5 Vegetarian Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

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Cinco de Mayo will be here next week. Do you know what you’re making for dinner yet? Nah, me neither.

Luckily, I consider tacos to be a major food group, so I have plenty of vegetarian taco and burrito recipes here on Vegology. I never grow tired of coming up with new combinations, and Kyle and I have some variation of tacos for dinner on a weekly basis. I love them so much that I cannot possibly convey to you how extremely excited I was the first time I was linked to by F*%$ Yeah Vegan Tacos. I have several taco recipes here under the tacos tag, and some other fun Mexican inspired recipes in this post to help you plan for your Cinco de Mayo celebration. The first five recipes are Vegology originals, then there is a bonus Serious Eats recipe at the end for elotes, which are my current obsession.

Enjoy!

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Try out these MexiKali wraps that add a healthy dose of leafy greens to your standard black bean burrito. Plus there is a onus recipe for my Chipotle-style cilantro lime brown rice in that post as well.

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Embrace Springtime and make a batch of Radish Salsa to tide you over until fresh tomatoes are in season. Serve with corn chips, pita chips, over tacos and nachos, or just eat it plain like a salad!

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These Cilantro Lime Seitan Tacos feature a great vegetarian meat substitute that, as the old cliché goes, “tastes just like chicken!”

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If you’re still experiencing winter weather and want to curl up with some fall and winter veggies, try these Spicy Cauliflower Tacos with Sunchoke Hash. It is amazing how much grated and sautéed cauliflower can resemble meat when seasoned the right way.

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For a sweet and springy dessert, try these Strawberry Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Empanadas, which make for a unique and tasty end to your Cinco de Mayo meal.

Bonus recipe!

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My current obsession is Mexican street corn, and this recipe from Serious Eats is perfect! Make this one as soon as you can get your hands on some fresh corn this year. You will not regret it.

To see what I’m cooking this weekend (and to get sneak peek photos of test recipes like the grilled corn above), make sure you are following Vegology on Instagram and Twitter.

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MexiKali Wraps

One thing I love to eat when the weather warms up is Mexican food. The weekly taco night is a must in the summer, and Kyle and I usually enjoy tacos, burritos, or burrito bowls outside with a cold beer. Sometimes I struggle to get a serving of vegetables in for this once-a-week meal. I started adding steamed broccoli or sauteed zucchini to our burritos and they were a major hit. This week, I decided to get a little more creative and I developed the MexiKali wrap.

Inspired by Brittany’s Vegetarian Zucchini Boats over at EBF, I included a little kale in these tasty wraps. My only regret was the white flour tortillas – the store was out of whole wheat and I think I would have preferred the heartier wheat wrap. Otherwise, they were a great summer meal.

MexiKali Wraps

I filled these wraps with:

  • black beans
  • cilantro-lime rice
  • crispy sauteed kale strips
  • tomato salsa
  • diced avocado (sprinkled with lime juice)

Cilantro-Lime Rice

  1. Cook one cup of brown rice according to package directions (yields 2 cups cooked rice).
  2. While rice is still warm, add 3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice.
  3. Stir in a handful of chopped cilantro and serve warm.

Crispy Sauteed Kale Strips

  1. Wash one half a bunch of kale. I used Red Russian kale for these wraps for its mild flavor. Dry leaves in a salad spinner or air dry on paper towels.
  2. Remove stems from kale. Stack 6-8 leaves and roll them lengthwise like a cigar. Starting at one end, slice the leaves into thin strips. This is how I chiffonade basil, and it works really well for chopping kale into bite-sized pieces for sandwiches.
  3. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic or 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions to the pan for flavor.
  4. Toss in the kale and saute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until tender. Continue to fry the kale until it becomes crispy. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Canned Tomato Salsa

This salsa is good for when you want fresh-tasting salsa but the tomatoes aren’t in season yet. Bonus points if you canned these yourself from last year’s crop!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced (use gloves!)
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
  • 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt

Preparation:

  1. Pour the tomatoes out onto a large cooking board and chop with a large, broad knife to make sure they are uniformly chopped to a fine dice.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic. Add salt to taste.

I hope this one finds a place on your table this summer. I’m sure it will be returning to mine. Have a great week!

Road Tripping Roanoke to Asheville

If you haven’t read the first part of our road trip story, check it out here. We left off in Roanoke, VA heading down the Blue Ridge Parkway at the end of day one. On the second day of vacation, Kyle and I woke up early to drive south on the BRP to our first hiking destination, Smart View.

We threw some snacks and water in our packs and suited up for the moderate 3 mile loop that promised an amazing view at the end of the climb. We were surprised to find three separate mountain vistas along the way to reward us for our hard work. There was also an old cabin built in the 1890’s to explore while resting at one of the overlooks. The trail was well-maintained with benches along the way for taking in the scenery. With temperatures hovering around 65 degrees F, we had a very nice trip up the mountain, over the creeks and back to our car.

