Father’s Day is always a bit bitter sweet for me as I lost my father at a very young age. I am extremely lucky though because I have so many men in my life who have stepped in and become so important and a support system for me. So, I absolutely love the opportunity to celebrate them each year and all the men around me who are hard-working, caring, supportive, and loving fathers.
I think one of the best ways to celebrate wonderful people is to make them a wonderful home cooked meal. This Father’s Day was absolutely gorgeous outside and I felt like the sun soaked day was begging to be topped off with a taco bar.
Making a taco bar is not only a simple and attainable meal but it becomes an interactive one. Everyone has to build their own meal at the table and by virtue of sharing the ingredients on the table, conversations begin. Anything we can do to help create more table talk is worth it. Especially when spending a day to reflect and celebrate the important men in our lives.
I have to say that yet again I must thank the food magicians at Field Roast Grain Meat Co, for their Mexican Chipotle Vegan Sausage that allowed a family of meat-eaters to not bat an eye when I made all vegan taco fillings! Seriously guys this company is a staple in my household and their vegan sausages and cheeses have made my recipe development a breeze.
I would also like to send a shout out to my loyal and forever kind of friends, Cumin and Chili Powder. These two simple spices can be found anywhere and should have a permanent residency in your spice cabinet. The two alone can transform any dish into a Mexican Paradise and have your taste buds buzzing around.
Here is a quick breakdown of the taco fillings that I chose, however you can substitute or add anything that strikes your fancy! (Also-this was for a group of 5 people eating and I had tons of leftovers which will be making for an amazing little rice bowl! Look out tomorrow for that recipe!!)
- 1 cup of Mexican Green Rice, click for recipe
- Cumin Powder
- Chili Powder
- Salt and Black Pepper
- 1 onions, sliced thinly into strips
- 3 large bell peppers, sliced thinly into strips
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- about 6-8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 4 links of Mexican Chipotle Sausage, crumbled with hands
- 1 can of organic black beans
- 1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
- 2 slices of Tomato Cayenne Chao cheese, sliced into tiny strips
- Fresh Guacamole
- 3 avocados, mashed with fork
- 1 large handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 vine ripe tomato, roughly chopped
- the juice of 1 lime
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- salt and pepper
- 1 vine ripe tomato, roughly chopped
- cilantro for garnish
- chopped jalapeno for garnish
- a package of soft corn (or flour) tortillas
To begin, start cooking your Mexican Green Rice (click link for the recipe).
While the rice is cooking, you can begin to caramelize your sliced onions. Place the onions into a medium-sized skillet on low heat with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. The onions will be cooking low and slow until they naturally begin to brown. This will take anywhere from 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent any sticking.
As the onions are browning, you can take out a second medium/large skillet and place it on medium heat with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add in 1 clove of your minced garlic. Then add in your thinly sliced bell peppers and let them cook down for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the peppers with about a tablespoon of both cumin and chili powder and stir. Then add in sea salt and black pepper to taste. The peppers will begin to breakdown and brown just like the onions. Once they have a nice even browning on all sides you can remove them from the heat and spoon them into a bowl to save for later.
By this time, your onions should be just about done. They can also be removed from the heat and placed into a bowl for later. Keep both skillets out and return them both to a medium heat. Place your sliced mushrooms in one of the skillets and your crumbled sausage into the other. You can use the leftover olive oil in the pans to coat both your mushrooms and sausage. If too dry you can drizzle a little bit more oil into the skillets. Add in a clove of your minced garlic into both skillets and let the garlic cook with your mushrooms and sausage.
The mushrooms will take about 3 minutes to cook down fully. Coat your mushrooms with 1 teaspoon of cumin and chili powder, then add salt and pepper to taste. You will see the mushrooms brown and when they are evenly cooked you can remove them from the heat and place them into a bowl.
The sausage crumbles do not need much seasoning as they are already packed with amazing chipotle flavor. However, I would add a pinch of salt and pepper to the skillet and stir. This will bring out the flavors of the sausage even more. The crumbles will begin to brown after 2 minutes. Once they have a nice brown on all sides, you can place them into a bowl and remove them from the heat.
You can microwave your black beans and corn or place them into one of your skillets to warm up. I chose to use the skillet method and returned one of the skillets to a low heat. Pour your can of organic black beans into the skillet along with your rinsed and drained corn. Stir them together and sprinkle a little cumin into the skillet. Allow the beans and corn to heat together for 3 minutes or until hot, then remove from heat and place in a bowl. (They are both already cooked so this is really just to warm them up and to give them a little extra flavor.)
Now that your fillings are all done you can begin to make your guacamole if you are making it fresh. Simply place all of the guacamole ingredients into a bowl and mash them together until smooth. If you want a chunkier texture you can leave the avocado and tomato in larger pieces.
Place your sliced Chao cheese into a small bowl. Then begin to set your table for taco night. If needed you can warm any of the bowls filled with your taco fillings or place them directly onto the table.
Serve with your warm corn tortillas and any garnishes you would like. I chose to chop fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapeno as garnishes for my tacos but you can use anything you’d like. Give everyone a plate and fork and let the fun begin!