To be honest, a few weeks ago I found myself in kind of a rut – I was feeling uninspired by vegetables and felt like I was eating and using the same veggies over and over again. The same old red and yellow peppers, mushrooms, the usual. Then I remembered what my mom often told us when we were young: eat bright, colorful meals. The more shades and color on your plate, the better, so I went back to that philosophy and worked the other way around to create these almost-rainbow-like tofu and vegetable tacos.
For the veggie mix: first, purple cabbage. I had forgotten it even exists! I was rummaging in the fridge and saw carrots – another thing I had forgotten about. In the winter, the carrots are juicier, sweeter, brighter red but they’re still good to eat. I added one more color to the mix with super-thin sliced yellow bell peppers. Sometimes, cutting your veggies in different ways can add a whole new layer of flavor and interest. You can skip the sauté step and top the tacos with the raw veggie mix if you like, but I prefer to cook them for a few minutes. And of course – the tofu filling, which might even turn some tofu-haters into fans. It’s quick, easy and almost doesn’t even taste like tofu. Again, the crumbled texture marinates better, pulling in more of the spices for a change from the regular pieces of tofu we’re used to eating. To top it all off: a 5 minute salsa aka pico de gallo which is simple chopped tomato, onion and cilantro finished with a pinch of salt.
In India, store-bought tortillas are less frequently used because we’re all used to making and eating rotis. Tortillas aren’t that much different from rotis. I use a mix of maize and wheat flour to make the tortillas. The texture isn’t exactly the same as a store-bought tortilla because you aren’t using preservatives, thickeners, leaveners and all that stuff. It feels a little more rustic which is still nice. Maize flour is nutritious, flavorful and commonly available (makki). If you (or the lucky person who’s helping you make these) aren’t very good at making rotis, add a little more wheat flour which will make it easier to roll out.
All in all, these tofu and vegetable tacos make a healthy, protein and fiber-rich vegan meal packed with Mexican zest. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need imported ingredients to make Mexican food and it isn’t just fried, cheese, beans and nachos, there’s more to it. If you want to make it more of a party rather than a staple weeknight meal, add some cheese, guacamole and margaritas and you’re set. I didn’t have any good avocados at the time (they come once in a blue moon sadly) but these would be even better with some sliced avocado or guacamole. Try the recipe out and let me know what you think – leave a comment below or write to me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter! P.S. do any of you use Yummly? I just joined their network and added the Yum button to my recipes. Their search function is actually pretty cool – you can choose whether the recipe you’re looking for includes a particular ingredient (or doesn’t include it), allergies, cuisines, flavors and more. If you use it, be sure to add the recipes you plan to try to your recipe box! Check out my Yummly page here.
- 80g or ¾ cup maize flour
- 30g or ⅓ cup whole wheat flour + 3-4 tbsp for rolling out the tortillas
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- A pinch of chili powder
- Approx 90ml or ⅓ cup water
- 200g tofu
- 2 green chilis, de-seeded and finely chopped
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 80g purple cabbage, chopped finely
- 30g shredded carrot
- 60g yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
- A pinch of salt
- Crumble the tofu with your hands by squeezing it. Add the olive oil, cumin, de-seeded chili and salt and set aside.
- Mix together the ingredients for the tortillas and knead into a dough. Divide into 8 equal-sized pieces of dough. Roll out the tortillas using a rolling pin and cook each tortilla on both sides a griddle (tava). Alternatively use store-bought tortillas and skip this step.
- In a pan, sauté the tofu mixture for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
- Separately, sauté all the ingredients for the vegetable filling in a pan for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
- Combine the ingredients for the pico de gallo in a small bowl.
- Top each tortilla with tofu, the vegetable mix and salsa.
- Serve immediately. This recipe makes enough for 8 tacos.