Meatless Mondays or Taco Tuesdays: This Vegetarian Dish Covers Both

If there happens to be leftovers of these Meatless Monday tacos (although we doubt there will be), repurpose the ingredients on Taco Tuesday. Photo: Josie’s Organics

Finding a dish that’s flexible, fun to make, packed with nutrients and savored by everyone in the family is like hitting the lottery. For home cooks who also struggle to please finicky eaters, chef Chadwick Boyd’s roasted broccoli, poblano and pinto bean tacos with lime yogurt cream could be the winning ticket.

Roasting the broccoli and peppers mellows the vegetables’ sharp accents, adds a slightly smoky flavor, and renders a meaty texture that should satisfy hardcore carnivores. The subtle sweetness of the cinnamon-scented pinto beans melds nicely with the zesty lime yogurt cream and introduces a new take on familiar flavors.

“Vegetables are very accepting of different flavors,” said Boyd, a food brand consultant who hopes to spread the veggie gospel through “Entertaining With Vegetables,” a cookbook he’s launching next spring. “By roasting and matching them with different ingredients, you can satisfy a variety of people. This is a very satisfying, filling meal that appeals to kids, dads and moms.”

If your children aren’t crazy about vegetables (they’re certainly not alone), let them build their own tacos. Kids who have a hand in preparing their own meals tend to be more adventurous when trying new foods and eating vegetables. All of the ingredients are nutritious, so it’s OK if they go light on one and heavy on another. (Here are some good tips on making many dishes out of one meal from Julia Moskin’s recent story in the New York Times.)

Another strength of this dish: If you’re serving it on Meatless Monday, you can easily repurpose the leftovers with additional ingredients — this can be the payoff to the meat lovers in the family — for a Taco Tuesday feast.

Boyd keeps his sisters — working moms who strive to serve their young children fresh vegetables with each meal – in mind when developing his recipes. That means they have to be easy, fast, and include a limited amount of ingredients. This sriracha ginger cauliflower side he shared with Yahoo Food last week is a good example. Boyd also urges home cooks to follow the whole-vegetable method of using the stalks, stems and leaves whenever possible. It avoids waste and opens up a new world of preparing and presenting vegetable dishes.

“I like to create recipes that speak to women and meet them where they are in their everyday lives,” he said. “The ingredients, preparation and flavors speak to where modern families are today.”

To spice up this dish, he suggests adding a tablespoon of chili powder to the pinto mash. You can also substitute bell peppers for poblanos.

Serves 4-6 

Roasted Broccoli and Peppers:
1 bunch broccoli, washed and bottoms of stalks trimmed (keep any leaves)
2 large poblano peppers, washed, seeded and cut into ½-inch strips
1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon of coarse sea salt or Kosher salt
Zest of 1 lime and juice

One pack of white or yellow soft corn tortillas (use hard shell if you prefer)

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Slice the broccoli and stalks into very thin slices, about ¼-inch wide and 1½-inch long.

In a mixing bowl, add the broccoli, peppers, and onions. Toss with the olive oil and salt until fully coated. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast for 15-20 minutes until the broccoli edges are brown and the peppers are tender with a knife.

While the broccoli and peppers roast, wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and place on the lower rack in oven. Make the pinto mash. When the broccoli and peppers are done, remove from the oven, stir in the lime zest and juice, and keep covered until ready to serve.

Cumin Lime Cream:
1 small container Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon lime juice
½ teaspoon salt

Stir together all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl until fully incorporated. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Pinto Mash:
2 cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed (if vegetarian, get beans without pork fat)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt

Place all the ingredients in a medium pot. Stir together. Heat through on medium heat, about 6-8 minutes. Using a fork, gently mash the beans until broken. Turn heat to low and keep warm until ready to eat.

To assemble tacos, set out the roasting pan of broccoli and peppers along with the tortillas, pinto mash and cumin lime cream on a large cutting board to create a taco bar. Add in small bowls of other favorite toppings, like shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, roasted red peppers or fresh cilantro. Spread a heaping tablespoon of pinto mash on a tortilla and top with a few pieces of broccoli and peppers. Scatter in other toppings as desired. Finish with a dollop of the lime cream.

If you feel like dressing it up, add a tablespoon of crushed coriander seeds to the broccoli and peppers before roasting. Toast the tortillas in a skillet with a little olive oil or directly on a gas burner, using tongs, before serving. Use large whole wheat tortillas and make quesadillas instead of tacos in a hot cast iron pan; add thin pieces of fresh mozzarella just before cooking for some creamy, melted goodness.

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