My garden is now a distant memory; we picked the last of the green tomatoes a week back. If you happen to live in luckier weather, then hurry up and make these Veggie Tacos immediately. The base ingredient is… wait for it… fried green tomatoes. Sign us up, and welcome new contributor Matthew in the comments! -Maggie
Being a carnivore married to a vegetarian can sometimes be a challenging adventure. Over the past ten years I have been enlisted as a vegetarian-by-default at many a meal. During this time, however, I have grown to appreciate plant-based foods in ways that still surprise me. Using vegetables in unexpected places to fill the void in a meatless marriage has become a skill I am still honing, but there are those moments when a vegetable dish leaves me completely satiated.
Vegetarian tacos have been a recurring presence in my kitchen and typically involve a frozen meat substitute defrosted and flavored with a taco seasoning packet – and a lot of cheese. This dish, however, has none of the previously mentioned vegetarian taco curses. Using the leftover green tomatoes gathered from my garden right before the first frost settled in, I refocused the vegetarian taco into an exciting, fresh and multi-layered delight.
Fried green tomatoes, it turns out, work wonderfully as a primary taco filling. The flavor of the tomatoes is heightened by combining them with mashed sweet potatoes, a fresh corn, jalapeÃ±o and onion topping, and pickled red cabbage.
As the taco maker, I started out with a blank canvas in the form of a warmed soft corn tortilla. I used the mashed sweet potatoes as a base, because a solid foundation is a key necessity often overlooked when constructing a taco. Next, I added the fried green tomatoes, which I halved. On top of those, I added a layer of the corn topping. To add even more color and an additional level of flavor, a heap of pickled red cabbage rounded out the dish. I finished the tacos with a sprinkle of roasted pumpkin seeds, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime.
These Veggie Tacos are so filling that I ate two and could not have fathomed having a third. This flavorful new way of rejuvenating a worn-out recipe will excite many traditional carnivores.
- 4 soft corn tortillas
- 4 medium green tomatoes
- 1 jar pickled red cabbage or a homemade variety (like The Kitchn’s Pickled Red Cabbage)
- 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 cup corn kernels, thawed if frozen or cut from a cob
- 1 jalapeÃ±o pepper, sliced and diced finely
- Vegetable oil
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup corn meal
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- A few springs of cilantro, leaves chopped
- 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- Salt and pepper
- Lime wedges (optional)
For Fried Green Tomatoes:
- Slice green tomatoes about 1/4” thick, and set aside.
- Spread flour onto a plate.
- Whisk eggs and buttermilk together in a bowl, and set aside.
- Combine corn meal, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper on yet another plate and mix well.
- Dip tomato slices into flour, then into egg and buttermilk mixture. Coat with the breadcrumbs and corn meal mixture.
- Place each well-coated tomato into a pan of oil on medium heat and fry all to a golden brown. Set on paper towel to drain excess oil.
For the Sweet Potatoes:
- Peel and cube the sweet potatoes. Place in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes or until soft.
- Strain and mash together in a bowl with cinnamon. Set aside.
For the Corn Topping:
- Combine a cup of corn kernels with diced jalapeÃ±o and onion. Place in pan over medium-high heat.
- Add in cumin and chili powder, and mix. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until corn starts to brown.
To Assemble the Veggie Tacos:
- Place the fried tomatoes, sweet potatoes and corn topping onto separate plates and pick and choose the ingredients you’d like into your corn tortilla. Top with pickled red cabbage, cilantro and pumpkin seeds. Add lime, if desired.
All photos styled and taken by Matthew Petrelis.
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