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January 30, 2024

Spicy Black Bean & Mango Tacos: A Plant-Powered Fiesta.

Forget bland burritos and grab your dancing shoes. These tacos are gonna tango on your tongue!

While I’ve always considered myself a good cook and an appreciator of fine food, it was only in the last couple of years that I discovered the wealth of plant-powered foods.

As the Imperfect Farmer, each year I experiment with a variety of vegetables and crops not traditionally grown here on the east coast of Canada. Last summer, with a trellis laden with tomatillos, I was inspired to experiment with one of the yummiest, anytime dishes (not just on Tuesdays) from our southern neighbor—the awesome do-it-yourself taco.

Though from the Great White North, I enjoy the fieriness of spices. If your taste buds prefer a milder version, adjust the red chili powder to taste or forgo it altogether. Definitely leave out the jalapenos!

Let’s get into it.

Ingredients:

For the Fiery Black Beans:

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup salsa verde (chipotle salsa preferred, for extra fire!)

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Pinch of cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Sweet Mango & Tangy Toppings:

1 ripe mango, diced

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Lime wedges (optional)

For the Smooth & Creamy Avocado Crema (optional):

1/2 ripe avocado

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 tbsp lime juice

Splash of water

Pinch of salt

Black pepper to taste

And finally, the stage:

4 medium corn tortillas, warmed to perfection

Instructions:

>> Heat the spices: In a skillet over medium heat, warm a drizzle of olive oil. Add the chopped red onion and garlic, sautéing until softened. Toss in the chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin, letting the spices bloom for a minute.

>> Black bean fiesta: Add the drained and rinsed black beans and stir to coat in the spices. Pour in the salsa verde and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

>> Mango mambo: While the beans simmer, chop the mango and red onion. Finely chop the cilantro and set aside. Squeeze some lime juice over the mango to prevent browning, if desired.

>> Avocado crema dream (optional): Blend all the crema ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Add a splash of water to adjust the consistency if needed. Season with salt and pepper. If you like it chunky, smash with the fork.

>> Taco tango: Warm your tortillas however you like, whether it’s in a skillet, over a flame, or even in the microwave. There is no perfect way. Pile on the spicy black beans; top with the sweet mango, tangy red onion, and fresh cilantro.

>> Creamy coronation (optional): Drizzle that divine avocado crema on top, and for the brave souls, add some sliced jalapeños for a fiery finale.

>> Take a bite, close your eyes, and savor the fiesta! Feel the heat of the chipotle salsa dance with the sweetness of the mango, the crunch of the onion meet the tang of the cilantro. Let the avocado crema cool your palate and the corn tortillas hold this plant-powered celebration in your hands.

Remember, these are just guidelines, not gospel. Feel free to adjust the spice level, add your favorite toppings like chopped tomatoes or crumbled vegan cheese, and make these tacos your own.

Ditch the tortilla police and assemble a symphony of textures and flavors that’ll make your taste buds do the jalapeño jig.

~

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