Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cheesy Onion Quesadillas, Mexican Rice, Spicy Black Beans and Tacos

Yes, I said it. Ooey, gooey, yummy cheese! But, wait.  Isn't this supposed to be vegan?  Isn't vegan food just carrot sticks and lettuce? Well, can you give me a "Hell No!!"
Vegan food is amazing and the options are as varied as any other cuisine.  Therefore, let me take you on a tour of two of my favorite Mexican dishes.

First, we have the Quesadilla.  There are, of course, a million different ways to cook a tortilla and I love me some beans and rice to go on the side of this puppy.  I know that time is always in shortage so, if you don't have time, buy premade corn tortillas.  I suggest buying organic and natural.  If you do have time, then check out my recipe for making tortillas from scratch (easier than you think!).

Cheesy Onion Quesadilla, Mexican Rice and Spicy Beans

For the Quesadilla filling:

1/2 white onion (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 ear corn
1 cup cheese (make sure that your vegan cheese is casein free)

Boil water enough to submerge the ear of corn.  Cook the corn until tender then use a knife to scrape the kernels from the cob.  In a pan heat olive oil over medium high heat, add onions and saute for 5 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium, add garlic, corn and chili powder.  Saute for an additional 5 minutes.  In the meantime, in a frying pan heat a small amount of olive oil on low heat.  Place you tortilla's in the pan for a few minutes on each side.  Add the filling and the cheese and fold over your tortilla.  Leave on heat until your cheese is melted.

Mexican Rice
1 cup organic brown rice
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 cup of tomato juice (sodium free)
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup corn (use frozen corn or use some corn from the cob in the above recipe)
1/4 cup chopped carrot

Cook your rice according to the instructions on the package.  For me, a fail safe is to bring two cups of water to a boil.  Add once cup of rice, cover and reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is soft.  In the meantime, in a saucepan, saute the garlic and carrot over medium heat for ten minutes.  Keep a careful eye on your garlic, if it starts to brown, reduce your heat.  Add the peas and corn and saute for an addition two minutes.  Then add your tomato juice and spices.  Stir.  Carefully, spoon in your rice and mix in until the tomato juice is absorbed.

Spicy Black Beans

Don't get me wrong, I love easy premade black beans but I hate that they come in a can.  There have been countless arguments over raw versus living foods and food from a can is not living.  Therefore, I recommend that you make your beans from scratch.  To do this, take your dry beans and soak them overnight.  In the morning, rinse you beans and put them in a slow cooker.  Cover adequately with water and cook for four hours on high heat.  Add 2 bunches (that's right, two bunches) of roughly chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon pepper and two chopped peppers. Stir in your spices and cook until soft, stirring occasionally.  This will usually be an additional two to three hours.  Then your beans will be ready, homemade, (free of aluminum deposits), fresh and delicious!!! Plus, your house will smell amazing.  At this point, you can pour yourself a margarita and continue.

Take you beans with their liquid and transfer to a glass bowl.  To them, add a finely chopped jalapeno pepper, salt to taste and fresh cilantro.  If you like, garnish with a small amount of vegan cheese.

TACO's!! These are super easy, super simple tacos that even the most hardcore meat lover will find absolutely satisfying.  The secret is to use vegan chorizo.  You can buy this a Trader Joe's for $1.99.  Or you can buy at any grocery store in the meat section.  If it says 'vegetarian' on the label and not 'vegan' then make sure to read the ingredients and check for egg whites.

Again, I suggest making your tortillas fresh but store bought will, of course, do the trick.

Heat in a frying pan some olive oil.  Add the vegan chorizo (which is already flavored) to the pan and stir.  While this is heating up (it's pre-cooked so you just need to heat), chop your tomato, romaine lettuce, cilantro and onion.  I really like to add fresh salsa fresca to mine to add that extra kick of flavor.

To make the salsa fresca:
1 white onion (chopped)
6 cloves of garlic (chopped)
4 roma tomato's (diced)
2 jalapenos (chopped and pitted)
the juice of one lime/lemon
cilantro (chopped) to taste (usually 1/2 bunch)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of your salsa fresca ingredients in a bowl.  Take a warm tortilla and spoon in your chorizo.  Cover with lettuce, tomato, salsa fresca and cilantro to garnish.  This picture features mango salsa (which is the same as salsa fresca but with mango instead of tomato, red instead of white onion, and lemon juice.)

Chorizo taco with Mango Salsa Fresca


  1. Hey! So, I noticed that I can't post any comments on the "Suggestions" page or the "Books" page....so I'm just gonna post it here :) I just wanted to mention some vegan cookbooks I love, in case you haven't tried these out yet:

    The Veganomicon (basically the bible of vegan cooking)

    Eat, Drink, Be Vegan

    The Candle Cafe Cookbook (I've cooked just about EVERYTHING in here and I also used to work here when I lived in NY so I can attest to how awesome this book is)

    Clean Food, by Terry Walters (this is great since its divided up to eat seasonally as well.)

    The Real Food Daily Cookbook (Everything is awesome, but don't bother with the desserts. Not what they were known for when this book was published)

    There are a lot more, but those have kinda been my go-to cookbooks.

  2. sounds great. Not only are you making authentic Mexican food from scratch but you are warding off a possible attack from vegan vampires with your prolific use of garlic. It's an all day cook out for one vegan meal. I'm looking forward to more recipes. great blog.