Published by PETA.

Mexican restaurants are full of vegan options these days, but eating out isn’t always friendly on the wallet. When trying to stick to a budget, why not whip up a fiesta in your kitchen instead?

If you’ve been a long-time reader, you might realize that I have a soft spot for Mexican meals that can be made at home:

But until now, I haven’t featured my favorite “go to” Mexican meal—the taco salad.

One of the easiest versions of the taco salad is cooking veggie crumbles in a packet of store-bought taco seasoning (which usually costs less than a buck), then piling it high onto a bed of lettuce, tomato, salsa, and your other favorite toppings. You can keep it cheap by purchasing vegetables that are in season and adding inexpensive refried or black beans.

Another, less salty option is using pan-fried spicy tofu in place of the crumbles. Sprinkling a blend of cayenne, chipotle, and cumin onto the tofu while cooking will help sear their flavor into the dish, and to balance out the heat add a dollop of guacamole. Enjoy!

Spicy Tofu Taco Salads

1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp. chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 head of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 cup guacamole
Salsa (optional)

•Pat the block of tofu dry and then cut into five equal slices.

•Heat two tablespoonfuls of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, add the tofu slices and cook until it becomes golden brown on one side, about 8 to 10 minutes.

•Before flipping the tofu, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoonful cayenne, 1/2 teaspoonful chipotle, 1/4 teaspoonful cumin, and 1/4 teaspoonful salt over the uncooked side, then flip. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, and then repeat the step with the spices and salt. Remove from heat and then slice each piece into 1/2-inch strips.

•Add the remaining tablespoonful of oil to the pan and sauté the onion and bell pepper until just soft, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoonful cayenne and chipotle, then remove from heat.

•Distribute the lettuce onto four plates, add one fourth of the onions and peppers to each, add one fourth of the spicy tofu slices, and top with one-quarter cup guacamole.

•Add salsa, if desired, and serve.

Makes 4 servings


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