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Ideas for interesting vegetarian taco fillings?

I've been invited to a taco party and I volunteered to bring a vegetarian taco filling. What would be something great that's not just refried beans? I live near enough to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that I should have access to interesting ingredients. Thanks, hounds!

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  1. -mushrooms, peppers, onions, and zucchini, cut into strips, prepared as fajitas (cumin, lime/OJ, cayenne, garlic, splash of soy)
    -marinated portabella mushrooms
    -something with seitan or smoked tofu?
    -omelet strips?
    -crispy-fried polenta strips
    -veggie crumbles with taco seasoning
    -firm tofu pressed and drained, spiced and breaded in panko, as per this recipe (but cut into strips): http://culinspiration.wordpress.com/2...

    1. - sauteed corn, black beans, red onion, diced zucchini & bell pepper, topped w/queso fresco or cotija & a squeeze of lime
      - mashed butternut squash with chipotle and green onion, topped w/cheddar and/or jack & fresh cilantro
      - soy- or wheat-based veggie crumbles sauteed with tomato sauce, onion and chopped sun-dried tomato
      - you could also get creative with a masa-based mixture similar to tamale filling

      1. In no particular order or combination:

        Avocados, cooked whole black beans, spanish rice
        grilled corn, cheeses, onions, mango, tomatoes...you get the picture!

        1. chilli (rice and beans together, topped with cilantro goes so well...) if you make onion ceviche with tomatoes and serve it with queso fresco.. really good =)

          1. - roasted tomatillos with swiss chard sauteed with onion, queso fresco (and boiled potatoes)
            - sauteed mushrooms with garlic, cilantro, and paste made from driet chiles that are toasted and soaked in hot water, roasted tomato
            - roasted garlic, roasted poblano peppers, fresh ricotta cheese, avocado, and cilantro

            1. I've been to the interior of Mexico and they putjust about anything in tacos, my favorite non meat were breaded/fried zuchini, homefried style potatos with green chilis & onion. Also you can top them with finely shredded cabbage or a half and half mixture of chopped green onion & cilantro instead of the standard lettuce all the time.

              1. How about a a chili sauced TVP...textured vegetable protein......it has the same texture of ground meat. I'm not a vegetarian, but I've had it in dishes and it fooled me.

                1. I make these lentil tacos for my non-vegetarian family (complete carnivores, in fact) all the time - they're awesome - just use vegetable stock and you should be all good.


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: shanagain

                    That lentil taco recipe is very good as is this one:
                    Crispy Black Bean Tacos With Feta & Cabbage Slaw

                      1. re: whitneybee

                        My whole family loves those lentil tacos. I use the lentil filling in enchiladas, too. Great, easy and fast weeknight meal.

                    1. Sauteed poblano chili, onion and corn mixed with mashed potatoes. Could add some chipotle chili with a bit of the marinade from the can for a smoky flavor and extra heat.

                      1. Pan cook cubes of sweet potato, shredded chard, chopped onions, poblano chiles and chopped garlic, sprinkle with cumin & ancho chile powder; topped with a tomatillo & roasted lime salsa & cotija or queso fresco cheese..delicious & pretty

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Cherylptw

                          i was going to suggest a sweet potato base as well, except with onion, black beans, roasted peppers, cilantro, curry powder, jack and cotija cheeses.

                        2. I would steer away from these self conscious Americanized uber-veggie concoctions and simply go with classic Mexican fillings that happen to be all vegetable: rajas (poblano chili strips sauteed with onions and crema); mushrooms; squash blossom and cheese (though not very seasonal); potato and chili (or make it with soy chorizo).

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Junoesq

                            I like that idea the best.

                            If you want more suggestions check out this menu from a non-trad. taco place that has qutie a few vegetatian tacos.


                            1. re: RetiredChef

                              Huitlacoche is a great and authentic veggie filling for Mexican foods. I don't know if they'll have it fresh in NY but the canned is pretty good.

                              1. re: j mather

                                After people have eaten some and ask what is this? I love saying

                                “Raven's Excrement.”

