I’m not sure this even deserves to be called a recipe, but it’s a good, high-protein meal you can throw together in under ten minutes.
Carton of cherry or grape tomatoes
Package of fresh mozzarella, drained
Fresh basil, snipped into little shreds (if fresh isn’t available, just skip it; dried doesn’t taste right)
If you can find ciliegine — the bite-sized mozzarella balls packed in water — you can save a step here, but if you can’t, just buy a log of fresh mozzarella and cut it into chunks, as I did in the picture above. The important thing is to make sure you buy fresh mozzarella from the fancy-schmancy cheese display and not the drier stuff that comes in vacuum-sealed bags in the dairy case.
Toss the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil (if using; I forgot to bring in a plant before winter and was too cheap to buy fresh basil at the store) in a big bowl, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and serve.
By definition, quesadillas contain cheese (the word quesadilla means “little cheesy thing” in Spanish), so when I saw recipes on Pinterest for vegan quesadillas, my immediate reaction was, “Oh, look: Clueless people who don’t understand what words mean are flaunting their ignorance on Pinterest again. Goody.” But one of the pictures involved avocado, so I clicked it anyway and found this recipe, which I didn’t really follow to the letter. Anyway. Avocado quesadilla thingy. Here you go: Ingredients 1 avocado 2 flour tortillas (I used whole wheat because that’s what I had on hand) 1 small tomato Taco seasoning Nutritional yeast (optional) Salt Olive oil
Cut an avocado in half and spread it halfway across one of the flour tortillas. Repeat with second tortilla. Slice up the tomato and arrange the slices on top of the avocado. Sprinkle with taco seasoning, nooch and salt to taste. Fold each tortilla in half. Fry lightly in olive oil on both sides until tortilla starts to brown. Cut into wedges if desired. Makes two servings. These don’t really taste like quesadillas, and I think the nooch is kind of extraneous, which is why I listed it as an optional ingredient. But you can’t really go wrong with avocado on a tortilla, and these make a good quick meal. If you’re worried about protein, you could always smear some refried beans on the other half of each tortilla before folding. Emily
I don’t know whether this is the best Vegan Friday recipe I’ve ever posted, but it’s got to be in the top five, and it’s definitely the prettiest.
The idea of using savory seasonings on sweet potatoes never occurred to me (y’all know how I feel about keeping my sweet foods and my salty foods separate) until I had some vegetarian tacos at a place in Tulsa called Elote.
They were awesome. I don’t mean pretty-good-for-vegan-food awesome. I mean they were just flat awesome, and not the sort of thing I’d ever think up on my own.
I miss Elote.
Fortunately, while I was looking for vegan inspiration on Pinterest recently, I found several pictures of things that looked awfully similar to those gorgeous little tacos from Elote, and after looking at several recipes, I came up with something similar. These aren’t a precise replica, but they’re pretty great, and Ron — who is generally not a fan of any vegan food that is not a PBJ or a bowl of chips and guacamole — liked them enough to look disappointed when I only put two of them on his plate. (He brightened up when he learned he could have more once he finished the first helping.)
Three tacos apiece were enough to fill both of us up, and the amount of fiber, protein and “good” fat in this recipe ensured we didn’t get hungry again an hour later. WIN.
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 packet of taco seasoning (or 1 T. homemade; I’ll post a recipe for homemade seasonings soon)
2 T. olive oil
2 small limes
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. salsa (preferably homemade, but if you have to use storebought, buy something respectable, and add a teaspoon each of cumin and chili powder and a squeeze of lime to dress it up)
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. chopped red onion
12 small corn tortillas
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat the bottom of a smallish baking dish with 1 T. of the olive oil. Toss sweet potatoes with taco seasoning, the rest of the olive oil and the juice from one of the limes. Roast until sweet potatoes are tender. (This took about 30 minutes in my oven, but your mileage may vary.)
While potatoes cook, heat beans and salsa together.
When potatoes are done, nuke tortillas between two paper towels for 30 seconds.
Arrange tortillas in stacks of two. Dice the avocado and cut the remaining lime into wedges. Top each tortilla stack with a spoonful each of sweet potatoes and black beans; some cilantro; a little onion; and a few pieces of diced avocado. Garnish plates with cilantro and lime wedges.
Sit back and enjoy the sound of people telling you how awesome you are. Because they will.
Makes six tacos, plus enough leftover beans to make a small burrito or a couple of black-bean tacos for lunch tomorrow.