I’m kind of surprised that these taquitos didn’t end up a complete dog’s breakfast. You see, yesterday my brain took a holiday from cooking mode. A rare occasion, I’m telling you. Gawd, most of my dreams are about food and nightmares involve someone stealing my baking equipment. Lame, I know. So weirdness aside, without my permission my brain decided to take leave of all basic cooking instincts. First, I spattered chunks of frozen berry all over myself when making a smoothie for breakfast. Who knew that you needed liquid to puree hard ingredients in a hand blender? Well I actually did know that. Unfortunately my wits were on sabbatical. I guess it did serve as good but messy reminder. Secondly, I almost killed off the yeast in my Chelsea Buns. Someone thought it would be a good idea to reduce electricity usage and prove the dough in the sun, rather than in a very low oven. That someone then became so absorbed in her university research that she failed to see that the sun had moved and the dough was sitting in the shade. Thirty minutes later that same someone emerged from the computer screen to discover that the dough had not risen and was quite, quite cold. Cue cursing. Luckily the yeast valiantly decided to hold in there and the dough proved fine once I reverted back to the more ‘conventional’ method. The buns were slightly heavier than usual but still super tasty, which was a relief. After that episode I was rather apprehensive about cooking dinner – who knew what stupid thing I would do next?
Thankfully my brain decided that eight hours holiday from food was sufficient and started functioning again, just in time for preparing dinner. Or what’s more likely is that this dish is so easy you could do it with your eyes closed. Or without a brain. Either way, these vegetarian taquitos turned out just as delicious as the last time I made them. Shanon from The Curvy Carrot had the genius idea of dipping the tortillas in hot veggie stock before filling and rolling. The result? A cross between a taco and burrito. Soft in the centre yet crispy on the outer edges. The best of both worlds rolled into one! I used wholemeal tortillas, as I like the nuttiness they bring to the dish, however plain would work perfectly fine too. My sister was slightly greatly peeved that the taquitos didn’t contain enough cheese to feed a mouse army, however I think that a smaller amount actually works better. Just enough for a little melty-ness but not to the degree that all you can taste is cheese, cheese and more cheese. If, however, you are a fan of that you may certainly add more if you wish – I won’t stop you! Be warned that this is a mild taquito – if you want yours to have some grunt to it then up the anti on the chilli powder or whack in a dash of Tabasco.
Serve the taquitos with whatever garnishes/toppings take your fancy. I’m partial to cubes of avocado and tomato with a spoonful of aioli and sprinkling of fresh coriander. The aioli, if you invest in a good quality brand (we like Paul Newman), works brilliantly – dare I say better than sour cream. And it contains garlic, a vegetable, therefore it counts as one of your five-a-day, right?
Even if you’re cooking wits have completely abandoned you, as mine did yesterday, I can guarantee (well 99.9% of the time) that this dish will not fail. Additionally, if you have a busy week looming you can whip up a big batch of the filling at the start of the week. Then all you have to do is roll them up and bake each evening, thereby avoiding any possibility of disaster due to muddle-headedness and/or exhaustion. Enjoy!
Serves 4 – 6.
2 tsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
¼ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 field mushrooms, stalks removed and thinly sliced
2 cups baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1 tomato, grated
400g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed. Mash half of the beans with a fork.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup grated cheese – vintage cheddar or gouda work well
Handful fresh coriander leaves
6 wholemeal 8-inch tortillas
Avocado/tomato/salsa/sour cream/aioli etc. to serve
Preheat oven to 200C. Lightly grease a baking tray (must have inch or so deep sides).
Heat the oil in a saucepan or large, deep frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until starting to go see-through and soft, stirring regularly.
Add the garlic, spices and oregano and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Now add the tomato paste and cook for a further minute to caramelise.
Throw in the mushrooms, spinach, grated tomato and beans (both whole and mashed). Cook, stirring regularly, for ten minutes or until the mushrooms have released their juices. Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile bring the stock to a gentle simmer in a 20cm frying pan.
Use tongs (or fingers if you find it easier) to briefly dip a tortilla into the stock. Allow the excess to drip off (you don’t want them soggy, just moist) and place on a chopping board. Spoon a heaped quarter cup of the bean mixture down the centre of the tortilla and top with about a tablespoon of grated cheese and a sprinkling of fresh coriander leaves. Roll the tortilla tightly and place seam down in the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining five tortillas.
Sprinkle the tortillas lightly with sea salt for an extra crunch.
Bake for about fifteen minutes or until the edges of the taquitos are beginning to crisp up and turn golden brown. Use a spatula to carefully transfer the taquitos to plates.
Garnish with toppings of choice.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original. Inspired by The Curvy Carrot.