A dear friend and fellow animal lover shared with me today an incredible weight loss accomplishment. With discipline and, undoubtedly, very hard work, she continues to make a daily commitment to a better health and quality of life. For many who have been battling with weight gain and the difficulty of restrictive, often unreasonable dieting, the nervousness of gaining it back always looms in the background. And understandably so: it may appear difficult to maintain a social, enjoyable life without indulging in your favorite foods. But I say: you should not have to trade off health for fun and gluttony, you can have it all.
My friend’s passion is for Mexican cuisine; with her approaching birthday, I would love er to be able to enjoy her favorite meals and not pay for the fun with gilt shortly after. For her, and all those (including me) in love with a delicious Mexican feast, let’s make some mouth-watering, nutritious, light, vegan tacos, some yummy, rich salsa, and do so by increasing the day’s intake of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. Ready?
Here is what you need:
1 lbs 13 oz of chickpeas; if you by canned, be sure to dry them well in advance;
2 tsp of thyme;
fresh minced garlic–be generous!
2 large lemons;
4 cups of Portobello mushrooms, chopped;
1 red onion, chopped;
black beans–about a cup;
sweet corn–about a cup;
1 avocado, chopped;
one large tomato-chopped;
1 yellow and 1 orange bell pepper, chopped;
corn tortillas; I, however, don’t like those, so I use sweetheart cabbage leaves instead!
Whew! Let’s get started.
For the chickpeas:
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Toss the chickpeas in a tbsp of olive oil, the juice from one large lemon, add the thyme, cilantro, and 2 or more tbsp of garlic.
Place in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes until crunchy and brownish. Taste periodically.
For the ‘stuffing:’
While waiting for the chickpeas, chop up a whole red onion and saute on medium heat in some olive oil. Once the onion has softened and released its flavor, add the chopped up Portobello mushrooms, some salt and black pepper.
When the mushrooms have released their moisture, add about 1/2 of chopped up mango. Do not add too much more since the sweetness of the mango can easily overwhelm the taste buds. Saute for another 3-5 minutes while stirring occasionally, then remove from the stove and place in a cool bowl to stop the cooking.
For the salsa:
Chop up one yellow and one orange bell pepper, one large tomato, and half an avocado. Add the black beans and sweet corn, the juice from 1 lemon, parsley, and a little bit of black pepper. Chop up 3/4 of mango and add it. Mix well.
In the meantime, try not to eat up the ready components with a spoon. It’s very tempting.
At this time, your chickpeas should be ready-crunchy, golden-brown, and very rich in flavor from the spices and lemon juice. Set up your leaves or tortillas (if using tortillas–heat them up in advance), and….start feasting! Place each ingredient on your cabbage leaf or corn tortilla, there is plenty for 4 or more servings, as well as some left-overs from sides or to ave with some lime tortilla chips. Gorgeous and absolutely delicious. I would have posted sooner, but I had to devour some of this first! Goes great with a glass of chilled, dry white wine. Enjoy!