A New Way To Crunch

Last night I enjoyed some veggie tacos made with blue corn taco shells. They were very tasty, especially after toasting in the oven for a minute. It has been a while since I’ve had crunchy tacos. I pretty much only eat the ones my mom makes, at my request, when I visit her. For many Americans my age, it is a comfort food that we grew up with.

Back in the day, a chicken taco was pretty exotic.

Back in the day, a chicken taco was pretty exotic.

So, as I was enjoying my blue corn tacos filled with spicy red cabbage slaw, black beans, sprouts and shredded zucchini, I was reminded of an awesome essay from the cookbook Nuevo Tex Mex, by David Garrido and Robb Walsh. It introduced the taco chapter, and was titled: The Taco Dichotomy: Soft vs. Crunchy.

According to the authors, the biggest difference between Mexican food and Tex-Mex is crunch:

” Mexicans don’t care much about crunch. And on this side of the border, we are crunchaholics. Maybe Americans like crunchy foods because we crave stimulation. Maybe crunching relieves stress. Whatever the reason, Americans have had a long love affair with salty, crunchy foods.”

Whether its the crunchy, bright yellow, prepackaged shells filled with shredded cheddar, iceberg lettuce, diced tomato and sour cream of my childhood; or the tiny, soft, white tortillas wrapped around tender chunks of grilled steak–dressed simply with radishes and lime–that I experienced in Baja California many years later, I love tacos.

The trick is that, this time around, I enjoy tacos without the ground beef, steak, cheese or obligatory dollop of sour cream; which opens up a whole new universe of tacos. In my head I am already picturing my next dinner party, and all the fun taco toppings I want to try.

I got some phenomenal recipe ideas from Garrido’s book–like mushroom salsa. I also want to try some of my own ideas, like saffron-tinged garbanzos, cilantro-lime cashew ricotta, creamy chipotle corn slaw, seitan ropa vieja, nopalitos, rajas in tomatillo sauce, potatoes pipian, black bean falafel, jicama pico, pumpkin and raisin adobo, and last but not least, guacamole…all laid out accross the table to be sampled in limitless combinations!

If you were invited, what would YOU bring?

To inspire you, here’s a hilarious commentary on the modern taco shell by George Lopez. Fast forward to the 4:40 mark.


About electricbluebaking

vegan baker and chef
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4 Responses to A New Way To Crunch

  1. Sandra says:


    I’m not a vegan or vegetarian or pesketarian… I eat little red meats, little chicken but mostly tofu and seafood. I nevertheless am curious about the vegan diet and wonder how tofu ground “meat” products rate in your book.

    I’m from Puerto Rico and have adapted many dishes with this product and of course tacos (which is why I write this note.)

    By surfing the net discovered your blogs and wish I lived in New York to take some of your classes, I live closer to Miami. Hope all is good and till soon!

    • Hi Sandra!

      I don’ t really use soy ground beef because, for one thing, I don’t digest soy very well. Also, a lot of it is processed food, and I think that the more processed something is, the less satisfying it is to eat. I do have to admit that I am kind of hooked on tofurky sausages…they are a quick and yummy convenience every once in a while.

      Did any of the toppings I listed in the post sound good to you? One of the things I enjoy most about being a vegan is the variety it has introduced into my diet. For example, instead of just replacing the meat in a meal with a meat substitute, I like to have a few different veggie dishes on my plate!

      Check out my latest cooking video for some ideas! I posted it on my blog last week. XOXO Thanks for reading!

  2. Sandra says:

    Hi ,

    yes I did read on the topping you recommend and they sound amazing. i will have to get a vegan recipe book to learn how to prepare these vegetables. we have an amazing farmers market by my home (almost a magical place) and there would be nothing more amazing than learning how to cook these wonderful foods. my husband only eats veggies, fish and tofu so it only helps. one question, what is umpkin and raisin adobo?

    sounds amazing. hugz to you! i really have enjoyed your blog!

    • Pumpkin and raisin adobo is something I need to post a recipe for! You just cut up a pumpkin, toss with raisins and olive oil and adobo spices (ground chiles, salt, and cumin) and simmer until tender.

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