Mushroom Tacos with Pickled Red Onions and Avocado Cilantro Crema
Oh Mexican food, I can’t quit you. I mean, seriously. The people at our local Mexican restaurant know my name and my order. It’s only gotten worse now that I have babies. Ask any parent – there is no better place to take unruly children than a Mexican restaurant. It’s noisy enough to drown out giggles and shrieks, and the servers seem to genuinely enjoy kids. When we slide in to that bright red booth, it’s like home base. The chips appear within seconds, and if you so much as glance towards the bar you’ll be sipping a margarita before you can say, “Cadillac on the rocks with salt, please”. You need that dependability when there’s baby food caked to your hair and a dirty diaper in your purse.
My one regret, of course, is the health factor. I do believe in treating myself on occasion. However, those fried tortillas chips should be a cheat meal unto themselves, not a precursor to heaping piles of cheesy carbohydrates. I am not saying I would give this all up. I am simply noting that I could use a little less of it in my life. Which is why I’ve begun exploring the art of making Mexican food at home, from scratch. And it’s been fun.
These veggie-forward tacos were inspired by the Minimalist Baker’s vegan Portobello fajitas. I love the idea of putting a good sear on mushrooms to enhance their savory and rich umami flavor. You’d be surprised how little you miss the meat in this dish.
Why is it good for you?
Well for one, we subbed out the saturated fats of beef with healthier protein sources like black beans and Greek yogurt. Most of the fat in this dish comes from avocados, which contain mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They’re also a rich source of potassium, a nutrient most people aren’t getting enough of.
Mushrooms are wonderful for you. They’re high in fiber and various vitamins and minerals. They’re particularly high in selenium, which is known for being anti-inflammatory, for helping to detoxify carcinogens in the body, and for boosting our ability to fight infection and tumor growth.
Finally, the cilantro in this dish is very high in antioxidants and is essentially calorie-free. It’s also a natural antibiotic that can help protect against salmonella.
- 10-12 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4" thick
- 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp avocado oil (or other high-heat cooking oil)
- 8 corn tortillas
- 2/3 cup cooked black beans, warmed
- chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- hot sauce and lime wedges, for serving
- kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 medium avocado, peeled and pitted
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 1 large lime)
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2% fat)
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- salt & fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
- In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat.
- When oil is hot, add mushrooms to the pan with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until mushrooms are softened and browned and all moisture has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Don't over-stir, as this will prevent proper browning. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
- While mushrooms are cooking, heat a small skillet over medium heat.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly coat both sides of each tortilla with remaining oil (about 1/4 tsp per tortilla).
- Fry the tortillas one at a time in the small skillet until beginning to brown, about 1 minute per side. Cover finished tortillas to keep warm.
- To assemble, divide mushrooms and beans equally among tortillas. Top with cilantro, pickled onions, and a dollop of Cilantro Avocado "Crema". Serve with hot sauce and lime wedges.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
- In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, and honey over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt.
- Pack the mustard seeds and sliced onions in a clean glass jar. Carefully pour the hot vinegar mixture over the onions until all onions are submerged.
- Allow to rest on the counter until cool. Pickles can be enjoyed immediately, or covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. The flavor will grow stronger over time.
*Nutrition information reflects 1 1/2 Tbsp. of Avocado Cilantro Crema per taco.