better than avocado

The Taco Masterlist

So, this post may look really long, but don’t stop reading yet!  I really like tacos because they’re very flexible—you can make a bunch of different meals using the same basic ingredients, which means you get to do less shopping, and you can make the groceries you have last longer.

What this post is, then, is basically a bunch of “micro-recipes,” most of which involve less than 20 minutes of active kitchen time (although some have to bake), keep really well, and can be used to make a bunch of different taco-ish meals.  I’ve given a couple different ideas of what you might want to use as salsa, filling, toppings, etc, but you could combine any or all of them.

For all of the recipes below, you will need flour or corn tortillas.Or, if you don’t like tortillas, you could serve the things you like over rice.

(As far as tags go, I am tagging vegan and GF because most of the micro-recipes are.  Of course, if you use flour tortillas or the fish recipe, your tacos will not be vegan/GF anymore)

Main taco fillings:

Black Beans

I like to add a bit of OJ to my beans because it gives them a nice, slightly acidic flavor.

1 can black beans

1 small onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic

½ ts cumin and/or cinnamon

chili powder to taste

¼ orange juice

Add onion and chopped garlic to a pot with some oil and cook until soft, stirring occasionally.  Add the beans, and spices and bring to a boil.  Add the orange juice.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until they are the consistency of beans you would like to eat.

Roast Squash

Many stores sell pre-cut squash, and this is usually the kind I get.

1 winter squash (like acorn, butternut or kabocha), cut into bite-size pieces

about 1 ts cumin, and a bit of allspice is nice if you have it

chili powder to taste

cooking oil

Preheat oven to 350.  Toss the squash in the oil and spices to coat, and lay the pieces out on a baking sheet.  Bake until tender (I’d say 20-ish minutes, but it depends on how big your squash pieces are).

Easy fried fish:

I find that 2 medium-sized fish fillets will serve about 3-4 people.  If you’re just cooking for yourself, maybe get one.  This is one of the few micro-recipes in this post that doesn’t keep super well, so if you want fish tacos for more than one night, you might want to make the toppings one night and then fry the fish night-by-night.  It only takes about 10 minutes, if that!

2 fillets white fish, like catfish or tilapia 

a few tablespoons of flour or cornmeal

salt and pepper to taste

oil

Spread the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper.  Dredge the fish fillets in it—they should come out lightly coated.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet, using a bit more than you would normally use.  Add fish to skillet cook over medium-high heat, turning the fillets over as they brown.  The fish is done when it can be easily sectioned into pieces with your spatula, and is opaque all the way through.  Cut into bite-sized pieces before serving in tacos.

Salsas, Salads, and Other Toppings:

Roasted Tomato Salsa

This salsa is so good!  And it keeps really well in the fridge, and makes a great topping for a lot of non-taco food.  It can be fairly spicy if you use the serranos, so if you are sensitive to heat, you might substitute a milder pepper, like a jalapeño.

1 pint container grape tomatoes, or about 3 larger tomatoes

1-2 fresh chiles, preferably serrano

2 cloves garlic, unpeeled

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly oil a baking sheet, and spread the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic on it.  Remove the stems from the peppers, but don’t peel the garlic!  If you are using large tomatoes, cut them into slices.

Roast in oven until the tomatoes are slightly black/brown around the edges and the garlic skin looks translucent—maybe half an hour.  Remove from oven and allow to cool until you can handle it without burning yourself.  Peel the garlic and add it and the rest of the ingredients to a blender.  Blend!

Awesome Avocado Salsa Verde

I’m giving the no-cook version of this recipe, but I sometimes make a version where I roast the tomatillos, garlic, and chile as in the previous salsa, then blend them with the rest of the ingredient.  Both are excellent, and the acid in the tomatillos means that this salsa keeps much better than regular guacamole.

1 avocado

about 4 medium tomatillos, husked

1 clove garlic

1-2 serrano chiles, stems removed

about ¼ onion

a small handful of cilantro

Add everything except the cilantro to a blender and puree.  Add the cilantro and blend quickly, until just incorporated.  Done!

Creamy Peanut Salsa:

This one is a little bit more work, but it’s super good!

about 1/3 cup roasted peanuts

1-2 ts chile powder (arbol or chipotle are great if you have them, but don’t worry if you don’t)

½ ts ground black pepper (plus a bit of allspice if you have it)

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small white onion, chopped

1 ts apple cider vinegar

salt to taste

oil

Heat oil in a skillet and add onions and garlic.  Cook until the onions are soft.  Add everything else except the vinegar and cook for about 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat and add to a blender, along with vinegar and about ½ cup of water.  Blend until creamy.

Quick Cabbage Salad:

¼ cabbage

salt to taste

1-2 tbsp lime juice

Slice cabbage into thin strips.  Toss in a bowl with salt and lime juice.  Serve on top of tacos.

Taco toppings that require no cooking:

Avocado

crumbled or shredded cheese

crema or sour cream

Other things that are not tacos, but that can be made using leftovers from these recipes:

Huevos Rancheros:

You need:

Leftovers from Black Beans

Leftovers from Roasted Tomato Salsa, or any other pre made salsa (2-3 tbsp)

2 eggs

maybe a bit of cilantro, if you have it on hand

oil

Heat oil in skillet and crack eggs into it.  Add black beans and salsa and scramble.  Top with cilantro.  Serve with tortillas if you have any left over.

Roasted Squash Rice Bowl:

You need:

Leftovers from Roasted Squash

Leftovers from Cabbage Salad

Any kind of salsa

about 1 cup of cooked rice

Heat squash in microwave.  Serve on top of rice with cabbage salad and salsa.

 

BEST BREAKFAST: AVOCADO TOAST

Thought I’d share this with you guys. I would eat this every meal of every day. Nothing is better than avocados. Nothing. They’re an amazing source of healthy fats and vitamins, have anti-aging benefits, they regulate blood sugar, they’re lovely for the skin, but mostly they’re just freaking delicious. I prefer savory breakfasts to sweet ones, and this always does the trick. It’s sooo healthy, so filling, takes 2 minutes to make, and as a spread, avocado is infinitely superior to butter. MAKE THIS. YOU WILL BE SO HAPPY. 

YOU WILL NEED: 

  • 1-2 slices thick bread (preferably 7- or 9-grain)
  • ½ ripe avocado 
  • ½ lime 
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Take bread. Make toast. Simples. 
  2. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Mash with a fork. 
  3. Spread avocado onto the toast. Spritz the juice from the lime all over, then sprinkle with sea salt and crack over some black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. (For some added sexiness, put a poached egg on top.)  
  4. HEAVEN IN YOUR MOUTH.