The vegan taco is a complex (plant-based) creature. There are a lot of recipes out there using various ingredients to try and replicate the taste and sometimes the texture of heavily-seasoned ground beef.
When I was omni, I was pretty particular about what I would and wouldn’t eat when it came to meat. I think I’ve mentioned before how ground beef and I never really got along. Tacos were the grand exception. My mom was able to cook up a batch of taco meat that would blow your socks off just from the smell. When I go to make tacos, it’s that flavor I’m looking for. I have a problem with TVP tacos because they’re way too close to the feel of ground beef for comfort, and tend to have a soy-ish aftertaste.
So I was quite happy to discover the recipe for chickpea tacos in the Happy Herbivore cookbook. I was first turned on to roasted chickpeas during World Go Vegan Week, when I made them as one of the refreshments for the talk I gave on veganism. I haven’t had a chance to make any since then, but I love the concept. And since the basis of this recipe was to coat a bunch of chickpeas in an intense taco spice blend and roast them, I couldn’t resist.
The kitchen smelled amazing when these were roasting. It was akin to the way I remember tacos smelling when my mom made them, but without the rather distressing beefy undertones.
Instead of taco shells, I put the chickpeas in a wrap with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, salsa, and vegan sour cream (recipe from the same cookbook!), sort of like a burrito or soft taco. I thought about making a cheesy sauce, but didn’t get around to it. Something with a cheddar or jack flavor would have been pretty awesome, though.
Even without “cheese,” these were great tacos! I wound up roasting the chickpeas for about 35 minutes and the texture was very nice. Firm but not too hard, with a little crisp around the outside where the taco seasoning cooked on. I think the next time I make these I’m going to spring for the blue corn tortilla shells pictured in the book. Because, y’know…blue corn.
Question for the comments: What’s the best vegan taco recipe you’ve tried? Why is it your favorite?