Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw

I got to run away for the weekend. It was rough. And by rough I mean I got to stay in a 4 story beach front home WITH an elevator with four amazing girlfriends (and two adorable babies). We spent nearly the entire weekend talking. You'd think us women would eventually run out of things to say but you're wrong. I've been alive over thirty and a half years now and that still hasn't happened. There is just so much to talk about and so little time! Though we didn't manage to cover every topic on the planet, we did talk about the inevitable: meal planning and food budgets (boy, "girl talk" sure looks different for me these days!) The topic came up because we'd all left our husbands and most of our offspring at home and we knew we'd be returning to some degree of chaos which more than likely included an empty fridge. Or negative empty. If there is such a thing. 

People sometimes think that since I love food, that I must love all things food-related. That I frolic cheerfully through the grocery store pushing a cart containing three perfectly-behaved children who never whine or grab things off the shelves. It's true. Our life is just like that. My kids have never licked the floor or begun to eat something before we've paid, and no, that certainly wasn't my child that you saw just yesterday, twirling in the aisle with a mop as cleaning products spewed in every direction. Yeah, I love food so that sort of thing doesn't happen to me. NOT. 

Meal planning is the same story. I have the traditional late Sunday afternoon moment of petrified Darn-We-Are-Out-Of-Food-And-I-Need-To-Plan-A-Menu-For-The-Week-Like-NOW panic attack just like the rest of you. Unfortunately, even the lovely beach front setting I found myself in that past weekend, couldn't keep the attack at bay and I was racking my brain for inspiration so I could make an emergency grocery list as we packed up and prepared for our return trip. I was reminded of my desire to incorporate more vegetarian entrees into our diet, primarily for cost-saving measures (this of course was prompted by another riveting "girl talk" conversation in which we discussed the ghastly prices of meat - seriously, who have we become!?) Anyway, I realized that setting a specific goal of say serving one vegetarian meal a week could simplify my menu planning and make it less daunting. When I have a blank slate in front and all food's fair game, I have a hard time making a decision and picking recipes I'd like to make in the coming week. But when given a category to work with, it narrows the playing field and I do much better.

We have a few skeptics in my household so I am working to identify some vegetarian favorites that appease even the meat lovers. I stumbled upon this recipe a few years back because it received such rave reviews online. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was simple and easy AND delicious. The tacos are just as you would expect, given their name: crispy. The recipe calls for black beans that are partially mashed and seasoned with cumin. You could get fancy and add some other seasonings but it's really quite good as is. The key here, I think, is the fresh lime juice in the slaw. Shredded cabbage is tossed with a few green onions and cilantro and then dressed simply with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. The cabbage absorbs the flavor of the lime, providing a nice tangy pop when stuffed inside the tacos to accompany with the black beans. The tacos are finished with a crumble of feta and hot sauce for us spice addicts - yum! So simple and fresh and cheap! Happy non-meat eating to us all.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw
(adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine)

2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 cups shredded cabbage or undressed coleslaw mix
4 green onions, chopped
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 (6 inch) wheat and corn tortillas (Trader Joe's sells these)
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Bottled hot sauce (I like Sriracha)

Place beans and cumin in small bowl; partially mash. Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add coleslaw, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of tortillas to the skillet in single layer (parts of them will hang over edge of pan) . Spoon 1/8 of bean mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Fold tacos in half and flip, cooking until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, tortillas and bean mixture. Fill tacos with feta and slaw and serve with hot sauce alongside.

Serves 4-6

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posted by kelsie