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Tempeh, bean and zucchini tostadas

September 12, 2011

Who doesn’t love a good taco?  Crunchy shell, saucy, spicy filling, crisp peppers and lettuce, cool, tangy sour cream . . . .  How about this double-whammy of tempeh and bean filling with fried onions and garlic, sweet purple peppers, spicy jalapeños, tangy green tomatoes and creamy zucchini?

Another lovely recipe with the Rancho Gordo San Franciscano beans: tempeh, bean and zucchini tacos:

  • 1 Tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 small onions, diced 1/4 inch
  • 2 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 spicy jalapeños, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt; or so to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • 10 oz tempeh (I used a flax seed-studded version)
  • 1 1/2 Cups cooked beans and their cooking juices
  • 3 small green (unripe) tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1 purple pepper (or bell pepper or similar), 1/2 inch dice
  • 1-2 small zucchinis, 1/2 inch dice
Heat the peanut oil on high or medium high in a large skillet; fry the onions until translucent.  Add the garlic and jalapeño; fry until aromatic, no more than 2 or 3 minutes.  Add the salt, oregano, paprika and cinnamon and stir for 30 seconds.  If the spices stick to the pan, deglaze with a couple of tablespoons of water or cider vinegar before the next step.
Crumble in the tempeh by hand.  (I like this better than chopped pieces–more interesting texture, more approximating ground beef).  I prefer smaller pieces that soak up the spices and juices more quickly, but if you prefer big hunks of tempeh, go for it.  Fry the tempeh until well-coated with the spices, onions, etc.  If the pan starts to burn or things start to stick, use a few more tablespoons of water and scrape them up with a spoon–that’s good flavor!
When the tempeh’s looking spice-covered and darker, add the beans and their juices and heat through.  When that mixture’s a-bubblin’, add the chopped green tomatoes.  Diced zucchini can follow right on their heels.  Cook until the zucchini is soft and cooked through.  Remove from heat; stir in purple peppers.  (Purple peppers unfortunately turn green when cooked–the purple pigmentation is water soluble.  So while I like them heated up, I don’t like to miss out on eating something purple and only toss them in at the very end.  But if you like your peppers more cooked, feel free to cook them on the heat.
 Tempeh, bean and zucchini tostadas
Serve in taco shell or on top of tostadas (I got mine free–Deals and Steals always has a give away at the countertop for spending $XX and a few weeks ago was tostadas!) with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt, a sprinkling of diced red tomato, or whatever other toppings make your taco-loving heart sing.

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