Latin flavors have been calling my name this week! I think the recent trip to Miami provided some inspiration, but because I’m a California native, tacos, burritos, salsa, beans, avocado are all important parts of my culinary heritage. I grew up eating mostly vegetarian, but when I went vegan, I began to feel less confident ordering Mexican food out, as the possibility of cross contamination with animal products became more important to me. Plus, let’s get real, I gained like 20 pounds of burrito weight at Taqueria Los Pinos in college.
Since then, I’ve learned to infuse the flavors and ingredients I love from taqueria fare (seasoned beans, fresh salsa, OMG avocado forever) while avoiding those that don’t really do it for me (sour cream, traditional tortillas). I concocted these tacos to satisfy simultaneous urges for a powerfully healthy dinner and for some spicy, juicy goodness.
The combination of flavors and textures in the salad is pretty special: the velvety, earthy substance of the black beans and the fresh sweetness of the mango are the two costars of this dish, and the other ingredients play up their fabulous interplay. The cashew butter is pretty key in bringing it all together, and it’s really easy to make at home: you just dump a bunch of raw cashews in your food processor, turn it on, and walk away for 8 minutes, and presto, you’ve got raw cashew butter. (Since I’ve started making it myself, I’m like, why is this stuff so expensive when it’s so so easy to make at home?)
- 4 large leaves romaine lettuce, washed and dried
- 1-2 Tbsp raw cashew butter, divided
- about 3/4 cup black bean mango salad, divided, recipe below
- Avocado slices
- Spread 1/2 – 1 tsp raw cashew butter on each romaine leaf.
- Top each leaf with about 2 Tbsp black bean mango salad, then with one or two avocado slices.
- Squirt a little lime juice over your plate, salt to taste, and enjoy.
Black bean mango salad
- 1 can black beans (1.5 cups), rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup red onion, cut into small dice
- 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cubed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 large or 1 small red bell pepper, seeded, deveined, and diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (use 1/2 if you’re sensitive to heat)
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
You won’t need all the salad for the tacos, but it makes great leftovers! Try it on a tofu scramble for a weekend brunch or atop a pile of greens for a nice weekday lunch. Or just feed it to your friends and let them tell you what a good cook you are.