Tacos have become one of my go-to meals that I never get tired of. Perhaps this is influenced by my trip to Mexico City last year, or perhaps influenced to my healthy obsession with Bar Clavel, an amazing Mexican restaurant a few minutes from my house in Baltimore, Maryland. Either way, I always seem to have the taste of tacos on the brain.
In 2019, I took a trip to Mexico City and it was outstanding. The food was so delicious and I learned so much. Since then I have sought out more traditional Mexican food and I’ve found that the signs of a legit, traditional taco are these:
– small corn tortillas, handmade of course! (mine at home are not, I have not taken on that challenge yet)
– a little bit of filling on the tortilla
– fresh cilantro and white onion, chopped
– a variety of sauces on the side, mild or hot
– fresh cucumber slices, radish rounds, and lime wedges on the side
I think many Americans have a very Americanized picture of tacos in their mind – it’s something like ground beef spiced with a taco-seasoning packet, stuffed inside a hard taco shell and topped with shredded cheddar cheese and iceberg lettuce. This was my idea of tacos in the past, too!
Of course now I am swapping veggies for the ground beef, but I also want to make something more… authentico. I love learning about different cultures, traveling, and trying all sorts of foods and using those experiences to create something similar at home in my kitchen!
Although my recipe here is very simple, it is very tasty and can be customized easily. You can add in other sliced veggies like squash, tomatoes, and cactus (nopales). You can also make it as spicy as you like!
I believe the key to a more traditional Mexican vegetarian taco is using poblano peppers, as this has been a constant theme in my experience. Poblanos have a dark earthy flavor compared the bright green flavor of a bell pepper. If you can’t find poblanos though, then use bell pepper. Also fun fact – when dried, poblano peppers are called ancho chiles.
As always, I hope you enjoy! Stay healthy!
Traditional Style Vegetarian Tacos
Makes about 8 tacos
A few ingredients make the most delicious vegetarian tacos. Inspired by traditional Mexican recipes and my travels to Mexico, I’m keeping it simple and quick with this easy taco recipe! See the notes about sides before you start.
Author: Leah Romay
- 8 small corn tortillas
- 3 cups mushrooms, such as cremini or shiitake, sliced
- 1 large red onion, sliced into strips
- 5-6 poblano peppers, sliced into strips
- 3/4 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup water
- 1 T chili powder
- 1/4 t ancho chile powder
- 1/2 t dried oregano
- 1/2 t cumin
- 1/2 t salt
- fresh cilantro, to garnish
- Cucumber slices, radish slices, and lime wedges – to garnish
- Heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 min.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and poblanos.
- Add the spices and salt. Add about 1/2 cup of water and stir to combine all.
- Continue to cook for another 10-12 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. If the pan becomes dry during this time, add a splash more of the water to loosen anything that is sticking.
- Once the vegetables are tender, add the corn and cook for another minute until heated through.
- Warm the tortillas right before serving. I find that store bought corn tortillas can easily crack. Wrap a stack of tortillas in a damp tea towel and microwave for 1-2 minutes until they are steamy. The steam will help to soften the tortillas and make them more supple.
- To serve – place a small amount of the filling on each tortilla. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a big squeeze of lime. Serve with your favorite hot sauce or salsa verde.
– serve the tacos with hot sauce of your choice or with salsa verde
– it is typical to have tacos served with slices of radish and cucumber on the side
– side dishes to accompany the tacos could include black beans, red rice, or guacamole
– try adding summer squash, sliced tomatoes, or nopales slices to mix it up