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Meatless Monday: Summer Seitan Tacos

June 3rd 01:06pm, 2013

 

I remember one of the first times I went with my now-husband (then-boyfriend) to visit his family in Texas. I had just flipped the vegetarian switch, and now, here I was, going into the lion’s den of meaty cuisine, where nothing is quite right until you slap some beef or bacon on it. We would go out to eat, and I’d be the crazy lady asking the servers if things had been cooked in beef or chicken stock, something they didn’t even think to know because … who cares?

So it’s a testament to my in-laws that, after all those embarrassing questions, they still accepted me into their family with open arms. And now when we go visit, they even scout menus ahead of time to make sure there is something for their quirky daughter-in-law to consume. One of my favorite places down there is a chain (gasp!) taco place called Torchy’s, which serves these amazing mushroom tacos topped with cheese and lettuce and an avocado cream that’s out of this world. Each bite is packed with layer upon layer of flavor, and it’s the standard to which I now hold all vegetarian tacos.

For this recipe, feel free to omit the seitan if soy substitutes still freak you out (although you will miss that meaty texture it gives). And grilling the corn before adding it to the peas would definitely kick things up a notch. But whatever you do, don’t skip the avocado dressing.


Summer Seitan Tacos
Makes 4 to 6 tacos

For the avocado dressing:
1 large ripe Hass avocado, pitted and roughly chopped
¼ cup plain yogurt
½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. lime juice
¼ cup water
¼ tsp. salt

• In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients for the avocado dressing.
• Process until smooth and creamy, then taste for seasoning. Add more salt, if needed.
• Pulse a couple times to combine. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the red cabbage slaw:
¼ head red cabbage, shredded
1 cup shredded carrots
3 green onions (white and green parts), chopped
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup olive oil
1½ Tbsp. agave nectar
¼ cup cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrot and green onions.
• In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, olive oil and agave.
• Pour the liquid over the cabbage mixture and stir to combine.
• Add the cilantro, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine again.
• Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

For the seitan:
8 oz. seitan strips
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground paprika
½ tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. vegetable oil
½ onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Juice of ½ lime

• Drain the seitan strips. Discard the liquid and place the strips in a medium bowl.
• Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, chili powder and garlic. Stir to make sure the seitan is evenly coated.
• Set aside at room temperature to allow flavors to marry. Meanwhile, prepare the taco filling.
• To cook the seitan, heat the vegetable oil over medium or medium-high heat in a small nonstick skillet. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is softened and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
• Add the reserved seitan mixture and lime juice, stir to combine, and cook until seitan is evenly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm until serving.

For the taco filling:
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
5 oz. frozen corn
1 cup water
¼ cup chopped cilantro
6 soft-taco-size flour tortillas (check ingredient list to make sure they don’t have lard, or use corn tortillas)

• While the seitan is marinating, heat the vegetable oil in a large stainless skillet over medium or medium-high heat.
• Add the onion, garlic and jalapeño, then season with salt and pepper. Stir, then let the mixture cook until the onions are softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
• Add the black-eyed peas, corn and water. Turn the heat to high to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat back to medium-high and simmer until the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes.
• Add the cilantro, then taste the mixture and season again with salt and pepper if needed. Remove it from the heat while you cook the seitan.

Toppings:
4 oz. goat cheese crumbles
3 radishes, thinly sliced (optional)
Sriracha

• To assemble the tacos, put a tortilla on a plate. Top with the slaw, then the black-eyed pea and corn mixture, seitan, goat cheese and radishes (if using).
• Drizzle with avocado dressing and drops of Sriracha.

 

 

By Beth Styles

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