It is BEAUTIFUL outside today. I'm double checking the calendar, thinking that it must be June and not February. I'm quickly learning that sunshine in the Pacific Northwest is something to be treasured and taken advantage of. The other thing I’m learning? The weather strongly influences our appetites. Sunny days bring you recipes such as this: tacos!
The two of us (along with our brother) grew up eating a lot of Mexican inspired meals: tacos, enchiladas, tamale pie, etc.
We had a lady live with us for a while who taught us how to make sopes (thick masa discs topped with cabbage & shredded pork) that were so delicious. Our grandparents traveled to Mazatlan every winter, and would bring back a bag of dehydrated, orange colored, wheel-shaped crisps that when fried in oil would puff up and become light and airy. Then, they’d receive a generous sprinkle of cinnamon & sugar and practically melt in your mouth when eaten.
At some point in our early upbringing, we also learned that the best Mexican food often comes from a taco truck!
So while there’s no Latino in our blood-lines, we have a deep love of most foods with a Latin influence, and credit this love, to our early exposure to the culture and food.
But let’s get real: who doesn’t like tacos? Latin influences or not.
Because we love to create, and love to up the health-factor in favorite foods, we’ve strayed a little from the traditional with this recipe. There’s still the basic format: seasoned filling and fresh toppings folded into a shell.
However, we’ve made ours meatless- using toothy quinoa instead. We did keep the flavor profile similar to a traditional taco filling, and even meat lovers (Tabitha’s husband) will be satisfied with these tacos.
Our CSA basket this week included Brussels leaves, and after a nibble from one, we determined they’d be the perfect “tortilla.”
Don't worry, you are not alone if you're wondering what in the world Brussels leaves are. I've eaten a lot of veggies in my lifetime, and had never thought to eat the leaves off of a Brussels sprout stalk.
These leaves are sweet and crisp, with just a touch of cruciferous Brussels sprout flavor. They’re not as “green” tasting or tough as say, a collard, which made Tabitha (the raw greens critic) happy.
If you don't have access to these leaves, use any green leaf you've got in the refrigerator. Broccoli, collard, Swiss chard, even a sturdy romaine will all work.
And because any excuse to eat avocado is a good one, these tasty tacos are drizzled with a creamy sauce made from pureed avocado with a touch of lime juice.
Avocado is something I could easily over indulge in, something I could eat right out of its little black case.
A sprinkle of salt and a spoon = avocado heaven.
But this sauce: Oh.my.goodness, you may want to eat this on everything.
Drizzle it on your tacos
Use it as a salad dressing
Top your eggs with it in the morning
With tacos, each part is equally as good as the whole. While we encourage you to make and eat this recipe as written, let us know to what delicious use you put any of the leftover parts (if you actually have leftovers)!
Brussels and Quinoa Tacos - makes 8 "tacos"
1/4 of an onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green chili or 1/2 jalapeno, minced
2 cups quinoa, cooked
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tomato, diced
Avocado Lime Sauce
8 Brussels leaves (any type of green will work, collard, Swiss chard, broccoli...)
1. Place onion, garlic and green chili in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook until soft and beginning to brown.
2. Add quinoa, cumin, chili powder, salt and beans to the onion mixture. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and let the quinoa mixture cook for 5 minutes. You just want to warm everything up and let the flavors meld.
3. Fill each Brussels leaf with some quinoa taco "meat". Top with tomatoes, cilantro and the Avocado Lime Sauce.
Avocado Lime Sauce
1/2 an avocado
Juice of one lime
2-3 tablespoons of water
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place avocado, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of water and garlic into a high speed blender (or whatever you've got). Process until smooth and creamy, adding enough additional water to make the sauce pourable. Season with salt and pepper.
*Thank you to Wild Hare Organic Farm for many of the local & seasonal produce we are able to use in our recipes.