After completing our hike and scarfing down some granola bars and fresh fruit, we got back on the parkway to drive to North Carolina. Our goal was to make it to Asheville, NC by the end of the day, driving over 250 miles in an afternoon along the winding mountain roads on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We saw some interesting sights along the way, like a treble clef made out of shrubbery…

Mabry Mill, an iconic landmark along the parkway…

And the North Carolina state line! The National Parks Service had actually painted a line across the road to signal our arrival in the beautiful state of NC.

We soon arrived in the adorable town of Boone, NC for a 3:00 lunch.

Boone is the home of Appalachian State University. Remember when I told you to seek out college towns for vegetarian dining while traveling? Boone did not disappoint. We found a very veggie-friendly dining scene with several options for us to try.

We settled on Black Cat Burrito, which makes all of their enormous burritos meatless upon request. We could substitute tofu for meat on anything, and they even offer a separate vegetarian grill to ensure that none of the components of your burrito touch residual meat grease on the main grill. Black Cat Burrito also has amazing salsa that is packed with delicious fresh cilantro. Along with my “Don’t Be A Jerk Burrito,” I enjoyed my fist Magic Hat Vinyl of the season. Man do I love this beer. I was happy to embrace the fact that Kyle would be taking a turn with the driving soon.

After lunch, Kyle and I walked around the town and picked up a few souvenirs from the Mast General Store. I brought home a coffee mug (you can never have too many), a jar of local concord grape jam, and a bumper sticker that reminded us of canoeing on our summer 2010 trip to the Shenandoah Valley: “Paddle faster, I think I hear banjo music.”

We left Boone, NC and continued our journey along the BRP, passing several beautiful overlooks along the way. We stopped at a few to stretch our legs and take some pictures, but the third leg of our journey on the second travel day was a little more rushed than the first two in the morning. I wanted to get off the parkway at milepost 385 before it got dark, because the mountain roads can be dangerous to drive, especially while tired and driving with limited visibility. As the sun started to set and we hit milepost 350, we stepped out of the car to take a few more pictures, knowing that our drive on the BRP was almost over.

And then our trip took a crazy turn. As we prepared to complete the last 35 miles of our drive, with about a quarter tank of gas (4-5 gallons in my SUV), we did a few quick calculations and determined that we would get off the parkway in Asheville in less than an hour, with enough gas to get us to the hotel for the night. I started daydreaming of Asheville vegetarian eateries and planning our dinner as I drove.

As we came upon milepost 350, the parkway was barricaded with a sign that said “Parkway closed.” There was a nearby entrance to state park that closed at 8:00 PM. It was 7:45. We had no choice but to turn back. We couldn’t get a signal on the GPS and the next major road was about 12 miles behind us. As the sky grew darker, I drove back to the last sign for a major road that I had seen, passing the overlook that was the site of our last photo op, and praying for some guidance to get us off the mountain without running out of gas.

We got a signal on the GPS when I exited the parkway and it instructed us to take the exit road 10.5 miles down the mountain before we hit the next intersection. It got very dark and the road snaked its way down the mountain, as our ears popped, my fuel gauge came dangerously close to “E” and the constant braking sent a strong burning smell into the air vents. I remember telling Kyle “if I get you off this mountain alive, you better never let me go.”

Panic and threats. Qué romantica.

We passed shacks of homes, broken down trucks and, surprisingly, several “trout farms”. Hm. All I could think of was passing black bears, shotguns and locals who had little appreciation for my high beams streaming into their living rooms. I made Kyle count down the miles left until we hit the main road. When my low fuel light had not come on yet, the brakes had not failed yet, and we had just one mile to go, a huge wave of relief washed over me. Of course when we got to the “main road” it was several more miles before we saw houses, businesses, and a gas station that didn’t take cards at the pump. Thank goodness there was a friendly attendant inside who helped us out.

We made it to our hotel in Asheville, with a little assistance from the GPS, in about 45 minutes to an hour. Kyle and I dragged all of our stuff into the chic, modern lobby of the Courtyard by Marriott, still dressed in our hiking clothes. After throwing all of our stuff into the room and changing into clean clothes, we realized it was a few minutes til 10:00. All of my daydreams of vegetarian havens in downtown Asheville went out the window with our plans to drive the last 30 miles of our journey on the BRP. We slipped on our flip flops and walked a quarter mile to the closest sports bar for some grilled cheese sandwiches, dragged ourselves back to the hotel, and got a good night’s sleep.

The next day held all the creative vegetarian food our little hearts desired, along with beautiful scenery and relaxing activities for the whole day.