Monday, January 18, 2016

42. Chipotle Tempeh Tacos with Three-Pepper Salsa and Avocado


It's been a while since I've made tacos that were truly vegan.  I'm not a vegan myself, but I do appreciate the lightness of foods that have no animal products at all.  I am especially quick to get on board when I am still being dragged (kicking and screaming) from the excesses of the holiday season!  Ha ha.

I haven't featured tempeh in a taco since recipe number four.  I figured it was about time.  Tempeh is a great protein source.  It's a soybean product in a cake form - very crumbly.  It's got a nutty taste and is quite filling - it lends itself quite well to being the center of a vegetarian plate!

To flavor the tempeh, I used chipotle chile puree, which is something that I pretty much always have in the refrigerator.  How do you make it?  Simple!  Take a small can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, like this one:

Place the contents in a blender and blend until smooth.  Store in a small airtight container in the refrigerator.  That's it!  It stays fresh rather indefinitely.  I have used it when it is months old.  (Of course, you should always eyeball it, smell it, and use your best judgement!)  It is an easy way to add a smoky, spicy flavor to any number of savory dishes!

I tested these all by myself.  Steve met up with some old friends in Phoenix for a guys' night, so I had my own private taco party!   I thought they were pretty good - you'll just have to take my word for it!  :)

Here's the recipe:

Chipotle Tempeh Tacos with Three-Pepper Salsa and Avocado 

Serves 3-4 (about 8-12 tacos with extra salsa)


For the three-pepper salsa:

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
One roma tomato, quartered
One clove of garlic, chopped
One dried chile de arbol, stemmed
One dried guajillo chile, stemmed and seeded
One fresh Fresno chile, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt

For the tempeh mixture :

One 8 oz. package tempeh
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
One clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. chipotle puree
1/3 cup beer
3/4 salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lime

12 high-quality crunchy taco shells (I used Trader Joe's brand.)

1 avocado, sliced

Shredded iceberg lettuce

1.  Make the salsa:  Place all of the salsa ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Reduce the heat to very low, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Transfer to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

2.  Make the tempeh mixture:  Crumble the tempeh into a medium skillet.

Add enough water to partially cover the tempeh.  Bring to a simmer and gently cook for about 12 minutes, or until most of the water has been absorbed.  Drain any remaining water.  Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, tomato paste, and chipotle puree and cook and stir over medium heat until the onion has softened and the mixture is well-combined, about four to five minutes.  Add the beer, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, and cook and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Add the lime juice and remove from the heat.  Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.

3.  Heat the shells:  Toast briefly (a minute or two) in a 350 degree oven until hot and fragrant.  Watch them - they can go from toasty to burned pretty quickly!

4.  Assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a taco shell on a plate.  Fill with some of the tempeh mixture.  Top with the lettuce, a couple of avocado slices, and a generous amount of the three-pepper salsa.  Enjoy!

I enjoyed these vegan tacos quite a bit!  Would they have been good with a sprinkle of cheese?  Well . . . sure.  However, the tempeh is rich and nutty enough that I didn't really miss the cheese.  If you're not a vegan, though, add it if you wish!  :)

I liked the three-pepper salsa.  It was kind of like a thin taco sauce.  It was tangy, spicy, slightly sweet . . . all good things!  There is quite a bit left, but I don't see that as a bad thing.  I could picture it on eggs, potatoes, more tacos, etc.  It's tasty!

If you're serving hard-core carnivores, these might not convert them.  Vegans, vegetarians, and hippie-granola types?  Yes - they'll love them!

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Did you try them?  What did you think?  :)

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you think! Please comment! :)