A day in which I learn a new taco-filling idea is a good day. I have my standbys, including lentils and other beans (black, pinto and garbanzo), squash, greens, corn, poblano peppers, sweet potatoes, eggs — in various combinations and with countless nuts, cheese, herbs, condiments and other add-ins. And I love them all. But when you make tacos as often as I do — at least twice a week — any revelation is cause for celebration, or at least gratitude.
The previous leap forward came when I opened Jason Wyrick’s book “Vegan Tacos” and saw his technique for griddle-searing chunks of zucchini, a technique that gets them barely tender but not mushy, making them perfect to fold into soft corn tortillas, along with wilted Swiss chard. So suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when the recipe that attracted me the most when I looked through the new book “Living the Farm Sanctuary Life” was another one of Wyrick’s.
He’s not the author; that would be Farm Sanctuary president Gene Baur. But Wyrick is one of the many vegan chefs and writers who contributed recipes to support Baur’s book, which also offers a dose of Farm Sanctuary’s animal-friendly philosophy and tips for those who want to try veganism.
As I’ve said before, when Wyrick develops them, vegan tacos don’t seem like a stretch. In fact, this recipe’s main filling ingredient — plantains that you char on the grill (or on a grill pan inside), then toss in fresh lime juice, salt and ancho chili powder — is destined to become my new Mexican-recipe staple, soon to find its way into quesadillas and enchiladas and onto tostadas. And as much as I love cheese, when you combine the spiced plantain chunks with red cabbage, salsa verde and pumpkin seeds, these tacos don’t need anything else.
That doesn’t mean I don’t want to try something else anyway. Next week, I might throw in some chickpeas, too. Everything is better with chickpeas.