This is one of those dishes that keeps you going in for the next bite! It’s loaded with freshness, fun spices and flavours that satisfy all the tastebuds. The hardest part really is the prep because after you have the fillings all set up in their own bowls, you lay out all the prepared ingredients and let the diners do the work. It’s super fun to build your own taco, especially for kids (or, like my middle child boss does, keep it all separate!). I think this keeping things separate might be an age thing…my oldest piepie used to be like that but recently she has been happy to eat sandwiches and mixes things up on her plate!
I have to thank my husband’s aunt for giving me this dinner idea – when I saw her last week she was telling me about how she has been having success in finding delicious recipes that are vegetarian and vegan friendly. She was raving about a chick pea taco she made from the blog Feasting At Home. When I looked it up tonight I did not have everything the recipe called for, but I was able to adapt my own twist on it using what I had on hand.
For the Tzatziki I use a brand we love and almost always have in our fridge (Skotidakis) but of course you can make your own! When you’re in a crunch though, one less thing to make on a weeknight is a win! If you’re looking for vegan you can substitute with hummus. You can use traditional corn or flour tortillas for the taco shell part – all I had at home was left over naan bread so I cut them in half and warmed them up in the oven.
I hope you enjoy these as much as we did! It certainly hit the spot for dinner at our place on this beautiful Autumn Monday.
Tip: it’s a good idea to do some of the prep ahead of time. For example, I cooked the beets and chickpeas on the weekend when I had more time and then just kept them in the fridge to use for the week. Of course, you can also use canned chickpeas and find cooked beets in the grocery stores. But it’s a better bang for your buck when you buy the dried chickpeas and the whole beets in a bag!
serves: about 3-4 people
what you need:
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 pinch of sugar or agave nectar
- 2 red beets, cooked
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 1 very small clove of garlic
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 handful cilantro
- 1 handful of chives
- 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 cucumber
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp onion salt
- 1 tsp za’atar (a blend of spices, if you cannot find it you can leave it out)
- cooking oil (I use grape-seed oil)
- tzatziki (store-bought or make your own)
- taco shells, tortillas or naan bread
what to do:
- Prepare vegetables by washing them all well. Create shredded carrots by using a cheese grater. Slice cucumbers in half, then cut into thin half moons. Place in individual serving bowls.
- Thinly slice onion then sauté with about 2 tsp of cooking oil in a non-stick pan, until gently caramelized (lightly browned). Add a pinch of sugar or a small drizzle of agave to give it a little sweetness. Set onions aside in an individual serving bowl.
- Cut grape tomatoes into quarters and mix with juice of 1/2 lemon, a pinch of salt and pepper, finely chopped cilantro, chives. Toss together and set aside.
- In the same onion pan, heat up 1 tbsp cooking oil on medium-low and add spices (cumin, onion salt, za’atar) – once you smell the aromas of the spices (about 30 seconds) – add the chickpeas and toss until all coated and warmed through. Place chickpeas in their own serving bowl.
- Prepare your taco shells (warm up soft ones in the oven, or bake the crunchy kind as indicated on the package).
- Lay out all the individual topping bowls on the table and invite everyone to build their own tacos. I like to start mine with a thick spread of Tzatziki so that the chickpeas, shredded carrots, tomatoes, beats, cucumbers and onions have something to stick to.