Veggie-Loaded Tacos with Roasted Chipotle Carrots

Everyone loves tacos! Well, we do. Especially on boring cold grey winter days, these colorful tasty tacos loaded with veggies bring sparkle and joy into our lifes. The somewhat long ingredient list might scare you off, but do not worry, it consists of several mini-recipes which you can prepare well in advance. Since I cannot get hold of decent corn tortillas (I’m a huge fan) here in The Netherlands, I always make them myself. The unique taste of homemade tortillas is worth the extra effort.

Serves 4
Action time: about 40 minutes (the making of corn tortillas not included)

12 (homemade) corn tortillas (see recipe below)
1-2 avocados, sliced
a small bunch cilantro
1 lime, halved
hot sauce to serve

For the roasted chipotle carrots:
about 750 g (1.6 lb carrots), cleaned
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (from a can, I use La Morena)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
a couple of tbsp mild olive oil

For the red coleslaw:
300 g (10.5 oz) red cabbage, finely shredded
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp good quality olive oil

For the marinated onions:
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar

For the sautéed mushrooms:
400 g (14 oz) chestnut mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil

For the lemon sauce:
3-4 large tbsp mayonnaise
3-4 large tbsp sour cream
lime juice to taste

Extra: food processor, large rimmed baking sheet

1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Cut the carrots into 3 cm (about 1 inch) bit size pieces, and put them into a bowl. Pulse the chipotle peppers with the cumin and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the food processor until you have a smooth paste. Add the chipotle paste to the carrots and toss thoroughly. Season with salt. Spread the carrots onto a baking sheet and roast them for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing once or twice, until they are tender and browned.

2. Meanwhile, make the coleslaw by mixing all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Also, marinate the onions by mixing them in a small bowl with the vinegar and some salt. In another small bowl, mix the ingredients for the lemon sauce. You can make all these mini-recipes well in advance if you like, and keep them in the fridge.

3.Sauté the mushrooms several minutes before you remove the carrots from the oven: heat some olive oil in a large heavy pan (I use my cast iron lodge pan) and add cook the mushrooms several minutes over high heat until they start to lose there liquid. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan.

4. Reheat the tortillas (I use the microwave) and keep them warm in a shallow bowl or small basket lined with a kitchen towel. Put the avocado in a small bowl. Serve all the mini-dishes in separate serving bowls and sprinkle some cilantro over the carrots, mushrooms, and coleslaw. Allow everyone to assemble their own taco. Serve with lime and hot sauce.

Homemade corn tortillas

Choose a good brand of masa harina. I ‘import’ Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina from the US, but you can also make it with the widely available Maseca. I bought a Mexican tortilla press, which comes in really handy, but you can also use a rolling pin. You can make these tortillas well in advance. Keep them in the fridge and reheat them right before serving. Tortillas freeze wonderfully well, so you can decide to make a double batch.

Serves 4 (makes 12 small tortillas)
Action Time: 20 minutes + 10-30 minutes resting

250 g (2 cups) masa harina
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
about 350 ml (1 1/2 cup) warm water

Extra: tortilla press, 2 large pieces of sturdy plastic (from a zipper bag), cast-iron pan or large griddle

1. Mix masa harina, salt, and warm water in a large bowl and knead until well combined. Add more masa harina if the dough feels sticky, add more water if it is too dry. it should feel a kind of springy, like play-doh. Cover, and let rest for 10 to 30 minutes.

2. Preheat a large cast-iron pan or griddle. Divide the dough in about 5 cm (2 inch)balls. Press dough between 2 pieces of plastic and flatten to 12-14 cm (5 to 6 inch) thick discs. Open the tortilla press and peel off the plastic. (Or roll the tortillas between 2 pieces of plastic with a rolling pin.)

3. Place the tortilla in the hot pan or on the griddle and cook about 1 minute until the tortilla releases from the pan or griddle easily and is lightly browned. Flip over and cook for 1 minute more. Flip and cook for 30 seconds more. Transfer to a basket or shallow bowl or basket lined with a kitchen towel. Fold the towel over to keep the tortillas warm while you prepare the other ones.

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