Desperation can be a source of inspiration in cooking. When an unexpected guest was also a vegetarian I threw together something I had on hand and suddenly we had a tasty alternative to Turkey Tacos I typically make.
Not planning on having tacos tonight? This works equally as well as a side dish.
Black Bean Summer Squash Taco Filling
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 onion, cut into 1/4″ dice
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1/4″ dice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 yellow summer squashes, cut into 1/4″ dice (see notes)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano, crushed
black pepper to taste, extra salt for cooking
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium for about 1 minute. Add the onions and bell pepper, sprinkle with salt and toss to coat in the oil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirrings once or twice.
Add the jalapeno and garlic, stirring them into the carrot and bell pepper. Cook until fragrant, which should only take 30 second to a minute. Transfer the onions, peppers and garlic to a bowl and set aside.
Return the skillet to the stove, add the remaining oil and increase the heat to high. When the oil is just beginning to smoke add the summer squash and a generous sprinkle of salt. Spread the squash along the bottom of the skillet and cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes. Toss the pan to redistribute the squash and cook another minute.
Return the onion mixture to the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.
Your 3 summer squashes should be 6-8″ long and no more than 2-2.5″ in diameter. I prep them removing the ends and cutting them lengthwise into quarters. I then remove the layer of seeds, cut the remaining squash flesh into 1/4″ wide strips and, finally, cutting them into 1/4″ cubes.
I wanted a side dish that would combine some fresh vegetables (cukes/peppers) with some easy protein (canned beans). The dressing is based on one from FoodTV; they used it on a different salad however I liked the sound of it and it worked out well.
Cucumber and Bean Salad with citrus dressing
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas
1 14.5 oz. can black beans
1 cucumber, peeled, quartered, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 2″ pieces
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Rinse the chickpeas and black beans, add to a bowl with the cucumbers and red peppers.
In a jar combine the remaining ingredients, shake well. Pour about half of the dressing over the vegetables, toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with remaining dressing available for those who want it.
The vegetables can be combined up to 2 hours in advance and the the dressing can similarly be made up to a day in advance. Store both in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before serving.
I used Goya low-sodium chickpeas and black beans in this dish. If you aren’t using low-sodium beans then you might want to cut the kosher salt by half in the dressing.
Tacos in our house usually means fish tacos however some of our friends can’t do seafood so we try to provide an alternative. I was able to make this an hour or so before dinner and keep it warm in the slow cooker while I worked on other parts of the menu.
1 pkg. ground turkey (that equals 20 oz. at my mega-mart)
kosher salt and black pepper
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced fine
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1/4 tsp. ground chipotle
3/4 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup no salt added chicken broth
2 tsp. brown sugar
3 tsp. cider vinegar
Place the garlic and spices in a bowl; set aside. Combine the tomato sauce, broth, brown sugar and vinegar in a measuring cup; set aside.
Heat the oil in a non-skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, stir to coat with oil and cook for about 4 minutes until softened.
Add the garlic and spices to the skillet. Stir to incorporate with the onions and cook until aromatic, about a minute.
Add the ground turkey, break into pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover. Cook for a minute, break into smaller pieces and cover. Cook for another 2 minutes, break up large pieces again and cook uncovered for a final couple of minutes until the turkey is no longer pink.
Reduce heat to medium-low, add the liquid ingredients and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes. Stir every minute or so and continue to break up any larger pieces of turkey.
Serve up with your favorite taco fixin’s.
This recipe is based on a recipe for Beef Tacos from a May 2002 issue of Cook’s Illustrated.
We were introduced to achiote via chef Daisy Martinez‘s cooking show, Daisy Cooks!. Achiote (also called annatto) seeds provide an earthy flavor. One of the more common ways to use them is to make a flavored oil that will impart a yellow-orange color to the dishes it is used in (think yellow rice).
Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Add brown sugar, spices and garlic. Stir to combine and heat until fragrant; 1 to 2 minutes.
Add tomato products, broth and orange juice. Stir until tomato paste is incorporated. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add black beans, stir to incorporate and cook for 20 more minutes. Beans should be heated through and slightly softened.
Taste for seasoning; adjust if needed. Serve with in a bowl with your choice of toppings.
This recipe is based on one I found while sorting through the stack of recipes that get printed out, made once and forgotten. I’ve tweaked the original recipe to match my preferences and written up my version of the instructions.
The original recipe apparently came from Southern Living magazine circa 2008.
We try to have at least one vegetarian meal each week and when I’m at a loss for what to make I turn to chickpeas. This dish is similar to the Chickpea side dish recipe I posted years back. The flavor profile is different and it makes a filling meal with some rice.
Summer is a season of abundant local produce. Not a week goes by without fresh tomatoes from the garden and gifts of cukes and summer squash from friends and co-workers. We do our best to use it all before it needs to be donated back to the compost pile. Salad is a fine way to consume fresh veggies as long as you, or your friends, will eat the salad. 🙂 This simple, lettuce free, salad comes together quickly and went well with grilled chicken.
When faced with a cabbage my first instinct is to braise it. When faced with a 15″ long and 8″ diameter Napa cabbage my impulse was to braise it for Saturday night dinner. My partner in cookery suggested some lamb to go with it and his Interweb search turned up a candidate recipe. A bit of tweaking to fit other items that were part of the meal and this was the result.
Cumin Ground Lamb and Braised Napa Cabbage
The idea for this recipe came from this recipe at the Hot, Spicy and Skinny blog. I’ve rewritten it to include the ingredients I used and reworked the instructions. Enjoy.
I’ve been making these for 5 years or so. I started with a recipe from Taste of Home and have made enough scribbles on that printout that it seems like a good idea to capture them less I toss the paper and lose all of the work.
We usually serve these with a baked rice and green salad. A little extra sour cream on the the side never hurt anything.
Preheat oven to 350°F. You’ll need 2 13″x9″ glass baking dishes.
Combine tomato sauce, water, chili powder, paprika, cumin and oregano in a saucepan. Add a generous pinch of salt and 10 grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine. Heat to boiling and cook, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes until slightly thickened.
Microwave the chopped onion for 2 minutes on high. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl combine sour cream, cilantro, 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 20 grinds of black pepper. Add the onions once they have cooled. Mix well.
Place 1/2 cup of sauce in the 2 baking dishes, spreading to evenly coat the bottom of each pan.
Wrap 4 tortillas in a paper towel and microwave them for 45 seconds on high. Working one tortilla at a time spread 2 tablespoons of sauce on one side like a pizza, add ~1/3 cup of cheese filling in the center and fold into a tube. Place, seam side down, into a baking dish.. Repeat the process, warming more tortillas as needed.
Pour a generous cup or more of the sauce over the completed enchiladas. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 2 cups over cheese over the 2 dishes and cook for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
I usually make the sauce and the filling in advance so that I’m left with an assembly job just before putting these in the oven. If you fill and sauce the tortillas too far in advance the dish will turn into a tasty amorphous blob.
I use packaged shredded cheese to save time. Feel free to use a block of cheese and hand shred it. The cheese inside the enchiladas may melt a bit more by doing that.
Microwave the onions helps to avoid a raw onion taste in the enchilada. If you like the flavor of raw onions then just add the chopped onions to the filling mix.
Leftover sauce can be cooled and frozen for up to 3 months. It’s a nice sauce for a frittata or grilled meat.