                                They usually get a strange but shocked look on their face so I quickly say:

                                “It’s not really excrement that’s just it’s name”

                                Look of relief and usually a “ohhhhh”

                                I then say “it’s corn smut”

                                Another bewildered but decidedly unhappy look and then I laugh and say:

                                “In reality it’s Mexican truffles” and leave it at that.

                                1. re: RetiredChef

                                  JaJa, Thanks for the laugh! I love huitlacoche. I think it is kind of a luxury to put in tacos, but I think of tacos as a quick snack, not a meal. Years ago, I was working in a restaurant kitchen in California and when the corn came in, a few ears had the smut on them. Everybody, including the chef, went eeuw, and were going to throw them out. I said No, Please, that's huitlacoche! Let me take them home. The whole staff thought I would be in the hosp the next day, but I cooked them and brought a little back to the restaurant. The chef was impressed. Here in Mazatlán they are on a number of menus. Stuffed into crepes with a light cream sauce is my favorite.

                                  1. re: RetiredChef

                                    It reminds me of when I was young and we had a garden with corn. When we found corn ears with the smut, our mother cooked them for us and we thought she was trying to poison us, at least until we tried the huitlacoche. I have loved it ever since.

                                  2. re: j mather

                                    Second huitlacoche. Have eaten and enjoyed that in the past in an enchilada. Definitely interesting and different!

                                    And another second to the roasted vegetable taco idea. I have done that in the past with onions, peppers, mushrooms (I think tomato, too!), drizzled in olive oil and tossed with chili powder in the oven. I love the sweetness you get from roasting the veggies.

                              2. - Simple Sauteed Vegetables (zucchini, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc)
                                - Cheese
                                - If you have a Trader Joes, my vegetarian roommate and I (non-vegetarian) both like the soy chorizo for tacos
                                - Corn, although it's pretty out of season
                                - Avacado - either plain and sliced, or as guacamole

                                1. These are all fantastic suggestions, thank you so much! I think I am going to go with a sweet potato/black bean/chipotle combination, although I am feeling very swayed by the potato/soy chorizo idea. However, I have about 30 sweet potatoes sitting in my house and this would be a great way to deal with them. I have some dark kale that i might shred and add in as well. If it were summer I would no question go with the squash blossoms. Also, I do love me some canned huitlacoche - maybe next time.

                                  Thanks again for the amazing responses!

                                  1. Made some flour tortillas last night and then filled them with a spoonful of black beans, along with some sliced sweet potatoes and red potatoes, onions and peppers I cooked. Then I thinly shredded some zucchini and fried that up and added that to the top. My husband said they were the best tortillas he'd ever eaten. Loved all the great ideas here. Adding sweet potatoes made the tortillas terrific!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: mommainternet

                                      Pretty close to my night tonight ;) Made some flour tortillas... cooked some onions and garlic, added some diced almost cooked sweet potatoes (with a little veggie broth), then instead of black beans tonight (only because i had to use it up...) added some cooked ground turkey. ground together a chipotle in adobo sauce, some adobo sauce, a little lime juice and honey. added that and let it simmer while i cooked the tortillas. served tortillas with the sweet potato mixture, jalapeño slices and queso fresco... no reports from the gallery yet.

                                      1. re: Emme

                                        Since the thread is about vegetarian fillings i assume you mean you used "tofurkey"..... ;) ?

                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                          i noted that i normally use black beans not turkey... vegetarian.

                                    2. I know this taco party has come and gone but as one of the best veggie taco chicks in the world, I have to put my two cents in..
                                      Veggie crumbles..garlic and jalapeños sautéed.
                                      Fry up some flour and corn tortillas.
                                      Sliced avocados
                                      Sharp cheese or vegan cheese
                                      Red onions
                                      Radishes sliced up and whole with some green onions
                                      Heirloom tomt's halved
                                      Sour cream
                                      Good spicy hot sauce

                                      Beyond delicious..

                                      I also make black bean, garlic, jalapeño enchiladas with El Pato enchi sauce and smothered in cheese.
                                      Topped with sour cream and avocados.. Serve with Spanish rice.

