A vegan taco recipe for your Cinco de Mayo celebration

Need to whip up a plant-based option for your Mexican fiesta? This recipe will be a hit with the entire crowd.
Lianna Tarantin
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By Brianna Steinhilber

As a vegetarian, Mexican-inspired meals like those enjoyed on Taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo are always a bit of a letdown. Watching other diners scarf down al pastor and Carne asada tacos while I try to keep my toppings-used-as-fillers balanced in a tortilla is certainly a buzzkill.

Luckily, more and more restaurants are starting to get creative with veggie-based tacos, and if you’re hosting a party of your own this weekend, it may pay off to whip up a veg-only option for your spread.

Not only will it ensure anyone not eating meat has something substantial to eat (other than going hard on the chips and salsa), it’s also a great way to mix up standard taco toppings and impress your guests — while saving you some money, since having more filler options means you can cook up less meat.

What I love about this recipe from Sakara Life’s new cookbook "Eat Clean, Play Dirty" is that it doesn’t relegate vegetarians to filling a taco with shredded lettuce, beans and salsa, but instead adds another unique filling option to the spread that everyone can enjoy. Even those who choose to build a meat-based taco can still take advantage of the crema, slaw and even a scoop of the mushroom and corn filling for an extra punch of flavor.

Wild mushroom + corn tacos with spicy slaw and cashew crema

Serves 4

FOR THE CASHEW CREMA

1 cup (120 g) raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained

Juice of 1 lime

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (less if you don’t like spice)

¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt

FOR THE SPICY SLAW

¼ small head purple cabbage, shredded

¼ small head green cabbage, shredded

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1 medium carrot, shredded

½ cup (25 g) fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

½ jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced

Juice of ½ lime

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

FOR THE WILD MUSHROOM AND CORN FILLING

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 shallot, sliced

4 cloves garlic, slice

8 ounces (about 4 cups/500 g) wild mushrooms, such as shiitake, maitake, or oyster, wiped clean with a damp cloth and cut into bite-size pieces

Himalayan salt

1 cup (175 g) sweet corn kernels, fresh or frozen

FOR SERVING

8 corn tortillas

2 avocados, pitted and sliced

Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

1. Make the cashew crema: In a blender or food processor, combine the cashews, lime juice, cayenne, and salt with ¼ cup (60 ml) of water. Blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Transfer the crema to a serving bowl and set aside.

2. Make the spicy slaw: In a medium bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrot, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, and salt. Set aside.

3. Make the wild mushroom and corn filling: In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until the shallot is translucent and the garlic hasn’t yet begun to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with a pinch of salt, and cook until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the corn and cook for another 2 minutes. Taste the filling and add more salt, if desired.

4. Serve: Using a pair of tongs and working in batches, char the tortillas over an open flame on the stove until they are just taking on color and warmed through. Keep the finished tortillas under a clean towel so they’ll stay warm. Serve the tortillas with the filling, slaw, and crema, plus slices of avocado and fresh cilantro.

Recipe from "Eat Clean, Play Dirty Recipes for a Body and Life You Love" By Whitney Tingle and Danielle Duboise, founders of Sakara Life. Abrams / April 9, 2019.

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