In my recent post about making new food traditions, I loved reading all of your comments, insights, and ideas on ways that you’ve taken family favorites and updated them to fit your vegan lifestyle. Katrina from Suburban Snow White had this to say:
Beautiful. I love the way you put this. Traditions do change. And some can even remain! My whole family looked at me with excited but sympathetic faces when I presented my Dad with a huge bagful of fresh Cowboy Cookies for his birthday. (My gramma’s recipe, and a family favorite!) “It’s really too bad you can’t eat them, after you made them and all,” they lamented as they all began wolfing down the familiar cookies. When I pointed out that they were made with vegan butter — and tasted exactly the same — they were all shocked. It was a fun moment, showing people that you can have your vegan cookies and eat them too.
Richa from Vegan Richa chimed in with this:
Love the post… It takes a while to figure out why the traditions are there in the first place and then some alternatives just come by! Last year my parents celebrated Diwali with us, and we made all vegan Indian sweets. Mom was surprised at how easily some things didn’t need any dairy, and now she tries some of my crazy recipes now and then.
It’s so true that while some food traditions change and evolve, with others we can make simple tweaks to have them fit our current lifestyles of compassion. I was reminded of that last Friday when David and I drove out to try a new Indian restaurant. On our way we passed one of the locations of a Mexican fast food chain, Taco John’s. I haven’t eaten at Taco John’s in at least ten years, but when we drove by I was reminded of what used to be one of my favorite high school and college meals – their Taco Bravo. In the Taco Bravo a crisp, hard corn shell taco is surrounded by a soft flour shell. Sandwiched between them is a thick spread of refried beans. The pillowy softness of the soft tortilla, quickly followed by the hard crunch of the inner shell was one of my favorite texture combinations.
Over the years I’ve recreated that meal many times using healthier and animal-friendly ingredients like whole wheat tortillas, organic corn shells, spicy black beans for the filling, and vegetarian refried beans to seal the tortillas together. I’m enamored with the refried beans from Viva Vegan (the recipe is available here on Google Books), but feel free to use canned vegetarian refried beans if you desire. (In a pinch, just pulsing pinto beans through the food processor until smooth with a bit of water and pinch of cumin, paprika, and coriander works.) For another take on the double decker taco idea, use guacamole instead of refried beans. Both are absolutely delectable and entirely craveable.
- 4 small whole wheat tortillas
- 1 cup vegetarian refried beans or guacamole
- 4 hard corn shells
- 1 batch Spicy Black Beans
- Toppings: diced tomatoes, green leafy lettuce, avocado, onions, cilantro, pickled jalapeños, hot sauce
Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Smear refried beans onto one side of the small whole wheat tortillas. Heat the refried bean-covered tortillas on a baking sheet in the oven for 3-5 minutes, until refried beans are warm. (If the refried beans are being cooked fresh at the same time or if using guacamole, warm the tortillas separately and spread the refried beans or guacamole on after removing from oven.) On another baking sheet, warm the corn shells for 3-5 minutes. Place one hard corn shell inside of each tortilla, so that the refried beans or guacamole are hugged between each of them. Stuff each corn shell with a couple of spoonfuls of spicy black beans and toppings. Serve immediately.
Have you adapted any family favorites to make them vegan-friendly? I love to hear your thoughts! They’re the diced avocado on my black bean taco. Leave comments below.
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