Black Bean Veggie Taco Recipe

Ground turkey tacos are a healthy alternative to ones made with ground beef, but with the report released this week about contaminated turkey, I decided to go vegetarian for this Cinco De Mayo! I have a plant-based vegetarian diet most of the time that includes eggs and fish, but tend to eat pasture-raised turkey or chicken on occasion a couple of times a month. In addition to the ground turkey news, I just covered food safety and technology in my classes at Bucks (talking about all the nasty bacteria, hormones, etc in animals and showing videos about their treatment), which means I will have no desire to consume any sort of meat for a while!

So here we go with some healthy, delicious, spicy-but-not-too-much, black bean and veggie tacos! My husband even made a mistake when having them for dinner and said “the seasoning on the meat is really flavorful”. He loves plant-based meals 🙂

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Because I was having some of the jalapeno cornbread I had just made, I opted for lettuce wraps instead of tortillas. Tim had them in my homemade garlic chili tortillas which added even more amazing flavor. You can also make a taco salad with some baked chips and top the salad, lettuce wrap, classic taco (or however you eat this!) with some guacamole for healthy fat and even more flavor. If you consume dairy, try greek yogurt in place of your sour cream. If you love Mexican food all year and not just on Cinco De Mayo like me, head to my Pinterest page for recipes that build a “Healthier Fiesta” including homemade tortillas, salsa and margaritas!

Do you love Mexican food too? Please comment and share your favorite recipes – I love trying new things!

Black Bean Veggie Tacos
(GF, V, DF)

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Ingredients
:

  • 2 Cups cooked from dry* or 1 can of black beans
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 medium-large onion, diced
  • 2 large whole carrots, shredded
  • 1 15 ounce can organic diced tomatoes with green chiles
    or 15 oz can diced tomatoes + 2 oz canned green chiles
  • 1 Cup packed fresh chopped kale or 1 Cup frozen spinach
  • Taco Seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, paprika, cumin, black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon each oregano, cayenne, salt

*Prepare with water & a dash of salt as indicated on package. They come out the most tender if you cook a full 1 1/2 hours but I recommend at least 45 min simmer and let sit an hour covered.

Directions

  • Prep ingredients as listed above.
  • Make your taco seasoning by mixing all the spices together.
  • Place a large saucepan over low-medium heat and add the oil
  • Add the garlic and hot peppers and stir for 1-2 minutes (do not let garlic turn brown).
  • Add the onions and shredded carrots, stir and cover for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the beans and tomatoes and stir. Add all of the taco seasoning and stir well.
  • Cover and let simmer about 5 minutes.
  • Add kale and stir until wilted or thawed. Turn off the heat and serve!
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Real Ingredients with Real Health Benefits:

Black Beans are a great source of mono-unsaturated fat, potassium, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, iron, copper, magnesium & manganese. Black beans and kidney beans also provide calcium. Phytochemicals include lutein, epicatechin, quercetin and proanthocyanidin.

Onions & garlic are part of the same family, providing the phytochemicals allicin and sulfides which are linked to improved immunity and respiratory health. Onions also provide Vitamins C, B6 and folate.

Carrots are most known for the role in eye health. This is because carrots have a high content of Vitamin A and other phytochemical carotenoids which not only support your eyes but also skin, hair and antioxidant systems. Carrots are also high in Vitamins C & K and the mineral potassium. Antioxidants work to keep your heart healthy and potassium is important for fluid balance and plays a role in maintaining normal blood pressure. Celery contains many of the same nutrients.

Even though “superfood” has no definition, I refer to kale one. One serving gives you more than your daily need of Vitamins A, C and K. It is also a known vegetarian source of calcium and iron as well as magnesium and copper. In terms of phytochemicals, kale provides about 40 flavonoids which are great antioxidants.

Tomatoes pack in lots of Vitamins A, C, and the important fluid balance mineral Potassium. They are well known in terms of phytochemical content for their lycopene which is known for reducing risk of prostate cancer. This was one of the first phytochemicals that really made a name for itself. It is often forgetten that tomatoes also provide other carotenoids and flavonoids such as quercitin.

Jalapeno peppers and green chiles contain capsaicin which has long been used for decreasing joint pain and inflammation topically but in the body may aid in appetite control, metabolism and intestinal inflammation. Oh and you aren’t the only one who gets a runny nose from spicy food – these peppers can all help clear your sinuses!

Canola Oil is my go to when I am cooking. While olive oil has great flavor and a good fat profile, canola oil actually has much more omega-3 than olive oil and even less saturated fat. I don’t eat animal products on a daily basis and my fish consumption is low, so using canola oil in cooking helps me meet my daily needs of omega 3. Since most canola oil in stores is genetically modified, choose an organic brand – it will still be cheaper than conventional olive oil.

Cayenne & chili powder all contain capsaicin. Capsaicin has long been used for decreasing joint pain and inflammation topically but in the body may aid in appetite control, metabolism and intestinal inflammation. Oh and you aren’t the only one who gets a runny nose from spicy food – these peppers can all help clear your sinuses!

