Chickpea tacos are one of the most popular recipes on happyherbivore.com and one of my favorite healthy snacks (the chickpeas are great for nibbling!) Needless to say, I was thrilled when Michele (a.k.a a vegetarian who hates tofu) asked to guest post about them, showing how she made small changes to make the recipe "her own." That's what I love about home cooking so much: you can take a recipe and bend it to your palate, desires or simply, what you have on hand. After all, recipes are just suggestions.
So without further ado, here's Michele and her little helper:
HH: What made you cook up the chickpea tacos (p. 97)?
Michele: I started making lentil tacos a few months back because my husband missed tacos. That was my first attempt at vegan tacos and while they are quite tasty, I got bored so I needed to change it up. I flipped through my Happy Herbivore Cookbook to the chickpea taco picture and they looked so yummy I had to give it a try! The great thing is that they're totally different than the lentil tacos I had been making, in both texture and flavor, which is exactly what I was looking for.
HH: I love the idea of using lettuce cups instead of traditional taco shells because they're healthier. What gave you that idea?
Michele: Umm... I forgot to buy taco shells when I was at the grocery store! I always write a list of meals I'm planning to make that week so I can plan my grocery list and every week, no matter how organized I try to be, I forget at least one item on my list! That week I was planning for tacos and some kind of lettuce wrap for another meal but when I forgot the taco shells (and I was really in the mood for tacos, especially after deciding on the chickpea ones in your book!) I improvised and it turned out quite nicely. In fact, I am planning to make it this way again!
HH: Did the lettuce wraps add anything "extra" to the dish? For example, did they give a cool, refreshing crunch?
Michele: Absolutely! It was hot that day (humid, 95 degree Jersey weather = yuck!) and this was such a perfect dinner for a hot summer day. Even though I had to run the oven for a bit, it didn't take long to cook and it was totally worth it! The lettuce was crisp and refreshing and made it a perfect summer meal. When I made leftovers, I didn't reheat, just ate them chilled, and that was really good too and quite refreshing!
HH: Tell us about your toppings and what made you use them.
Michele: I topped the lettuce cups with some freshly picked cherry tomatoes from my garden, diced avocado, fresh cilantro and a sprinkle of crushed tortilla chips. I used the usual toppings I'd used for tacos, except that the tortilla chips (taco shell) and lettuce were reversed.
HH: What did you think of the dish?
I love it! Chickpeas are on of my favorite things in the whole world to begin with. In this dish I just love the combination of flavors in the taco seasoning and the crispness you get from roasting the chickpeas. They are just wonderful! Pair that with some fresh veggies and a creamy ripe avocado and WOW! So delicious. Also, my husband thought they'd be good with some ranch dressing drizzled on so I'll have to find a good vegan one before I make these again. Any suggestions?
HH: There is a Ranch Dressing in my cookbook (pg. 232) I bet your little helper would like the leftover ranch with carrots and celery sticks -- that was my favorite snack when I was about her age.
Thank you so much for guest posting Michele -- I LOVE the idea of lettuce wraps instead of taco shells. I'm going to try this immediately! and I'm so going to try your lentil tacos too. Yum.
Have you made HH's chickpea Tacos? How'd you make them your own?