I’m a big advocate of a stocked pantry because it makes so many meals possible on a whim. Even with minimal fresh produce selection on hand, I can rustle up something amazing if I have my basement pantry stock lined up (and I do line up and front-face the shelves like a grocery store hehe). People coming over with dietary restrictions or allergies? Not an issue because I always have all the flours, alternative milks, nuts/seeds, and grains and other foundations at a par stock level. Only one sad sweet potato, an onion, and a couple handfuls of chopped kale in the fridge? That’ll be soup in no time with tinned tomatoes, veg stock, whatever grains and beans I’m fancying, and spices. You get the idea.
Tacos are one of my go-tos when the fresh produce selections are slim and I don’t have time/energy to go to the store. You can roast a vegetable (whatever you have), rinse some beans or make a spiced meaty nut crumble like we do here, pickle some cabbage (cabbages are practically a pantry item because they seem to last forever), whizz up a little creamy sauce out of cashews or tahini, and if you’re really ambitious, press and cook up your own tortillas from whatever flour you like. I got myself a tortilla press (this one) a little over a year ago and I use it often, like almost every time we eat tacos-often. They are incredibly easy to make, you get to control the quality of ingredients, and they taste miles away better than most store bought options. My preferred homemade tortilla is made with cassava flour because they taste great, the texture is tender but still pliable/flexible, and the “dough” itself is easy to work with. Sometimes I spike the mix with turmeric or beet powder for a little colour play. Taco party? Taco party!
SWEET POTATO PECAN TACOS WITH CASSAVA TORTILLAS, QUICK PICKLED CABBAGE & CASHEW SOUR CREAM
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: Makes 10 tacos
NOTES: I honestly don’t expect anyone to follow this entire recipe from beginning to end. If you want to buy tortillas, go for it! If you want to use some butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes, I commend that autumnal dinner move. Pecans aren’t your thing? Try a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds. This recipe is more of a pick-and-choose menu of taco enhancement strategies :)
-Typically quick pickled vegetables always have some sugar or something sweet in the mix. I left it out and enjoyed the cabbage all the same. Add 1-2 teaspoons of cane sugar if you like that vibe!
-Lisa from Downshiftology taught me how to make cassava tortillas. I make a couple tiny changes to her recipe, but credit where credit is due.
QUICK PICKLED CABBAGE & RED ONIONS
½ small head red cabbage, shredded
1 small red onion, finely sliced into half moons
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup filtered water
CASHEW SOUR CREAM
¾ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour and drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup filtered water
SWEET POTATO & PECAN FILLING
1 medium sweet potato (about 1 lb or 454 grams), peeled
3 teaspoons taco seasoning, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
¾ cup raw pecan halves
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon coconut aminos (or tamari)
chopped cilantro, for garnish
ROSY CASSAVA TORTILLAS
1 ½ cups cassava flour
1 tablespoon beet root powder (optional, adds rosy hue & mild sweet taste)
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup warm filtered water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Make the quick pickled cabbage: Add the cabbage and red onions to a medium bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and water. Once the salt is dissolved, pour the mixture over the cabbage and red onions. Stir to mix. Then, press the cabbage down so as to submerge as much of it as you can. As the cabbage sits, more liquid will accumulate and cover the cabbage. Cover the cabbage and set aside in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Make the cashew sour cream: In an upright blender, combine the drained cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and water. Blend on high until you have a smooth and creamy consistency. Transfer cashew sour cream to a sealed container and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Make the sweet potato & pecan filling: Dice the peeled sweet potato into 1-inch cubes. Transfer the cubes to a baking sheet and toss with 2 teaspoons of the taco seasoning, the olive oil, some salt, and pepper. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and roast until sweet potatoes are browned and soft, about 35 minutes. Keep warm.
While sweet potatoes are roasting, make crumbled pecan “meat”: In a food processor, combine the pecan halves, remaining teaspoon of taco seasoning, tomato paste, coconut aminos, salt, and pepper. Pulse the food processor until you have a crumbly mixture that tastes good. Adjust for seasoning if necessary and set aside.
Make the cassava tortillas: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cassava flour, beet powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the olive oil and lemon juice, and whisk these into the dry mixture until you see little mealy bits. Then, add the water. Switch to stirring with a spatula. Stir the tortilla mixture until you have a unified, ever-so-slightly sticky textured tortilla dough. Divide the dough into 10 even balls and cover with a clean towel.
Heat a skillet or crepe pan over medium high heat. Using a tortilla press, flatten the balls to about 6-inches in diameter. Carefully transfer the pressed tortilla to your skillet and cook until lightly browned and dried out, about 30 seconds. Flip the tortilla to brown the other side for 30 seconds more.
Transfer the cooked tortilla to a plate and cover with a clean towel. Repeat cooking process with remaining balls of dough. Keep tortillas warm and covered.
Assemble the tacos!: In each tortilla spoon a bit of the pecan taco “meat.” Top that with some roasted sweet potato pieces. Garnish each taco with a tangle of the pickled cabbage, a drizzle of the cashew sour cream, and some chopped cilantro.