I’ve made this taco “meat” business several times, but I finally photographed it several weeks ago so I could post the recipe. That is, several weeks before business school started.
I just have to laugh when I think about life pre- and post-start of business school. I really did have an astonishing amount of free time to experiment in the kitchen/go to hot yoga/grocery shop/read books for fun…whereas now it feels like a gift if I take 10 minutes to go make a healthy single-serving cookie (from this cookbook!).
Luckily, I have a handful of recipes that I’ve been holding on to that will be showing up shortly as I figure out how learning happens again.
So I made tacos.
This recipe essentially calls for cooking chickpea flour (one of my favorite ingredients), seasoning and water into a drippy polenta; the key is drizzling the mixture onto a cookie sheet. Once you let the drizzled lumps dry into a semi-firm polenta, you fry them with onions and seasoning to make incredibly tasty vegetarian taco meat! You can make a big batch and use it in tacos, sandwiches, on top of salads (think: black beans, corn, avocado, shredded lettuce, salsa). The smallest drips ( that fry up into salty, crispy little nuggets) are my favorite.
Note: I tried using green cabbage leaves for the taco “shells” here, but they were not my favorite. I prefer crunchy purple cabbage leaves or real-deal tortillas.
Chickpea Taco Meat
- For the taco seasoning:
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- few grinds pepper
- For the taco meat:
- 1 cup chickpea flour*
- 1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
- olive oil
- To make the taco seasoning:
- Whisk all taco seasoning ingredients together.
- To make the taco "meat":
- Whisk 3 tablespoons of seasoning into the chickpea flour breaking up any clumps to get as smooth a consistency as possible. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, lower heat to medium and whisk in chickpea flour, again trying to eliminate most lumps--the mixture should begin to thicken immediately. If mixture starts to sputter, lower heat and continue to cook the mixture for an additional minute. Turn off heat.
- Using the whisk, drizzle the chickpea mixture in small clumps over a cookie sheet, leaving space between each clump (you may need several). This creates the "meat" shape and texture. Let the mixture cool and dry for at least 20 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, heat a small glug of oil over medium heat. Add onion, 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning and a big pinch of salt. Scrape the chickpea mixture off the cookie sheets with a spatula and add to the pan with another tablespoon of taco seasoning. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add additional seasoning to taste, if needed.
- Serve hot with tortillas, cabbage leaves or on top of a salad!