One of my favorite go-to and easy meals is tacos. I always keep some corn tortillas in the freezer for those nights when I really don’t want to think about making a big meal. I generally use a combination of leftovers and other items in my fridge. I also prefer corn tortillas over wheat, because they are more flavorful authentic.
Now, Jason Wyrick’s Vegan Tacos* cookbook has helped me take tacos to a whole new level. This book offers truly authentic and inspired recipes and techniques, vegan-style. Want to learn how to make your own tortillas from scratch? Jason’s got that covered. Want bolder, richer flavors and textures in your taco filling and toppings? Jason’s got that covered. Want amazing, vegan, Mexican taqueria-style tacos? Get this book.
What I liked most about this cookbook
The book starts out with a little history the usual breakout of basic ingredient, tools and techniques for making the recipes contained in it. Then Jason goes into different styles of tortillas, how to make them, flavored tortillas and pairing them with taco recipes (fillings and toppings) in the book.
At first, the recipes seem complicated, because they’re broken out in Fillings, Tortillas and Toppings, but once you get cooking everything comes together rather quickly and the end result is delicious.
I tried the Hominy and Seitan Tacos in Roasted Garlic Cascabel Sauce (pictured to the left) and the Pineapple and Banana Dessert Taco. I couldn’t find hominy at any of my local markets so I used chickpeas instead. They turned out soulful, paraphrasing Jason from his interview below, but I know they’re going to be even better with hominy (will continue my search). The dessert taco was scrumptious, too. We didn’t have any type of pineapple so I just used bananas and a sprinkling of shredded coconut. Food from the heavens!
I only tried the two recipes so far and I haven’t made my own tortillas yet (it’s on my to-do list for this winter), but I know I’ll be using recipes from this book on a regular basis. Just flipping through it and reading the recipe titles and ingredients makes my mouth water.
Jason also adds some history and tips throughout the book that added some bonus experience points to my culinary skills. I especially love that you can make flavored tortillas that you can pair with specific fillings. This never occurred to me and has strengthened my love of tacos. This book has unlocked new culinary experience levels for me. Tacos will never be the same in our home. Thank you, Jason!
BBQ Sweet Potato and Chile Peanut Tacos
“I lived in Fort Worth, Texas for eleven years, and while I lived there, I had some of the best BBQ I’ve ever eaten. This taco is an ode to my second home. It’s basically a BBQ sandwich served inside a flour tortilla. It’s messy, a bit decadent, but oh-so-tasty. If you want to up the heat level, add some minced serrano chiles to the top.”
Makes 12 Tacos
Heat Level: 4
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4 inch strips
2 small sweet potatoes, cut into 2 x 1/2-inch strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups Texas-style BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
4 cloves garlic
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded cabbage
The Chile Peanuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped, roasted salted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon ancho powder or chili powder
12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
Heat the oil in a skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until well browned, about 10 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and enough water to come up about 1/2 inch up the pan. Cook the sweet potatoes until they are soft, about 8 minutes. You will need to replenish the water as it cooks down. Season with the salt and lower the heat to medium.
In a bowl, stir together the BBQ sauce and peanut butter, then stir the sauce mixture into the pan with the sweet potatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then set it aside.
In a bowl, combine the vegan mayo, garlic, lime juice, and salt. Toss the cabbage with this mix and set it aside.
In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the peanuts and sauté for about 2 minutes, slowly stirring them.
Remove the pan from the heat and immediately season the peanuts with the chipotle and ancho powder.
Warm the tortilla. Fill them with the BBQ sweet potatoes and onions, then the slaw, and top with chile peanuts.
From Vegan Tacos by Jason Wyrick. ©2014 Jason Wyrick. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.
WHY ARE YOU VEGAN?
Becoming vegan was a journey I never expected to take. Like many people, I loved fast food, cheese, and all the other unhealthy foods so readily available. However, those foods led me to becoming diabetic in my mid twenties and reaching a weight of 330 pounds. I still loved food, but I needed to find another, healthier way to enjoy it. That’s when I went vegan. Along the way, I learned about the horrific abuses of factory farming and its detrimental effect upon the environment. Being vegan is one of the few opportunities we have to do something meaningful for ourselves and meaningful for others. How could I not take it?
HOW DID YOU CURE YOUR DIABETES?
In 2001, I went vegan after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes while in the emergency room of an Austin, TX hospital. I went vegan the next day and within eight months, I completely reversed my diabetes. I also lost over 100 pounds over the course of two years. During that time, I learned something very important. If the food sucks, no one wants to eat it. It was imperative that I learn how to make vegan meals that exceeded what I was making prior to being vegan. Once I did that, I knew I had to become a vegan chef so I could help other people do the same thing.
WHAT ARE YOU FAVORITE TACOS?
That is a difficult question to answer! There is so much diversity amongst tacos that it changes from day to day. If I want something quick, I usually make Tacos Rapidos with beans, spicy peanuts, and whatever salsa I have on hand. If I’m in the mood for something more soulful, I light my grill and make Tacos al Pastor or tacos with a Yucatecan Barbacoa and serve them with a fine shot of organic mezcal.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST TACO-MAKING TIP?
Make the taco that is the most fun for you. It’s about the entire cooking experience, not just the end product. If that means making a 5 minute taco with canned beans, store-bought tortillas, and jarred salsa will give you the best overall experience, do that. If you’re like me and you enjoy the process of making your own tortillas and assembling your components from scratch, then do that.
WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF A GOOD TACO?
A good taco is a multi-component experience. It should have a warm, soft tortilla that pulls all the flavors together, a substantial filling with a deep, robust flavor, and a bright, lively salsa with a big kick! My favorite tacos are the ones with a soft filing and a crunchy topping. Peanuts, or purple cabbage, or fried chiles de arbol. I love them all. The key is that each bite of a taco contains a myriad of flavors and different textures.
Vegan Tacos by Jason Wyrick, published by Vegan Heritage Press, LLC Publicity begins September 2, 2014.
Available wherever print and ebooks are sold.