To Bean, or Not To Bean...
Nov. 2, 2011 8:35 pm
Updated: Nov. 3, 2011 6:52 am
That is the Question!
I admit it -- I love meat, particularly red meat. I'm a carnivore and proud of it! So I am always a bit suspect of "vegans" and their meat-free ways. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good salad, and I've even gone meatless
for a day (but those days are few and far between). However, I have embarked on an "adventure in healthier eating," which means I am spending more time perusing AllRecipes.com to find healthy things to try. And so today, I stumbled upon this:
Vegan Bean Taco Filling. Now normally, being the meat-lover I am, I would have skipped over that in a heartbeat, but I want to have more heartbeats and so I gave it a once-over. It had lots of things I liked, and the usual suspects for a taco filling
-- cumin, chili powder, cayenne, onions and bell peppers. What it lacked was meat. The meat was replaced with black beans. I like black beans okay, but I've never once considered using it to replace good ol' ground beef... EVER. But I was intrigued, and
the reviews were pretty good.
And about lunchtime, my wife calls. She is on her way home, and is going to stop by the store for some basics.
"Do I need anything?"
I don't know what came over me, but I started to rattle off the ingredients for this recipe. My wife, a bit confused, asks, "Are you going to take over the weekday cooking too?" She needn't worry, her cooking time is secure. I'm just experimenting with new
things as I come across them. Being a loving, patient partner for life that she is, she bought all the things I asked for without a complaint or anything. I think she was probably giggling to herself, to be honest.
When I get home, I proceed to pull up the recipe and get to work. I followed the recipe with two very minor exceptions. 1) I used a few sprays of cooking spray instead of the olive oil. 2) I did NOT use 1 tsp. of cayenne pepper. Had I used that much cayenne,
my wife would have probably spit it out and divorced me on the spot; she has little tolerance for hot, spicy foods. Valuing my marriage, I used just a couple dashes of cayenne. You can always add more for personal tastes, but you can't take it out.
These things are healthy. For reference, 3 taco shells with this filling is healthier than one of those 6" subs you can buy at a national sub sandwich chain. Adding the toppings: diced tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, light
sour cream, a bit of mexican mix shredded cheese, and some diced avocado -- you end up about the same as the sub sandwich. To kick mine up a notch, I put a few dashes of Smoked Chipotle Tabasco Sauce on my tacos as well. This added a bit of smokiness as
well as a bit more heat than my wife likes. Along with this, my wife bought some microwave brown rice, to which she added a little salsa for a more healthy spanish rice.
But how do they taste? To my surprise, these things were very good! The filling looks a lot like ground beef, although the texture is a bit different. The various spices do a good job of bridging from meat to bean, and
you might not even notice it is not beef except for the lack of grease running down your hand.
Don't get too excited, I'm not going vegan. If you ever hear me say that I am, you can call the shrink because I most certainly will have lost my mind. But, I will use this again in the future, and if you have ever thought about making a meatless meal that
doesn't seem meatless, I would definitely suggest you have a "Taco Nite" and use this instead of ground beef or even ground turkey/chicken.
I guess the answer to the question is... To Bean!