Mexican food has always been in my top five favorite cuisines. Honestly, I think it’s in everyone’s top five favorites and if not, it should be! Because of Mexico’s proximity to the U.S., there are Mexican restaurants in almost every city of every state. We also have a bunch of “Mexican” chain restaurants booming across the states, but what many don’t realize is that most of these places are extremely americanized.
“Tex Mex” cuisine has the same basic ideas and names as the original Mexican dishes, but caters to what the typical American would actually eat or find more delicious. For example, true Mexican tacos do not have a hard shell, they are actually made with soft corn tortillas. Also, authentic tacos don’t include cheese, lettuce and tomato as toppings, which is how every Southwestern restaurant serves them. Don’t get me wrong, Americanized tacos are a munchies dream! But real deal Mexican tacos are a different type of fresh and amazing!
The Meat Of It
I decided to create three different tacos because I want to show that you aren’t limited to one type of filling as a vegan taco eater. I went with “ground beef”, mushroom, and “chicken” tacos. I used Gardien products for both vegan meat subs. This brand always seems to have exactly what I’m looking for and, from what I remember, tastes very similar to the actual meat versions.
Here I used the beefless ground and the teriyaki chick’n strips. For this specific recipe I wasn’t keen on making teriyaki chicken tacos so I saved the sauce pouch that comes with the strips for another day. I decided on mushrooms as well because its a vegan taco classic and I found the cutest “baby bello” mushrooms at the store! (Don’t judge me LOL)
Once I placed them in bowls I seasoned each with garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt and pepper. This step is to preference. Don’t over season just yet because you can add more later as it cooks and can taste it to perfect the amount. I also encourage you to experiment with different spices and herbs based on what you personally like or what is already stocked in your pantry.
To add a bit more zesty flavor I also included chopped onions and peppers to the mix. I first add the onions to the three separate skillets, with a dash of olive oil, and let them simmer over medium heat until they begin to turn transparent. Now add the meatiness (and mushrooms) to each skillet and let it cook through for about 10-15 minutes. Stir or flip frequently.
To emulate the natural juices of real meat when it is cooked, I added a few dashes of vegetable broth. This not only gave it some more flavor, but also made sure the “meats” didn’t dry out. At this point I added some chopped bell peppers and let everything cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes.
While those last 5 minutes go by start laying out your tortillas. As I mentioned before, tacos are made with corn tortillas. Make sure they are the small ones otherwise you’ll be making a burrito!
Don’t forget to turn the stove tops off! Now you can customize each taco with the fillings and toppings you want. Remember not to pile too much onto one tortilla because it will rip as soon as you pick it up.
Now for the final touch you can add guacamole and fresh cilantro. I usually like to make my own guac, but unfortunately there were no avocados at the super market, so I had to opt for pre-made guac. Lastly, and most importantly…LIME!!! A spritz here and there takes these street tacos to a whole other level!