Jennifer’s Favorite Mexican Vegan Recipe: Tofu Tacos
While tacos may be your go-to summer food, it might be time to spice things up with this delicious (and highly nutritious) vegan recipe. The benefits of a vegan diet are numerous. While you may not be ready to make the switch just yet, even when you eliminate meat from just one meal you are helping to:
- Reduce greenhouse emissions: Livestock raising and processing drive 51 percent of global emissions.
- Reduce water usage: Twenty-nine percent of agricultural water is used for raising livestock.
- Protect our environment: Forty-five percent of global surface area is used for livestock systems.
- Improve human health and animal welfare.
Pair these tacos with Spanish-style brown rice, black beans, an ice-cold margarita, and a quintessential warm weather feast is born. Add tofu to the mix, and you have the stuff vegan dreams are made of.
As a vegan, tofu is a big staple of my diet. It often gets a bad rap for lacking flavor, but since it absorbs the flavors you add in this recipe, the tofu packs a spicy punch thanks to chili powder, paprika, garlic, (add cayenne for an extra punch) and an array of colorful and flavorful veggies. This recipe has vitamins and nutrients for days. Tofu is a great source of protein, iron, manganese, selenium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamin B1.
The next time you need a quick, tasty, and healthy meatless meal, whip up these tofu tacos. And don’t forget to compost your food scraps.
What You’ll Need
When preparing this or any other vegan dish, be sure to purchase fresh, high-quality ingredients. You want to get the ultimate nutritional value out of each meal while eating as cleanly as possible.
Here are the tools and ingredients you’ll need to pull off delicious tofu tacos:
- Extra firm organic tofu
- A cast iron skillet (optional, cast iron pans add additional iron to your food!)
- Olive oil
- Garlic, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne (optional), salt and pepper
- San Marzano or other variety of plum tomato
- White onion, fresh spinach, kale, or mixed green lettuce, and avocado
- Flour or corn tortillas
- Nutritional yeast
- Red wine vinegar
- Kite Hill yogurt
- Hot sauce
How to Prepare Tofu Tacos
Prepare the Tofu
For this recipe, you want to use extra firm organic tofu. To press it, place it between two plates topped with a heavy pan. Leave the pan on top of the tofu until most of the water has been released.
Then Crumble the Tofu
Crumble the tofu into a cast iron skillet coated with about a tablespoon of pre-heated (medium to medium-high) olive oil.
Add 2 teaspoons of cumin, a teaspoon each of chili powder, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Adding a dash or more of cayenne is optional and adds an extra punch.
Prep the Toppings
As the tofu is heating, dice Marzano tomatoes and white onion, and chop fresh spinach and avocado.
Get the Tortillas Ready
Image courtesy of Lodge Cast Iron
For your tortillas, heat about a teaspoon of olive oil in a separate pan and fry each tortilla on both sides to your desired doneness over medium-high to high heat. I prefer to use El Milagro blanco corn tortillas, but you can use flour tortillas, too.
Don’t Forget the Nutritional Yeast!
Sprinkle the heated tortillas with nutritional yeast, which gives them a cheese flavor and adds a full spectrum of B vitamins, while soaking up the oil.
Finish the Tofu
Return to your tofu and determine the texture you want. For crispy tofu, cook until it’s a deep brown color. Tofu is easy to cook and is done when you like how it tastes and is the temperature you find desirable.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of red wine vinegar to the tofu before removing it from the pan.
- Mix tomatoes & lettuce/spinach or kale (separately) with a drizzle of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Use Kite Hill almond-based yogurt as a substitute for sour cream.
- If you need to infuse your tacos with a little more kick, sprinkle them with Valentina hot sauce — my favorite.
Voila! You’re Ready to Eat
Planning to serve this meal to a big group? Double the recipe and adorn the table with a colorful Southwest-inspired centerpiece made of flowers and succulents. Striped placemats and solid cloth napkins with coordinating napkin rings will add some flair to your place settings and elevate the occasion.
Image courtesy of Deco XXI
Whether you’re making this recipe for one or 10, I hope it inspires you to prepare more healthy vegan meals this summer and throughout the rest of the year.
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