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Vegan Tacos with Mango Salsa + Queso

by Aliza Strock
01.07.2019

Is it just me or are tortillas the most wonderful canvas for tasty plant ingredients? I’ve never met another human being who doesn’t love a good taco. To be honest, since living in Australia it’s been tough to find incredible Mexican food (I’m a bit spoiled being American and having lived in closer proximity to Mexico for most of my life) but I’ve found that when I really want something, I’m determined to make it happen. So when you can’t find good tacos, commit to making them yourself! Feel liberated by the fact that there are endless filling combinations. It should become your life’s mission to discover all possible taco fillings.

But it doesn’t end with what you fill the tacos with, the toppings and garnish play an equal role in making for a scrumptious dish. Two of my favourite toppings are mango salsa and vegan queso, both containing simple ingredients that you can whip up right quick. Truth be told, my vegan queso recipe is super similar to my mac n’ cheese sauce recipe! You can make it a traditional orange queso using pumpkin, or change things up and make it a white queso using potatoes. Both deliciously creamy and packed with nutritional yeast to keep that cheesy flavour flowing.

For these particular tacos, I used Beyond Meat ‘beefy’ crumbles, a soy and gluten free meat alternative, as I happened to have them on hand and wanted to win over my non-vegan family. However, you can definitely use any meat alternative you prefer, whether that’s crumbled tofu, TVP (textured vegetable protein), lentils and walnuts, Veggie Delights mince, Funky Fields mince, etc. Like I said, the possibilities are endless! Tacos are the perfect dish when you have mates or family over – create a taco bar so everyone can build their own pile of yum!

Recipe:

Taco filling

– 3 cups plant based protein of choice
– 1 red capsicum
– 1 yellow capsicum
– 1 orange capsicum
– 1 yellow onion
– 400g black or kidney beans
– 2 tbsp garlic infused or plain olive oil
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– 1 tsp ground cumin
– ½ chipotle powder
– Optional: ½ tsp chilli powder or red pepper flakes if you like a bit of heat
– Soft or hard shell corn or flour (if not GF) tortillas

Mango salsa

–  2 large mangoes
– ½ red onion
– 1 cup chopped coriander
– Juice of 1 lime
– Dash of salt and pepper

Queso

-1 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes (for a nut free alternative use soaked sunflower seeds)
-3 cups cubed and steamed pumpkin or cubed and steamed white potato
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp onion powder
-½ tsp turmeric
-½ tsp smoked paprika
-1 cup nutritional yeast
-½ unsweetened plant milk of choice

Method

1. Soak cashews and peel, cube, and then steam pumpkin or potato.

2. Thinly slice capsicums and onion. Add them to a pan with 1 tbsp oil and sauté until nice and soft with some char marks. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

3. Add plant based protein of choice to the same pan as the capsicum and onions + another tbsp of oil and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add seasonings and continue to cook until tender. Set aside.

4. If using soft tortillas, warm them on the stove for a couple of minutes each side, then place them on a plate and cover with another so they stay warm. If you have a gas stove, you can place them right on top of a low flame for an authentic char! If using hard shell tortillas, you can warm them in the oven for a few minutes and keep them in there until you’re ready to serve.

5. To make the salsa: cut open the mango, and slice diagonally in both directions on each piece. Slice off the skin so you’re left with little mango cubes. Add them to a bowl with finely diced red onion, fresh coriander, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Stir and place in the fridge for 10 minutes so the flavours have a moment to mesh. If mangoes are not in season, you can use cherry or grape tomatoes instead for a more traditional pico de gallo, or pineapple to keep it fruity.

6. Once the cashews are finished soaking and your pumpkin or potato is steamed soft, add the remainder of queso ingredients to a high-powered blender. Blend until smooth, thick and creamy.

7. To build the taco, start with your plant protein, followed by capsicum and onion, sprinkle of beans, a scoop of salsa, then a healthy drizzle of queso. ¡Qué rico! Serve with lime wedges.

Recipe by Aliza Strock / @shaktifresh / www.shaktifresheats.com