Black beans and harissa tacos with pickled red cabbage
Lately tacos have been my go to dish for a quick lunch or dinner. If you have the basic components on hand, taco making is quick and easy. I usually have a stack of white corn tortillas in the fridge (don’t keep them in the freezer) and from there it’s easy to layer a taco from filling to garnish to sauce. Since I keep my kitchen vegetarian bean base is often what I use as a filling and the one I offer here can be made with beans you cooked from scratch of from good quality canned organic black beans.
The key flavouring agent in this recipe is harissa – a north African spicy condiment made from a blend of hot chilli peppers, tomatoes, cumin, coriander and other spices that are also used in Mexican cuisine. A little bit of harissa goes a long way so start with less and you can always add more. I buy the harissa in a bottle and it’s fairly mild, but I am sure spice levels differ among the various brands. Taste yours to see how hot it is. There are recipes available to make harissa from scratch but I have never tried them.
One new garnish I am using here is from my friend Colleen’s blog, aptly called The Food Blog. Colleen makes a delicious pickled red cabbage and I have been making it regularly lately and keeping it in a jar in the fridge to top tacos, vegetarian burgers and other dishes. I have a similar recipe for pickled beets from my mother-in-law, but it’s slightly sweeter. The pickled cabbage that Colleen makes is more savoury and quite delicious.
As for the tortillas – I grill them over the gas flame until slightly charred on each side, but you have to watch it as they go from golden in spots to burnt very quickly. I don’t use any oil in this process. You can heat them on a griddle with a little oil if you prefer.
2 cups cooked black beans
3 or more tablespoons harissa (depending on the spice level)
A small handful of cilantro, chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
Pickled red cabbage (recipe from The Food Blog)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
Taco sauce or another hot sauce
Warm up the cooked or canned beans in the microwave for a minute or so, then roughly mash with a potato masher but not to a paste. some beans can remain whole.
Add the harissa and taste, adding more if necessary.
Add the jalapeno if using and mix it in.
Add salt to taste.
Fold in the chopped cilantro.
Grill the corn tortillas over a gas flame or on a lightly oiled griddle until charred in spots.
Fill with the beans, then top with shredded carrots, lettuce and the pickled cabbage.
Drizzle with the taco sauce and serve warm.