We love tacos. So do most of our relatives. Being a vegan, though, presented me with a problem making a filling that gave the same flavor profile, texture and mouth feel as a ground meat filling.
Then came Nourish Restaurant and the Gluten Free Foodie Tour! This recipe is my version. It’s been wildly popular around here. We’ve eaten it in traditional tacos, but DH likes it best in a taco salad.
Warning: This is very spicy hot! If you don’t like very spicy foods, I recommend you put in about 1⁄2 the spice amounts when processing. You can add more later when finishing.
Here’s my setup for the filling.
You’ll also need measuring spoons, spatulas and a bowl to put it in, not shown in the picture.
1⁄2 cup almonds, raw
1⁄2 cup walnuts
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄4 teaspoon coriander, ground
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
3⁄4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Table Blend
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin, ground
1-1⁄2 teaspoons Ancho chili powder
1-1⁄2 teaspoons regular chili powder
1 pinch of extra hot chili powder, or red pepper flakes, ground
1-1⁄2 tablespoons dried cilantro
1⁄2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
juice of 1⁄2 lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
Put the nuts and the salt in a bowl. Cover with water and soak for 4-6 hours. The nuts in the setup picture above are already soaked.
A while later…
After soaking, drain the water from the nuts in a strainer. You want these well drained, so it’s fine for them to sit in the strainer for 30 minutes or so.
When the nuts are ready, put them and all the other spices in your food processor. Don’t put in the olive oil or the lime juice yet.
Pulse a few times until you have a texture that looks like this.
You don’t want to over process this. You’re going for more of a ground meat texture.
Place the mixture in a bowl. Add the lime juice and olive oil. Stir well, coating everything with the oil. It should have a bit of shine to it, but not be greasy.
Taste the mixture and adjust the seasonings. You may want more salt, for example. It should smell good, with the cumin being fairly dominant. When you’re happy with it, you can put it in a container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat it.
I’m sorry, but I don’t know how long it will keep. Mine doesn’t last more than a couple of days before it’s gobbled up.
To serve it in taco shells, I place a heaping teaspoon in a line in the center of the tortilla. There is usually enough to make at least 8 tacos. It depends on how much filling people want.
It’s great to use for a taco salad, or other Mexican style foods.
My black pepper is actually a mixture of green, white, pink and black peppercorns along with coriander seeds and allspice berries. I mix it together and put the mixture in my favorite pepper grinder. If you want to try a similar mix, look for McCormick’s Peppercorn Medley Grinder in the spice aisle of your grocery store.
You can change this up, if you want different or more texture. You can chop up tempeh and stir fry it until crispy, then add it to the nut mixture. Adjust spices as needed.
If you want a smokier flavor, you can add a small amount of ground, dried chipotle chili powder.
It also works with crispy fried tofu, handled the same way as the tempeh.
You can change the flavor profile completely by adding Italian spices instead of Mexican! Swap the lime for lemon for this version.
Try it with Zatar seasoning for a North African taste treat!
We had this for dinner on Wednesday night. Here’s a picture of my plate.
I made a quick salsa with fresh Roma tomatoes, green bell pepper, some chopped fresh cilantro and a couple of sliced scallions. It was finished with olive oil and light basalmic vinegar. I purposely didn’t add hot chili to the salsa because the taco mix is very spicy. The cheese here is Daiya. The black bean and corn salad in the middle is a regular visitor around here. I usually make a large amount of it at the beginning of the week because it keeps well, and we like it for lunch.