By Hilary Pollack, VegNews.com
After the whirlwind success of Vegan Pizza Day, you may feel like there’s nothing left to look forward to in 2012 (besides the heavy partying that will accompany the potential demise of human existence, or whatever). But you’re wrong! Hark, this weekend we celebrated none other than Worldwide Vegan Taco Day, a celebration of all of the spicy, tomato-dicey, cheesy, beany excellence that our collective brainpower can come up with and our mouths can chomp down on. Additionally, we would like to use this day of recognition to honor the essential BFF of tacos: guacamole, the avocado-based love of our lives. Here’s to you, tacos and guac: you enrich our lives so.
You’ve had tacos. We’ve had tacos. And even if you’ve never had a vegan taco, you can probably imagine its contents. Some conjugation of beans, rice, lettuce, tomato, and perhaps onions, faux meat, dairy-free cheese, and/or sour cream inevitably represents the most popular vegan taco arrangement. But we’re ready to turn your world upside down. First, let’s start with a slight spin on the classic vegan taco: Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro-Infused Tortillas. We understand that cilantro can be a divisive herb, but for those of us who are fans of its unique tang, these tacos are a slam dunk, and they’re insanely easy to prepare (and eat). Or, try Vegan Tempeh Tacos with Avocado-Lime Crema, with a kick derived from vegan pepperjack cheese and barbecue seasoning.
Looking for more unique international flair? The best thing about tacos is the simplicity with which one can customize their fillings with as much flair as you can dollop on. For a hint of India, try Barbecue Eggplant Tacos with a fresh peach-lime chutney and fennel slaw, or for a more Southeast Asian spin, feast on Thai Lemongrass Tofu Tacos with Lime-Sriracha Aioli and Basil-Cucumber Salsa. Have you ever tried using jackfruit as a substitute for meat? If not, now’s the time, as its texture is very reminiscent of stewed chicken or pork (but tastier, since it’s plant-based!), and it absorbs spices and seasonings to perfection. For example, Thai “Pulled Pork” Tacos combine spicy lemongrass, lime, and chili-spiced jackfruit with cabbage slaw and homemade salsa for a fresh, crisp, savory handheld meal. Other veggie devotees will be wooed by Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos, which give cauliflower’s wholesome white buds a spicy makeover (but don’t worry, mango-lime salsa keeps it cool).
Ready for some next-level inventiveness on your taco front? Good, because it’s Vegan Taco Day and ambivalence will not be tolerated. Do you like buffalo wings? Would you like to stuff them into a delicious taco? Us too! Thankfully, food blog Spices and Spackle has concocted a mouthwatering recipe for Vegan Buffalo Tacos, marinating thick slices of tempeh in classic Frank’s Red Hot sauce and balancing the heat with a cooling avocado-corn salsa. Speaking of salsas, while fruit salsas may be all the rage, up your sweetness with Terry Hope Romero’s Strawberry Chipotle Sausage Kale Tacos (ready to get weird?), a surprisingly harmonious combination of our favorite berry, spice, and dark leafy green all in one compact culinary package. Vegan tacos are full of surprises, though—have you ever seen even a non-veganSpaghetti Taco? Yeah, we hadn’t either, but we’re totally on board.
There are two very special outliers in the vegan taco category. The first, 6-Layer Taco Pie, does not adhere to the taco’s traditional tortilla-wrapped format, but is nonetheless a grand and inspired creation worthy of being replicated in your kitchen (and probably wholly consumed in one sitting). The second is a truly luscious take on taco’s cousin, the mighty enchilada. Angela of Oh She Glows appears to have devised an excellent version of vegan enchiladas filled with sweet potato, black bean, spinach, and peppers, and generously doused in a decadent cilantro-avocado cream sauce. We’ll take a dozen!
Guacs That Rock
Behind every great taco there is a great guacamole (we’re pretty sure that Einstein or Napoleon or John F. Kennedy coined this phrase). But seriously though, guacamole elevates pretty much anything with its cool, creamy quality. Never made guacamole before? Don’t worry, all it necessitates is a little bit of chopping, smushing, and mixing. We love this recipe from blog Crepes of Wrath, which subs shallots instead of the requisite white onion for an extra touch of sharp sweetness. For a different dining experience from the same ingredients, whip up Deconstructed Guacamole Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette, which is essentially a less guilt-provoking way of eating forkfuls of guac. For another variation that only requires a prep switch, give Grilled Guacamole a shot—a little bit of blackening on the jalapeño, avocado, and onion adds a deep, smoky flavor to your delectable dip without needing any bonus seasoning. However, when you’re ready for some mix-ins, there are plenty to be had. Pea Guacamole is a lower-fat take that still delivers on flavor, and Holy Moly Healthy Guacamole has a surprise base ingredient—white beans! You can even boost your guac’s protein punch with Tofu Guacamole or Quinoa Guacamole Salad. Rounding out the crazy guacamole fest, we have Pineapple Guacamole and Green Apple Guacamole—a touch of fruit-based sweetness can totally take a dip to the next level. And finally, whilst considering what crispy vehicles to use to transport these many guacs into your mouth, consider Avocado Fries or Guacamole Taco Rolls. Because as with tacos you can never be too crazy, with avocado, you can never be too meta.
To see images and recipes for these delectable dishes, visit our Pinterest board Vegan Taco Mania. It’s taco time!