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Crunchy Peanut Tacos

Crunchy Peanut Tacos 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Mar 3, 2019

This taco filling might sound unusual, but it tastes perfectly familiar, with a heartiness and crunch that evokes meat. This makes a little more salsa than you'll probably need for these tacos; refrigerate it for up to one week, or freeze for up to three months.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow or white onion (from 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
  • One 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted, such as Muir Glen brand
  • 1 canned chipotle chile, chopped, plus its adobo sauce, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed (see NOTE)
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • Lime wedges, for serving


Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the onion and add half the salt and half the pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is browned in spots, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and chipotle; bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, until the mixture is bubbling gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, to form a thickened salsa, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the chopped cilantro and lime juice. Taste, and add more salt, black pepper and/or adobo sauce as needed, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover to keep warm. (For a smoother salsa, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture in the pot, or transfer to puree in a blender.)

Pour another 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the peanuts and add the remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cumin and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl; don't bother to wipe out the skillet.

Pour the remaining tablespoon of the oil into the same skillet and return to medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and crisp and the pan is dry, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir the peanuts back in, taste, and season with more salt and/or black pepper, as needed.

To assemble the tacos, line the tortillas with lettuce. Divide the peanut mixture among them and top each with a spoonful of warm salsa. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve right away, with the extra salsa and the lime wedges.

NOTE: To warm the tortillas, wrap the stack in a clean cotton dish towel or paper towels and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds to 1 minute. (You can also heat them for a few seconds on each side in a dry skillet on medium-high, one at a time, and wrap them in foil until ready to use.)

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Dinner for Everyone: 100 Iconic Dishes Made 3 Ways -- Easy, Vegan or Perfect for Company," by Mark Bittman (Clarkson Potter, 2019).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 6): 500

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 33g 51%

Saturated Fat: 5g 25%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 350mg 15%

Total Carbohydrates: 42g 14%

Dietary Fiber: 10g 40%

Sugar: 7g

Protein: 18g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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