Last weekend I drove up to San Francisco for some much needed excitement, travel, fun and friends. Shopped at the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building where I tried some amazing fresh made tofu, hiked around Golden Gate Park, had phenomenal pumpkin curry at Marnee Thai, sampled some wine and just generally meandered around the city. It was a blast.
However, it’s funny how running around and thoroughly enjoying myself for 3 days results in complete exhaustion once I return to work and the schedule that it dictates. In short, back in LA I downshifted into lazy mode and didn’t get much writing or cooking done for the next few days. I was then pulled out of my hibernation with a brilliant idea on how to perfect recreating a taco dish from one of my favorite veg restaurants.
The veggie tacos from Natural Cafe are scrumptious; hearty, savory and warm. My numerous attempts at these tacos in the past always ended in disappointment but I realized a few things that are imperative to this dish: first, the vegetables need to marinate for several hours, and second, they need to be roasted on high heat rather than sauteed. With this in mind I was driven to try afresh; everything seemed to finally click. I altered a marinade recipe which I use for broiled portobellos and that worked perfectly. My week culminated in success, and it tasted wonderful.
You can swap out any of these vegetables for whatever you like/have on hand. I served these with a side of spicy black beans. Simple and perfect.
Makes 10-12 tacos
1 head of cauliflower, separated and cut into small florets
1 head broccoli, separated and cut into small florets
8 carrots, thinly sliced
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
10 ounces porcini mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
3/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
8 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
3-4 tablespoons shredded cheddar or vegan cheddar
10-12 tablespoons salsa (I used a serrano and tomatillo salsa)
10-12 corn tortillas (I used the blue corn variety)
Whisk all the marinade ingredients in a container that will fit in your fridge. Toss the vegetables into the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Arrange vegetables on a baking sheet, discard the marinade (or save it for more tacos later). Bake for about 20 minutes or until they start to brown. At 15 minutes, you can sprinkle the cheese on top of the vegetables and return to oven.
Warm the tortillas on the stove or in the microwave. Brush each tortilla with a tablespoon of salsa, then fill with the roasted vegetables.