Tag Archives: onions

Naked Vegan Tacos with Corn Relish and Cilantro-Lime Slaw

Do not make naked vegan tacos while naked.

Yes, I know it’d be clever. I know it’d be a fun story to tell your friends (who would then promptly decline all future dinner invitations). But if one splatter of hot oil goes awry, all amusement you had hoped to gain from the experience will promptly disintegrate (along with patches of your skin, I’m just sayin’).


Make me with clothes on, please.

Also, do not assume Naked Vegan Tacos are made specifically for naked vegans. You may certainly eat these if you are a naked vegan, but clothed vegans are also welcome to partake. Even you omnivorous folks (clothed or otherwise) can enjoy this recipe if you’re so inclined.

This is an equal opportunity blog, y’all.

So why are Naked Vegan Tacos called Naked Vegan Tacos? ‘Cause they’re not wearing their taco shells! All the lovely stuffins of a vegan taco are included, but engineered for your fork instead of your hands.


Exposed.

This quick dinner was a take on sweet potato and black bean tacos, a dish I’ve had on my to-make list forever. Just as I expected, the sweetness of the roasted sweet potatoes was fantastic with the heat and cumin in the black beans. The cilantro-lime slaw added acid and crunch. The corn relish — boasting bright corn, tomatoes, and creamy hunks of avocado — cooled things off.

This huge, cheap, flavorful meal was so satisfying; I ate it over the course of 4 days and loved every bite, even though the avocados were oxidizing (i.e. turning all brown and creepy) after the first day.


Not vegan anymore.

Since it’s full of veggies, only 451 calories per serving, and includes components to make up complete proteins, I’m also going to decree that this meal is healthy (though I’m no expert). Serve it atop your favorite grain for an even more filling dinner. Heck, you could even go crazy and serve the tacos in flippin’ taco shells. You know, if you’re that kind of person.

What’s your favorite fresh vegetable?

Naked Vegan Tacos with Corn Relish and Cilantro-Lime Slaw



Recipe by: Adapted from Joy the Baker and Paula Deen
Yields: 4 servings

The focus of this meal is flavor. Roasted sweet potatoes sweeten, black beans with cumin bring the heat, cilantro-lime slaw adds crunch and acid, and a bright corn relish with creamy avocado and juicy tomatoes lends freshness. Filling my plate with all of these lovely bits and pieces and then spending my entire dinner creating various perfect “bites” was so satisfying — especially since it was also healthy.

Sweet Potatoes Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and red chili flakes to taste
juice of 1 lime

Cilanto-Lime Slaw Ingredients:
2 heaping cups finely shredded cabbage
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onions
2 heaping tablespoons chopped cilantro
juice of 2 limes
salt and red chili flakes to taste

Black Beans Ingredients:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lime

Corn Relish Ingredients:
2 cups cooked corn, fresh or frozen
1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 teaspoon finely diced jalapeno (or to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Optional Extras:
Fried or poached egg (obviously this makes it un-vegan)
salsa, fat free sour cream, green onions, fresh cilantro, limes

Directions:
Make sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, toss sweet potato cubes with oil, salt, chili flakes, and lime juice. Spread out on a baking sheet. Roast 40-45 minutes (stirring/flipping gently a couple of times during the process) or until tender and brown. Remove the potatoes from the oven and set aside.

Make Cilanto-Lime Slaw: While the potatoes are roasting, place shredded cabbage, onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and chili flakes in a bowl. Toss them together and set aside to let the cabbage soften.

Make Black Beans: Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onions and cook them for a few minutes until they’re soft and translucent. Add the cumin and garlic and toast these for a few seconds until fragrant. Finally, add the beans and lime juice and cook until they’re heated through.

Make the corn relish: Mix the corn, avocado, tomatoes, jalapenos, and onion in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl. Pour it over the corn mixture and gently toss.

Assemble: Serve your naked tacos by heaping sweet potatoes and black beans on a place and garnishing with a big spoonful of cilantro-lime slaw and corn relish. Accompany your meal with a dollop of sour cream, fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, and salsa. If you fancy some added protein and aren’t vegan, you can top with a poached or over-easy fried egg.

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World’s Best Grilled Cheese (Sharp Cheddar & Caramelized Onions on Beer Bread)

You’ve been shipwrecked on a desserted — ahem, I mean deserted — island. Your food options are limited to a sandwich (minus the “wich” part) and a very peevish looking saltwater crocodile who doesn’t seem to want you gnawing on him. After awhile your beard begins to rival that of Tom Hanks’s in Castaway, only there’s no Wilson to keep you company.

You’re hungry. You’re alone.

You’re gonna die.

Okay, sorry; that was an unpleasant beginning for a post, wasn’t it? And there’s that big knife up there underscoring the point.

I promise it gets better. Well, not too much better — you’re still gonna die. But something amazing happens first!

One day you’re wasting away on the beach entertaining fond memories of pizza while chewing on a piece of driftwood. Suddenly, a tiny Tiki Fairy appears. You know this is probably a brief hallucination indicating that an agonizing death is imminent, but you indulge your brain and greet her.

