If you have been telling yourself that you need to do more plant-based meals for your family, but you just keep putting it off, forgetting, or are just plain stuck in a rut with your weekly repertoire like I was for years, then these tacos are a great recipe for you!
Next to pizza, tacos top all my clients’ favorites lists, and it’s no wonder. They’re easy, crunchy, tasty and come together quickly. Most of all, tacos seem to satisfy even picky little ones. Kids love to stuff their own shells and use fun plates like the ones I found at Aldi last year. Special taco plates are always a fan favorite with visiting kids at Mrs. Jama’s house, because the shells stay upright. I recently saw similar plates out at Aldi for Independence Day that you might be able to catch on clearance, but if you can’t find any at Aldi, these divider plates from Amazon would do the trick!
Oh, and while I was searching for plates like mine to share with you, I ran across this TriceraTaco dinosaur taco holder with matching T-Rex holder and Brontosaurus Nacho and Dip Bowl. Your welcome.
Nerd moment! Moving on! 🙂
For years, I did the traditional meat-cheese-shredded lettuce taco. Easy, yes. Nutrient rich? “No way!” as my three year old says. Now, when I do my weekly Mexican rotation (Taco Tuesday, baby!) I load up my tacos with plenty of color. This time, it didn’t hurt that my Dad had sent a bunch of beautiful green onions, zucchini and yellow squash from his garden, along with a mountain of swiss chard, which I’ll blog about in a later post. So these fresh, organic veggies gave these tacos a lot of flavor! I love to make tacos that don’t have common ingredients!
Selecting or Forming Crunch Taco Shells
Baked tacos are really the fastest and easiest option when you’re juggling work and kid schedules, especially if you use preformed shells. However, watch the ingredients in those supermarket boxes! Often, preformed corn shells are highly processed and have a slew of unhealthy oils, sugars and completely unnecessary ingredients, and they actually don’t taste that great. Bummer! Plus, they are typically higher in calories than soft corn tortillas. And more expensive! I like the taste and price of preformed shells at Aldi, and I’m sure Trader Joe’s has some options too, but some of the ingredients aren’t perfectly wholesome.
To form your own crunchy shells, lay corn tortillas on a taco baking rack like this taco backing rack and bake them until crispy. Or, just fold your tortillas in half on a sheet and tuck a disposable paper cupcake liner or two in between each one to form your shells. Or – make your own stand and stuff tacos by just using your actual oven rack, like in this cool tutorial.
Baking soft tortillas to form the shells, is, in my opinion, is the tastiest option, but one that requires a little bit more time. This way, you can also more closely control the ingredients. For example, you want to choose corn and corn products that are non-GMO whenever possible. If you’re interested, you can read more about choosing non-GMO corn here at the Non-GMO Project, if you’re interested.
If you don’t have taco bakeware, then you can simply “scrunch up” aluminum foil around your tacos like I did below, because I was using preformed shells at the time I made this recipe.
So that’s how shells are made!
My husband, who doesn’t consume flour or added sugar of any kind, found some really tasty, gluten free corn tortillas at Earthfare in the refrigerated deli section next to the hummus, which simply had corn listed as one of a few clean ingredients. I’m assuming that Earthfare made these but didn’t check (but will next time I go!). We were really excited to get these home, because we erroneously assumed they weren’t made from corn flour. This wad before I said,“Well, I can just make those myself!” and did a ton of research into how corn tortillas are actually made!
When I looked into it, I realized that corn tortillas are almost always made from masa harina, which is different from cornmeal. Apparently, you cannot make good corn tortillas from cornmeal; I’m seeing from research. Masa harina is ground from corn kernels that have been soaked in limewater, an alkaline solution that changes the actual physical structure of the corn, making it physically softer, balancing the flavors and freeing up more of its nutritional content. The lime helps convert the corn’s high levels of bound (meaning not available to our bodies) niacin, or Vitamin B3, into a bioavailable form that the body can actually absorb and use. Long ago, this was important for preventing a disease called pellagra. So interesting!
You can also make corn tortillas raw, apparently, with a good quality food processor and dehydrator of course, which I would love to try when I have time! And when I do, I’ll post that blog. But keep in mind I have a three year old, so you may want to check back on that raw vegan corn shell in oh, about three more years. Am I right, moms and dads?
Here’s how to make yummy Black Bean & Mushroom Tacos!
- 8 preformed taco shells (see blog for tips on how to make these yourself)
- 1 can, or 15 oz, black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 container, or 8 oz baby bellas, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup no sugar added salsa of choice
- 1/4 cup green onion tops, or chives, sliced; save some for garnish
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions; save some for garnish
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, very finely chopped
- 1 small yellow squash, very finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon
- 1/2 cup Follow Your Heart Pepperjack Vegan cheese or other cheese
- Black olives
- Shredded Swiss Chard or Lettuce
- Lime Juice
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Heat a saucepan over medium high heat.
- Add both the filling and seasoning ingredients to the saucepan and stir thoroughly.
- Cover and simmer for about four to five minutes, until the onions are just tender . Do not overcook, as they will cook the rest of the way in the oven.
- Spoon filling into taco shells.
- Place in the oven for about fifteen minutes, until crispy.
- Add cheese in the last five minutes of cooking time.
- Top with avocado, lettuce, olives, etc. and serve!
- To make these even faster, serve some of the filling ingredients (such as mushrooms) as optional sides and simply use the beans for the filling, so that folks can customize their tacos to taste.
- Tacos freeze well! Make a lot of refried bean, black bean, or meat filled tacos ahead of time by either freezing filling flat in quart or gallon size freezer bags and using fresh tortillas as needed, or buy freezing the actual tacos (double wrap or bag).
I hope you enjoy these tacos as much as we did!
Need a dessert idea? Try these Pumpkin Salted Caramel Protein Muffins!