Three Months of Vegetarian/Vegan Meals, Part Two: Mad About Tortillas

I. Tempeh Bacon Lardon Tostados with Fiery Pecan Salsa

Oven-roasted tortillas serve as a tostado "shell" for cubes of smokey tempeh bacon, shredded oak leaf lettuce, radishes, cilantro and a creamy salsa made from pureed pecans and roasted chiles de Arbol. Intrigued? So stop hunting Pokemons and follow these links to our recipes, all found online in the Cafe Drake HRV archives.
How To Make Baked Tostado Shells
Tempeh Bacon Lardons
Pecan and Chile de Arbol Salsa
(For the salsa, simply replace the sunflower seeds in the posted recipe with pecans.)

II. Black Bean Tostados with Shredded Cabbage and Chipotle Sauce 

Roasted veggies (plum tomatoes, string beans and long green chilies) are all you need to to construct an entire meal around a simple tostado. The slow-simmered black beans may be buried beneath raw cabbage (for textural contrast) and chipotle sauce, but when well-seasoned become the star of the show.

III. Tempeh Chalupas with Roasted Peppers and Tomatillo Salsa

Tempeh is finely chopped and crumbled before being fried with onions, garlic and chili powder.

Thick corn tortillas, found at most Mexican and Latin food markets, are substantial enough to guarantee you won't be hungry after a couple of well-dressed chalupas. Prepping the hefty tortillas is as easy as heating in a dry iron skillet, about 30 seconds per side, until softened and blackened in a few spots only.

After topping with the fried tempeh, the chalupas were draped with a melange of roasted peppers (red and orange bell peppers and sliced poblanos) and finished with tomatillo salsa.
Leftovers are embellished with marinated cucumbers and onions.

IV. Vegging Out: Broccoli Tostados with Tofu Sour Cream, Salsa Verde and Pickled Red Cabbage Salad

Even eaters finicky toward veggies will adore this fresh and healthy take on tostados. The combination of warm, crisp corn tortillas and rich, smooth tofu sour cream is made even more irresistible with a double dose of green salsa and hot sauce.
Our lighter version of tostados was rounded out with a generous helping of hearty borracho beans. Borracho means "drunk" in Spanish, and although you won't catch a buzz from the small amount of beer in our recipe, it does add a depth of flavor to the simmered beans. Here's how we do it at Cafe Drake HRV: Soak 2 cups of dried Santa Maria Pinquito or pinto beans in water to cover for 8 hours. If you can find them, Santa Maria Pinquito beans are best, producing a thick, rich broth while remaining small and tender, but pinto beans are just as traditional and still delicious. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and place in a large saucepan with 4 cups of water, 1 1/2 cups of beer (light or dark, whatever you're drinking), a heaping handful of chopped onions, 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole, 1 large tomato, peeled and chopped, 1 t. each smoked paprika and ancho chile powder, 1 t. of cumin powder, 1 T. olive oil and 2 or 3 pinches of dried epazote. (If you don't have the epazote handy, substitute dried oregano. Or run to the closest Mexican food market and pick some up up already!) Bring everything to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook over low heat until the beans are very tender. This may take awhile, as long as 90 minutes or more, but you only need to stir occasionally. Be sure the liquid is always an inch or so above the beans; if not, add more water or beer as needed. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve in bowls with some of the broth and topped with slivered scallions or chopped onions.

V. Refried Beans Tostados with Creamy Coleslaw and Salsa Cruda

The only accompaniment needed for these "complete meal" tostados was a giant heap of arugula from the Cafe Drake HRV gardens, lightly dressed with a coriander vinaigrette.

Smooth and rich refried pinto beans, creamy and crunchy coleslaw and a refreshing salsa cruda are the perfect Tostado Trifecta! This season is the perfect time to go HERE and grab our recipe for Salsa Cruda. Make it once and watch it become a summer staple in your kitchen as well.

VI. Lentil and Wheat Berry Tacos

Sliced radishes add texture, authenticity and a peppery bite to the gently spiced lentil and wheat berry mixture. Armed with legume and grain leftovers, we stir-fried those cooked ingredients with onions, garlic and chili powder for a few minutes, adding a dollop of tomato paste to slightly bind everything together. Other excellent combinations include brown rice and black beans and quinoa and chickpeas.

The finishing touches were a spoonful of fiery jalapeno relish and dusting of spicy peanut crumble. The crumble is as easy as grinding together roasted peanuts, salt and cayenne pepper.

Leftovers for Lunch, with plenty of jalapeno relish to heat things up. To make our Jalapeno Raw Relish simply combine in a blender and process till smooth: 3-5 large jalapeno peppers (very roughly chopped, seeds and ribs intact), the juice of 1 small lime, 2-3 T. chopped onion, a large dash of salt, 1 T. sugar and a handful of cilantro leaves and thin stems. Taste for seasoning and adjust the saltiness, sweetness or acidity as desired.


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