Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Healthy and Delicious Braised Greens Tacos

As good, competitive vegetarian tacos go, options are pretty limited: there's beans, and then...there's beans. I love a bean taco, but I can only eat so many. And as a meat eater, I'm not going to fall for a tofu taco. Granted, it may be pretty tasty—but why eat a vegetarian dish full of proteins that are designed, in this case, to mimic meat? So as I was flipping through the book that I often turn to first when I'm jonesing for some Mexican—Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday—this recipe stood out. I'm always looking for new ways to prepare the countless bundles of winter greens that end up in my grocery cart every week—collard, kale, all colors of chard. The fact that this was a brilliant new idea for a meatless taco was even more incentive.

It's also not a modern twist—hearty greens in a corn tortilla is a traditional preparation in Toluca in the highlands of central Mexico. Who knew? Bayless's recipe calls for some sliced onions first, which go into a big skillet to soften and caramelize, followed by garlic, a dash of chili flakes, and the greens. In the meantime I steamed the corn tortillas and made up a small batch of salsa with a handful of cherry tomatoes (the most flavorful tomato option this time of year) blistered in a dry skillet, then pureed in a food processor with a chipotle chili in adobo from the freezer (a good place to keep them, as I never use a whole can). The resulting taco was delicious—earthy and rich because of the greens, sweet from the caramelized onions, smoky from the chipotle. Crumbled queso fresco gave it all a salty twang.

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