Paprika is one of my favorite tasting spices and it actually contains a decent amount of Vitamins A, E, K, B6 ans riboflavin as well as some potassium. While there are many varieties of Paprika, they all have similar nutrition benefits and the generic one you see at the store is just fine! It’s phytochemical benefits are similar to cayenne and chili powder due to the capsicum.

Oregano actually contains manganese, iron and Vitamins A & K. It can also benefit your immune system as its phytochemicals like thymol are anti-bacterial.

While cumin does contain manganese, magnesium, calcium and especially iron, you generally do not get high amounts of those minerals since it is used in such small amounts in recipes. We do know however that cumin is a potent antioxidant containing phenolic acids and carotenoids.

Easy Homemade Guacamole Recipe

molcajete & ingredients

A couple of years ago, Tim and I would buy the Trader Joe’s packaged guacamole because it seemed easier than making our own. Well, being the spice loving foodies that we are we started to add chopped jalapeno because the store bought stuff just wasn’t enough. Then we thought it needed more garlic…then tomato…and then cilantro… and then we realized it was silly to not make the whole recipe fresh and from scratch!
Making guacamole is SO simple and should take no longer than 5-7 minutes. Avocados are very nutrient dense and are so delicious I end up adding guacamole or the avocado itself to meals close to 5 times a week. However, this recipe tastes great after it freezes and thaws too so, if you won’t eat it as frequently or don’t have enough people living with you, save half for next week.
We make guacamole so frequently and have become such food snobs that we just had to add the Crate & Barrel molcajete pictured above to our wedding registry last year. In addition to just looking really cool, it does make mashing all the ingredients together easier than doing so with just a fork.

Using avocados for the first time can be intimidating if you don’t know what to look for and when to use them. The California Avocado Board has a page on how to select and ripen your avocados here.

Spicy Guacamole


Simple Homemade Guacamole
(GF, V, DF)

Ingredients :

2 avocados
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 – 1/4 cup onion (I use red usually), minced
2 jalapenos, minced (only use 1 if you aren’t a huge fan of heat!)
1/4-1/2 medium tomato, diced very small (about 1/4 cup)
1-2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro**
2 dashes of cumin & garlic powder
Fresh ground black pepper & sea salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime wedge

molcajete guac ingredients

*If not purchasing organic for these items, at least choose Non-GMO Project Verified brands to ensure your food is free of genetic engineering.

Directions:
-Cut & peel the avocados and add to a medium sized bowl or molcajete. When not using the molcajete I generally make the guac in a large pyrex so I don’t have to transfer it for storage. Also via California Avocado, here are directions and even a video on how to cut & peel your avocado.
-Add the jalapeno, garlic, onion and tomato (once minced/diced) to the same bowl. Mash with a fork or even a muddler until the avocado is mashed and the ingredients are well distributed.
guac ingredients chopped

-Add the dried spices, cilantro and lime juice, and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until all are well incorporated.

guacamole

Serving Options:

-Use as a dip with some Trader Joe’s “reduced guilt” baked tortilla chips, chopped bell peppers, or jicama.

-Use as a condiment for burgers, sandwiches and wraps.

-Top chili, taco’s or even chunky black bean soups with a couple of tablespoons for added flavor & nutrition.

Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:

Yes, avocados are technically high in fat. However, they contain mostly the healthy mono-unsaturated fat that your body needs for heart health, brain function, joint protection and immune function. Avocados are also a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins E, C, and K, as well as the B-vitamins folate and B6. Another compound this fruit gives us is beta-sitosterol. Just like we get cholesterol from animals, we can get plant sterols from certain plants. Sterols like beta-sitosterol help block cholesterol absorption in the small intestine, enhancing heart health. The phytochemicals avocados are highest in are the carotenoids lutein + zeaxanthin which are associated with eye health, immune and antioxidant function.

Onions & garlic are part of the same family, providing the phytochemicals allicin and sulfides which are linked to improved immunity and respiratory health. Onions also provide Vitamins C, B6 and folate.

Tomatoes pack in lots of Vitamins A, C, and the important fluid balance mineral Potassium. They are well known in terms of phytochemical content for their lycopene which is known for reducing risk of prostate cancer. This was one of the first phytochemicals that really made a name for itself. It is often forgetten that tomatoes also provide other carotenoids and flavonoids such as quercitin.

Jalapeno peppers contain capsaicin which has long been used for decreasing joint pain and inflammation topically but in the body may aid in appetite control, metabolism and intestinal inflammation. Oh and you aren’t the only one who gets a runny nose from spicy food – these peppers can all help clear your sinuses!

Cilantro may be an herb but herbs have fantastic nutrient profiles too. Cilantro provides vitamins A & K and many antioxidants, especially quercitin. Quercitin is a flavonoid linked to respiratory (great for asthmatics and athletes) and heart health.

While cumin does contain manganese, magnesium, calcium and especially iron, you generally do not get high amounts of those minerals since it is used in such small amounts in recipes. We do know however that cumin is a potent antioxidant containing phenolic acids and carotenoids.