God bless veggie ground round – the McDonald’s of non-meat grocery-store shopping.

It certainly has its uses. In a bolognese? Please! You’re talking to an Italian girl here. But in burritos and enchiladas and veggie chili, it’s a nice little hit of protein. Still, I do feel dirty when I toss it in the cart. I’m always looking for a whole-food alternative.

So I pounced when a friend sent me this recipe yesterday for vegetarian tacos with a lentil base. As you’ve heard, Wayne the pescatarian isn’t fussy on legumes. That means I find myself getting really sick of fish in these parts. So today: a challenge.

While Booboo pulled all the tupperware out of the tupperware cupboard, I chopped two onions (the recipe calls for one, but I wanted to add as much pow – and lentil coverup – as possible) and three cloves of garlic (calls for one. But who adds one clove of garlic to anything? Puritans). They got sautéed in my high-sided frying pan, and I salted the hell out of them to make them tasty for the naysayer.

Then in went the cumin, chili powder, oregano and a can of lentils (another substitute. I worried about cooking them from dried for Wayne, whose idea of a perfect bean is the black textureless paste of refried).

I mashed things up a bit with a potato masher, stirred in salsa (1/4 to 1/2 of what the recipe called for) and supper was done. It was 4:45 p.m. The sun was still shining. Wayne wasn’t even home from the passport office yet. There was still tupperware to be pulled from the tupperware cupboard! Score one for Marion Cunningham.

I turned off the lentils, turned up Booker T and arranged the accoutrements: fat slices of avocado, grated cheese for Wayne. I made a quick salad with the marinated onions you’ve heard me talk about, and crawled around on the floor, growling along with the baby, till Wayne came home. He met the lentils with silence.

Here is supper, sun still shining.

I never did buy taco shells, so we ate our tacos as burritos in wholegrain wraps. Amigos, they were tasty.

And yes, Wayne really liked them, too.

He said he would have liked them better if they’d been served with chopped tomatoes for juiciness and brightness to balance the depth of the lentils (and – well done, Wayne – the recipe actually calls for them, but I was out). He thought a fresh chopped salsa would also work – it’s something we used to make all the time, out of tomatoes, salt, pepper, a little olive oil, chopped green onion and cilantro.

Appraisal: success. Tasty, vegetarian, no special shopping – and low-maintenance. I haven’t eaten supper that early since 1992!

This recipe goes on the remember-to-make-after-returning-to-work-and-the-shit-hits-the-fan list – along with a similar recipe for just as quick enchiladas from Chatelaine, which are crazy-yummy and always satisfy my takeout craving. (When you click to it, you’ll see it’s a beef recipe that includes a veg substitution.)

And now over to you, Marion. Your favourite meatless Mexican mains for Wayne, please – for whom the Year of the Bean has only just begun.

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