came from Bakersfield, about 110 miles)
1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped (marked as local at WFM, but city/grower not listed)
1/2 green onion, chopped
1/2 c. minced cilantro (Bakersfield again)
2 avocados, chopped (grown in Southern California)

Place first four ingredients and dressing in a bowl and toss to combine. When ready to serve, add the avocado and toss gently once again.

The Dressing
(I would have used lime juice in this, but the only limes available right now are from Mexico.)

4 T. olive oil
2 T. canola oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. orange juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 T. WFM Organic Hot Sauce
1 t. chipotle en adobo sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix vigorously to emulsify.

Refried Black Beans

2 c. dry black beans, soaked for at least eight hours or overnight, or quick-soaked, drained
1 large onion, chopped
1 T. ground cumin
1/2 t. oregano
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle chili en adobo, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and stemmed, minced
salt to taste
To finish:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. cilantro, minced
1 T. WFM Organic Hot Sauce
salt to taste

Sauté the chopped onion until it begins to become translucent, then add the cumin and oregano. Continue cooking until the onion begins to brown slightly and the cumin begins to catch. Add the garlic, chipotle chili and garlic, and cook for a minute or so. Add the beans, salt to taste and water to cover, plus about an inch in a regular pan, a half-inch in a pressure cooker.

If pressure-cooking, cover and bring to pressure; cook about 18 minutes, then release pressure under running water. If cooking in a regular pot, cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about one hour, adding more water if necessary.

Remove the beans from the heat. Drain the cooking liquid and reserve in case the beans later need some liquid added back. Add the minced garlic, cilantro, hot sauce, and salt (I would usually add lime juice here, but no California limes right now). Mash the beans, using a potato masher, to the desired consistency. If they become too stiff on standing, add more cooking liquid.

To assemble, heat a tortilla in a skillet or microwave until warm, then add black beans, fresh lettuce (mine from the Fresno farmer’s market) and the vegetable salad.

Serves four.

One thought on “Vegan Spring Tacos with Cucumber, Radish and Avocado

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