Say goodbye to the season on this last day of winter with my vegetarian tacos, featuring winter squash, a comfort food you can feel good about devouring. Butternut or kabocha squash make excellent choices, but any winter squash will work well paired with Tex-Mex spices and heart-healthy beans. Enjoy as a meal or serve as tapas for your next gathering. Leftovers are excellent the next day or could be transformed into a delicious salad served over your favorite leafy greens with a few crushed tortilla chips for a little crunch.
My slow and spicy pinto beans are a great option for these tacos if you make them in advance. If you are pressed for time, simply use no-salt-added canned pinto beans.
Taco Ingredients: 1 medium winter squash, peeled and cubed 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon cumin ½ teaspoon salt 2½ cups cooked pinto beans 1 lime ¼ cup chopped cilantro 12 soft corn tortilla shells
Topping Ingredients: ¼ cup sour cream ½ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt 1 teaspoon smoked paprika ½ teaspoon garlic powder 1 avocado, peeled and cubed 4 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash cubes on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Add chili powder, cumin and salt and toss to evenly coat. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping with a spatula halfway through.
Meanwhile, make smoky cream sauce by combining sour cream and yogurt in a small mixing bowl. Add smoked paprika and garlic, stirring until well mixed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Add beans to roasting pan with squash and toss to combine. Continue roasting for 5 more minutes, until beans are heated. Drizzle the juice of one lime and sprinkle cilantro over squash and bean mixture.
Warm a couple of taco shells at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds per side. Fill corn tortillas with an equal amount of squash and bean mixture and top with smokey cream sauce, avocado and cotija cheese.
Top these Slow and Spicy Pinto Beans with a little shredded mozzarella and you have the perfect side dish for your fish tacos or chicken enchiladas. They also make a great vegetarian protein for your main course. Try them in veggie tacos or simply add them to a cheese quesadilla or on top of a salad.
Dried beans are extremely simple to prepare and the slow cooker does most of the work in this dish. If you have leftovers they freeze well for a ready-to-eat protein on a busy night, just defrost and reheat.
Ingredients: 1 cup dry pinto beans 7½ cups of water, divided 2 garlic whole cloves 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper 1 teaspoon cumin ½ teaspoon smoked paprika ¼ teaspoon salt ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Wash and sort beans, removing any small stones, dirt or damaged beans. Place beans in a large stock pot and cover with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Allow beans to soak for up to 4 hours.
Drain beans and place in a slow cooker set to high heat. Add garlic, chipotle chile pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and cayenne pepper to the beans and cover with 2½ cups of water.
Cook for 4 hours, until beans are soft and tender. Discard garlic cloves and serve.
Pinto beans and sautéed greens are two of my favorite southern sides, and they also make a great combination in this easy, no-fuss meal. This is a bowl of comfort food that will provide warmth on a cold winter night. Add a hot skillet of cornbread, just like your grandmother made, and you have a delicious meal that’s worth writing home about.
I used dried beans in this vegetarian meal that’s sure to please even the meat lovers in your life. Dried beans are a great bargain and you can control how much salt is added. Beans are an excellent source of plant protein, and also provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc. Kale is packed with vitamin A and C, and also a good source of calcium and potassium. Enjoy this nutritious bowl of goodness.
Ingredients: 1 cup dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed 9 cups water, divided 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced 1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 bunch kale hot sauce or hot and sweet jalapeño slices
Soak dried beans in 5 cups of water overnight.
Drain beans and place in a slow cooker. Add onion, jalapeño, garlic, salt and pepper. Add 4 cups water, turn to high heat and cook for 3 to 4 hours.
Wash and chop kale, removing tough stems. Add kale to pinto beans, stirring to combine, and cook for an additional hour.
Serve with cornbread and hot sauce or sweet jalapeño slices.
Kale is one of my favorite vegetables, because it is so versatile and delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a quick meal with a Mexican twist, sautéed greens pair perfectly with pinto beans, fast-cooking shrimp and cotija cheese. If you’re not serving four, reheat kale mixture the next day and serve for breakfast with a fried egg on top. Add a warm corn tortilla to the bottom of the dish for a different take on huevos rancheros.
Ingredients: 1 bunch kale 1 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons water 1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto beans 1 teaspoon taco seasoning 8 ounces raw peeled and deveined shrimp 4 (8-inch) flour tortillas 4 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled
Remove stems from kale and roughly chop leaves. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add kale and water and sauté until wilted.
Drain and rinse beans and add to the skillet with the kale. Add taco seasoning and stir to combine. Push the kale mixture to the edge of the skillet with a spatula and add shrimp the center of the skillet. Sauté until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
Lay tortillas flat and add ¼ of kale, bean and shrimp mixture to one side of each tortilla. Top with 1 ounce of cotija cheese and fold in half.
Lower heat to medium and place two quesadillas in the large skillet and cook for about three minutes on each side. Flip and continue cooking for another minute or two until both sides are golden brown. Continue cooking remaining quesadillas. Cut into four wedges and serve.