I love Mexican food! It's very easy to eat vegetarian and vegan when one eats Mexican, and the food can be so fresh and flavourful and healthy. Recently I was in southern California and was able to eat at three different Mexican restaurants. Each time I had something different and each time my meals were vegan. Here are photos of a couple of those meals.
This meal is spinach enchiladas in tomatillo sauce. (I ate this in Long Beach). The usual beans and rice came with the meal as well as a plop of sweet corn mush. The beans were not refried but rather more like baked beans and quite yummy. The corn mush was also tasty. However, the spinach enchiladas were delicious. I plan on recreating that tomatillo sauce very soon. If I'm successful, I'll share the recipe with you.
This meal is a burrito filled with beans and vegetables and accompanied by refried beans, rice and salad. I ate this in Yucca near Joshua Tree National Park.
In Long Beach, there is a "fast food" Mexican restaurant (actually it's a chain restaurant found all over the U.S. and in some cities in Canada, but not Vancouver) called Chipotle. There they serve up burritos and bowls with your choice of meat (chicken, beef, pork), choice of beans (black or pinto), choice of salsas (3 kinds varying in degree of hotness), choice of rice (white or brown) plus sauteed vegetables, cheese, guacamole, lettuce. I had a black bean vegan bowl when I was there - no meat, no cheese, but plenty of vegetables. It was delicious. When I got home I recreated it. Here it is:
(serves 2 with a bit left over)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tsp veg oil
dash of salt
1 tsp cumin
1 little can green chilies
1 1/2 cups black beans
In a frying pan, saute the onions and garlic together in the oil for a few minutes. Add the salt and spices and cook for another minute. Add the chilies and the black beans and a bit of water. Stir together and mash a bit against the side of the pan until mixed to your satisfaction - depends on if you like your beans mushy or chunky.
This picture isn't the greatest. You can see, though, that the beans are not mushed up much. That's how I decided to make them this time.
1 tsp veg oil
1 red or yellow or red bell pepper, cut in slices
1 onion, sliced
several handfuls of chopped spinach
Heat the oil in a frying pan, then sautee the pepper and onion until soft and shiny. Add a bit of water while you are sauteeing to prevent sticking if necessary. Throw in the spinach, stir, put the lid on and let the spinach steam until wilted.
1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup lime juice
handful of chopped cilantro
Cook the rice in your rice cooker (or however you usually cook rice). Stir the lime juice in when rice is cooked and still hot. Let sit for a few minutes so rice can absorb the lime juice. Stir in the cilantro.
By the way, I first cooked the rice in the rice cooker and used lime juice as part of the liquid. That didn't work very well - the lime juice caused the rice to burn on the bottom! I think it's better to add the lime juice after the rice is cooked. Fresh lime juice is best, of course.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp lime juice
Scoop the avacado into a bowl and mash. Mash in the garlic and stir in the lime juice.
Putting it together:
Salsa (we use Herdez - sooooooooooo good)
In big individual bowls, layer the food as follows:
- about 1/2 cup rice
- about 3/4 cup beans
- 1/2 of the sauteed vegetables
- a generous plop of guacamole
- about 1/4 cup salsa or however much you want
- lots and lots of shredded lettuce
Eat and enjoy!