As I’d mentioned previously, I’ve been in a taco making mood this summer. Raw tacos for my Grandpa’s birthday, soy chorizo tacos in Cayucos, a tasty “build-your-own taco” spread at Anna’s last weekend, & now these! In fact, I began dreaming these up when I heard about Worldwide Vegan Taco Day. Too bad I miss read the date. I was a week late! The funny thing is, I made the same mistake with Vegan Pizza Day. Oopsies. When will I start to pay better attention? Well, after realizing the error of my ways, I’d already built up a hankering, so why not make it my very own taco day? Better yet, why not make everyday vegan taco day?
The filling for these tacos were inspired by my last CSA share that was filled to the brim with summer’s bounty – eggplant, bell peppers, spicy peppers, tomatoes, squash, cilantro, & basil. Hooray for colorful summer produce!
Many things came to mind – chilled gazpacho, ratatouille, mixed veggie lasagna, roasted veggie pizza, etc. Scrolling through the recipe rolodex in my mind, one thought stood out from all the others. You guessed it, tacos! But I wanted to challenge myself to create a fresh take on the tacos I’ve been building of late. Rather than relying a meat substitute filling, I decided I’d roast some summer veggies with a smoky & spicy blend of taco style seasonings.
Smoky Chipotle Roasted Summer Vegetables
- 1 Japanese eggplant
- 1 Italian pepper
- 1 Yellow Squash
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/8 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Trim & discard ends of eggplant & squash. Stem & seed bell peppers. Cut eggplant, squash, & pepper & onion into 1 1/2-inch chunks.
- Combine spic mixture, vegetables, & olive oil in a mixing bowl & toss, coating the vegetables in the spices & oil.
- Transfer to an roasting pan & spread evenly. Bake at 400 degrees F, for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are fragrant & tender.
While the vegetables roasting away, I made a fresh salsa, inspired by one that Anna made last weekend. I like things super spicy, so to add a bit of heat to this recipe I added banana & cherry bomb peppers & a Serrano chile. I also tossed in some roasted corn for smokiness.
Spicy Summer Salsa
- 8 oz mixed cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 banana peppers, minced
- 1 Serrano chili, minced
- 1 cherry bomb pepper, minced
- 1/4 yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup roasted corn, fresh or frozen
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Sea salt & black pepper to taste
- Combine tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, corn, cilantro, lime juice, salt & pepper in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours to blend flavors. Makes about 2 cups of salsa.
***Makes approximately 2 cups
Once the veggies & salsa were out of the way it was time to think of some fun taco toppings. Instead of typical shredded lettuce, guacamole, & sour cream, I took inspiration from some fellow bloggers & made a fennel slaw & cilantro-avocado crema. What a fantastic idea! Both turned out to be the perfect accoutrements for these tasty tacos.
With everything prepped & ready to go, it was time to build my tacos. I filled ancient grain artisan tortillas with a large spoonful each of black beans & roasted veggies, then topped them with the fennel slaw, fresh salsa & a dollop of cilantro-avocado crema. I had enough of everything to yield 6-8 soft tacos, with a little extra salsa & crema to snack on with chips!
Check out this beautiful sight…
I can assure you they tasted as good as they look! These tacos were colorful, spicy, & full of summery goodness. All of the flavors melded wonderfully together with the unique pairing of smoky roasted vegetables, crisp fennel slaw, tangy crema & spicy fresh salsa. Every bite was a playful dance of flavors.
I’ve gotta hand it to myself. I think I might have perfected the perfect summer taco! Just a quick note to self, next time I decided to make roasted vegetables, I’ll check the weather report. I ended up making these on the hottest day of the summer. A 400 degree oven in a 100 degree house with no a/c? Not so much. I must say, however, it was worth it.