What is the appropriate amount of time to continue dreaming about your vacation after you return? And is it so wrong to eat pico de gallo with every meal? If making these taco bowls because I’m still hooked on Mexican food is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
When being wrong involves crispy, chipotle-dusted tofu, creamy refried beans, mashed avocado, and crunchy cabbage slaw, I am perfectly fine with that.
Mexican food was not quite what I expected. I knew there would be tacos and tortillas and guacamole, but I didn’t realize that the flavors would be so entirely different from what I’d had in little ol’ America.
At each restaurant/joint/hole-in-the-wall, we were greeted with an array of small bowls filled with colorful salsas and dips. Some were smoothly blended, some were chunky and crunchy, and some were creamy and cooling – a welcome relief when your tongue starts throbbing.
No matter the place, everything tastes like it’s laced with lime and a healthy dose of garlic and onion. They’re not afraid to add heat to average dishes with jalapeño, serrano, and habanero. And no matter how spicy the pico or salsa verde, you can’t resist piling more onto your chip or your taco or just spooning it into your mouth.
To deal with the wonderful heat, I developed a loose strategy that consisted of going back and forth from taco to beans to chips to salsa to beer in no logical order. After a few meals, I got to be pretty good at it.
I thought about packing a little abuelita in my suitcase and bringing her home with me to further fatten me up. I also considered asking if we could move in with one (– visas aren’t too hard to get, right?). Since neither of those options seemed likely, I decided I’d just smoosh all of my favorite Mexican foods into one bowl and pretend I’m there again. It’ll have to do for now…
- Serves: 3
- Calories: 350
- Fat: 10 g
- Saturated fat: 3 g
- Unsaturated fat: 7 g
- Trans fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 42 g
- Sugar: 4 g
- Sodium: 942 mg
- Fiber: 13 g
- Protein: 17 g
- 1 cup white rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- 1 can of black beans
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup white onion
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 1-14 oz. package extra firm tofu
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 3 Tablespoons fresh jalapeño, minced
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ Tablespoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 medium jalapeno
- ⅔ cup cilantro, minced and packed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- juice of 1 lime
- ¾ teaspoon
- 1 cup shredded or finely chopped cabbage
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- 2 avocados, mashed
- Bring rice and water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes and add cilantro. Stir occasionally for 10-15 more minutes, cooking until water is evaporated and rice is tender.
- Prepare garlic and onion as described above.
- In a large skillet, heat oil to medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes.
- Add black beans and seasonings to skillet. Cook for 5-7 minutes until heated throughout.
- Using the back of a spoon, mash black beans to desired consistency. Stir and continue cooking.
- Add vegetable broth. Stir to combine. If the beans are too dry, add more broth to reach your desired consistency.
- Drain tofu and press it between a clean towel or paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible.
- Chop tofu into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss tofu cubes with oil, lime and seasonings until well-coated.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet on medium-high. Empty tofu into the skillet and cook 2 minutes on the first side to sear it. Stir and toss it for the remaining cook time – about 15 minutes – to keep it from sticking to the skillet. Remove from heat when the tofu is heated throughout and slightly crisped.
- Shred or finely chop cabbage.
- In a large bowl, start layering ingredients in whatever order you prefer. Rice, beans, onion, cabbage, tofu, avocado, pico de gallo, etc. For this dish, I layered the ingredients vertically and used the back of a spoon to help keep everything separate. If you feel like getting messy and mixing it up, just layer everything into the bowl and have at it.