With how insanely busy I’ve been with work, I’m trying to find a little bit more balance and get back to stress-free cooking, while still making sure to thoroughly test and vet each recipe that ultimately appears here – the consequence of that being that I’m very very slow-moving with recipe development at the moment. This recipe for chipotle roasted beet tacos has been sitting on the backburner since way back during the winter CSA I subscribed to this year. I hope it’s worth the wait!
I had been on quite the Ethiopian food kick making recipes from the phenomenal Teff Love cookbook, which included an interesting soft fresh “cheese” made from cashews and soy milk, called ayib (as expected, the traditional recipe is not vegan, but Teff Love is an all-vegan cookbook!). The recipe from the cookbook makes a huge batch and it was sitting in the fridge waiting for some love. The CSA had happened to deliver something like two dozen beets to me that week (seriously that’s not an exaggeration), and I had some tortillas on hand as well, so I threw together some tacos and they turned out delicious.
(P.S. I have this taco holder for anyone who is interested!)
Of course, it wasn’t until just this past week that I ended up with more beets in my fridge and the chance to remake these tacos to confirm that they are in fact blog-worthy. (I’ve also tweaked the ayib recipe a little bit to go in a more tex-mex direction). It has been confirmed. These roasted beet tacos are wonderful. The beets are spicy and have a great bite to them; the cashew queso fresco is creamy and tangy; and the fresh notes from the pico de gallo bring everything together. Cilantro haters don’t fear – these taste just fine without the green stuff all over them (or feel free to use chopped green onions instead).
If it’s too hot to turn on the oven where you are (goodness knows that’s becoming the case here in Baltimore), these tacos would also work with steamed or pan-roasted beets (after cooking, proceed to marinate them per the recipe instructions), although I recommend roasting for the best flavor.
- 3 c. plain, unsweetened, full-fat soy milk (the kind made with no ingredients other than soybeans, water, and maybe salt)
- heaping ⅓ c. raw cashew pieces, soaked in hot water for at least 3 hours, then drained
- ½ tsp. sea salt, plus to taste
- 2 tb. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tb. rice vinegar
- ½ tsp. coconut sugar or other sugar
- (optional) 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
- ⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus to taste
- 3 medium beets, scrubbed
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. ground coriander seed
- ¼ tsp. ground cumin seed
- 3 tb. freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ tb. coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1 to 2 tb. additional adobo sauce (to spice preference)
- about 6 large tortillas or 8-10 small (use corn tortillas for GF)
- ½ recipe cashew queso fresco (above)
- chipotle-marinated roasted beets (above)
- pico de gallo or other chunky salsa of choice
- (optional) fresh cilantro or green onion
- In a blender or food processor combine the soy milk and cashew pieces until smooth (I do this with just one cup of the soy milk and add the rest afterward, since my blender is quite small).
- Straining through a sieve if necessary, add the mixture to a saucepan along with the sea salt. Stirring occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom, heat over medium-high heat just until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Immediately remove the pan from the heat and quickly (and gently) stir in the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and sugar. The mixture should curdle almost immediately.
- Cover the mixture and let it cool completely. Stir in the nutritional yeast (if using) and black pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as desired (I add quite a bit more salt).
- Transfer the mixture into a sieve or over a strainer lined with cheesecloth, and place it over a bowl to catch the liquid. Cover and refrigerate, letting drain for at least 2 hours but up to 24 hours.
- At this point you can transfer it to a regular container and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap each of the beets tightly in tinfoil and place them in a glass baking dish.
- Roast until tender all the way through, about 60 minutes. Remove the beets from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes.
- Unwrap the beets and remove the peels - they should slide off easily. Cut the beets into small cubes and place them in a glass or metal bowl (to avoid staining!). To the bowl, add chipotle pepper, spices, lime juice, and sugar and stir. Add adobo sauce to taste to reach your desired level of spiciness (I used about 1 and ½ tb., but I like my food pretty spicy). Add more sugar, lime juice, or salt to taste as well.
- Let the beets marinate in the mixture for at least an hour before serving.
- (Optional) heat your tortillas over medium heat in a dry skillet to warm and soften them.
- Spread a generous dollop of cashew queso fresco onto the tortilla, followed by a spoonful of marinated beets. Top with pico de gallo and fresh cilantro.
- Enjoy and have napkins ready!
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce freeze very well. Chop up the peppers and stir them back together with the sauce, then freeze in an ice cube tray. Once complete frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag. They will keep for weeks or even months. I measure out one tablespoon of the mixture into each slot of the ice cube tray so that I already know what the measurement is for recipes.
Cashew queso fresco adapted from Teff Love. Beet roasting method from Bobby Flay.