What do you know, she has a surprise for you! Drifters who find themselves starving to death on her island get to choose one last meal. Filet mignon? Truffle burger? Mom’s macaroni and cheese? You name it, you get it.

Ah, the question! It’s been posed to everyone from 50 famous chefs to death row inmates: what would you want your last meal to be?

Photographer Melanie Dunea is the one who had the brilliant idea to email 50 great chefs this question and compile their responses in her book, My Last Supper. Some of the chefs go fancy: caviar and spit-roasted pigs would be in Gary Danko’s final spread. Others prefer simple, comforting food from their childhood: Marcus Samuelsson wants gravlax with a dill mustard sauce in his last hours.

Funnily enough, the death row inmates seem to divide along similar lines. There are cost (and other) limitations to ensure the inmates’ meals don’t become extravagant, but some still think big! One, for instance, asks for two steaks, two burgers, a sliced turkey breast, bacon, two baked potatoes, one chef’s salad, one ear of corn, one pint of ice cream, and four sodas. Others cling to small pleasures; one asks only for cool whip and cherries.

Personally, I’m torn. I want comfort food. I want my mom’s chocolate sheet cake, macaroni and cheese, and yeast rolls for sure. I want a pimiento cheese sandwich on white bread, Dad’s chicken and dumplings, and at least a dozen Coke Zeros.

But I also want luxury! I could go for some fresh lobster tail and fried softshell crab. I want a thick Wagyu rib eye. I want this cheeseburger. I want this ice cream sundae.

Can I also have some Chinese pork buns?

Oh, and one more thing. A grilled cheese sandwich wouldn’t ordinarily make my list, but this isn’t your average grilled cheese — it’s the World’s Best Grilled Cheese.

In fact, Sommer from Mama With Flavor (have you seen her blog? hilarious.) started all of my “last meal” daydreams when she responded to my tweet about this sandwich. She proclaimed it “last meal worthy.” And worthy it is: sharp cheddar cheese and sweet caramelized onions are piled high and toasted between two slabs of buttery, freshly baked beer bread.

Trust me, this sandwich would be a far better companion on your deserted island than any anthropomorphized volleyball. With the very first bite I took, I knew I’d struck genius. Lunch (or dinner, or midnight snack, or breakfast, or even dessert) just doesn’t get much better than this. And with a recipe for fresh bread that consists of only four ingredients, it doesn’t get much simpler than this either.

You know what I have to ask for my parting question — and I can’t wait to read your answers! What would your last meal be?

Sharp Cheddar, Caramelized Onions, and Beer Bread Grilled Cheese


Recipe by: Adapted from Catherine Bienik (beer bread) and Simply Recipes (caramelized onions)
Yields: one loaf of beer bread (up to about 4-5 sandwiches)

Bread Ingredients:
3 cups self-rising flour
scant 1/2 cup sugar
12 ounces beer (I used Guinness)*
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Caramelized Onion Ingredients:
4 onions, sliced thinly
salt to taste
olive oil

Other Sandwich Ingredients:
about two tablespoon of butter per sandwich desired
sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:
Make bread: Preheat oven to 375. Grease a loaf pan or line it with greased parchment paper. Mix flour, sugar, and beer until combined and pour batter into pan. Cook for 40-45 minutes, or until top is well browned and loaf feels firm (you can also stick a toothpick in; if it comes out clean, the loaf is ready). When the loaf is close to done, brush the top thoroughly with melted butter and let the loaf bake for 3 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool for about 20 minutes before removing it from the pan and cooling completely.

While bread is baking and cooling, caramelize onions: Put a few tablespoons of olive oil into a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is translucent and shimmering, add onions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Add salt to taste and continue to cook, stirring every few minutes, for 30 minutes to an hour. The goal is to let the onions sit long enough that they start to cook down and caramelize, but not to let them burn. If they seem to be sticking or burning at any time, you can do any of the following: add some more oil to the pan, turn down the heat slightly, or add some water to the pan. Once the onions are a rich brown, remove them to a container to cool slightly before use. Store extra onions in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Assemble your sandwich: Once the bread has cooled, use a serrated knife to cut it into slices. In a skillet over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter. Place a slide of bread into the skillet and pile on sliced cheese and caramelized onions (note: you can brush the underside of the bread all over with melted butter first if you want to ensure even browning). Place another slice of bread on top.

Cook until the bottom slice of bread is well toasted (peek every now and then by lifting a corner) and then gently flip, using your hand to brace the top slice of bread as you do so. You can add more butter if your skillet looks dry, lifting the sandwich to allow the butter to run underneath. When both sides are golden and toasted, remove sandwich to a serving plate and microwave for 30 seconds to insure melty cheese. Repeat these steps to make as many other sandwiches as you want! Serve immediately.

*NOTE: I don’t drink, so I wasn’t sure what sort of beer to use. This recommendation from a friend was outstanding, though! For information about how much of the alcohol cooks out of a given dish, please see this chart. In this particular recipe for beer bread, only about 30% of the alcohol remains in the entire loaf after cooking.

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