                                      1. eggplant is a chameleon, and a lovely, meaty one at that.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          Great idea; I'm going to have to try that....

                                        2. Will have to try the eggplant next time along with some tomatoes and maybe a white sauce with a little bit of garlic. Thanks!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: mommainternet

                                            you can toss the cubed, peeled (though you don't have to peel) eggplant in a little olive oil and then in a taco seasoning or rub of your desire, then roast.

                                            definitely include cumin and garlic in the seasoning! also ground coriander seed and…if you like spicy…some ground chile peppers or red pepper flakes.

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              I like all those suggestions, didn't think about the coriander seed will have to try that one time, too.

                                          2. Whatever Jack in the Box uses.


                                            1. I cook Indian food, and for a different twist with leftovers, I make tostadas with leftover Chana Masala (spiced garbanzo beans) and Rajma (kidney beans). Just mash them slightly with the back of your spoon, and put on your tostada shell. Top with your usual toppings (lettuce, salsa, etc). The Indian spices go really well with the flavors. :)

                                              1. black beans, steamed sweet potatoes or winter squash, roasted poblanos, sautéed sweet onion petals, cumin, queso fresco or goat cheese, walnuts or pepitas, lime, cilantro.

                                                1. i made a veggie combo a couple of days ago that would be good as a taco filling: fresh corn kernels cut off the cob, yellow bell pepper, green onion, and eggplant all sauteed in butter with salt and some trader joe's 21 seasoning salute. (i had been reminded of doing something like this because of the confetti corn dish). http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/co...

                                                  i made an omelet filling with the leftovers.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    That sounds fab sista!
                                                    I'd walk the plank for those tacos. .

                                                    I made my world famous Boca veggie crumble tacos last night with sliced avocado, xsharp cheese, heirloom tomt's, halved, shredded romaine lettuce, red onions and a dollop of daisy..of course, some super hot kick ass salsa..

                                                    Fried up lightly the corn and flour tortillas and had the Champagne of Beers, Miller High Life and watched the World Series...Sublime

                                                  2. When it comes to veg tacos, I like to keep it simple and traditional. I like "tacos de papas" or potatoe tacos. I make the potatoes in advance (a day or two)... you can use whatever you want (I like redskin potatoes). Place in large pan with some chopped onions, little garlic, and some chili pepper (your choice... I like pablano or jalopeno). Cover with just enough water to cover and boil.. let water eventually evaporate out as it cooks and then do a rough mash. Place in refrigerator to set. Take corn tortillas and put the potatoe mixture in the taco and fry in pan with some oil (both sides). Now you can then eat like this with a little bit of salsa (most traditional). I like to take up a notch. So, once they come out of the grill pan I toss the tacos with contija cheese and seasoning (your choice, you can even use Lawry's if you want or some spicy seasoning). Let them cool slightly. I open the tacos as much as I can and stick some peppered purple cabbage, some chopped tomatoes and some authentic fresh salsa and top it off with a another sprinkling of grated contija seca.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. Interesting ideas offered, but I like mine best; For a meat substitute, I always use "Gardein" either ground or in strips, and either the simulated Chicken version or the simulated beef version. Although sometimes I use the Indian Cheese known as "Paneer" as the Umami substancial item. I chop fresh Garlic & ground fresh Ginger into sizzling Olive Oil along with possibly Garam Masala, fresh Cumin Seeds, and variously either Tandoori Powder, Sumac, or Sweet Hungarian Paprika. Sometimes I also sizzle a Bay Leaf. In this I cook yellow onions until near caramelized and some sliced red bell peppers. I then put in the Gardein or Paneer & some sweet corn. Sometimes I will add a little Marsala or Voignier to deglaze the pan, and finally I will add about a tablespoon of Major Grey Chutney. I enjoy the mixture most of all in corn Tortillas with some Mango Salsa & either grated White Cheddar or grated Whole Milk Mozzarella. MY only regret ever is that Corn Tortillas are only sold commercially in a relatively small size. Enjoy! JET

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Jet

                                                        Wow, that's an interesting hodge-podge of ingredients!