Sometimes cooking a delicious meal can be tough — especially when it’s the end of the work day and you can’t fathom spending hours in the kitchen. Sure, you can go for the chicken nuggets or pizza you know the kids will enjoy, but when it comes to health and sustainability, there are better options. Luckily, sustainability and food waste–focused chef, Joel Gamoran, has a recipe that will help you check all the boxes: easy, delicious and sustainable. During our recent virtual SK Conversations: Simplifying Sustainability event in partnership with Soy Connection, Joel shared that almost half the food in America gets wasted. It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially considering that so many people across the globe go hungry every day.
So, in an effort to help others be more mindful of food waste while bringing people together at the table, chef Joel gave us the step-by-step run down of his meatless soy chorizo tacos recipe. If you’re a cooking novice like me, trust me there’s no need to panic. This recipe is super simple and requires a lot of ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Plus, because Joel is a huge advocate for decreasing food waste, he encourages you to use food scraps in your kitchen that you would have otherwise thrown away like coffee grounds and stale corn tortillas (just heat them up in a skillet and they’re good as new!). And, in case you needed more of an incentive, soy is very high in nutrients (fiber, iron, calcium, etc.) so it’ll make the perfect meat alternative for kids, too.
If you’re skeptical of getting your children to eat soy, Joel — who is a dad of two kids himself — insists you won’t need to do much convincing. “Kids have more taste buds than adults, so to have something like soy — you can turn that flavor into pretty much anything. I think it’s genius for kids,” he says. “It’s super healthy and loaded with potassium so it keeps the kids nice and full. It’s got amazing nutrients so to me it’s a complete protein that you should be serving your kids.” Read below for the full recipe and Joel’s top tips for preventing food waste in the kitchen.
3 tablespoons soybean oil (commonly labeled as vegetable oil)
8 ounces roughly chopped floppy carrots, about 2-3 large carrots, carrot tops reserved
1 pound extra firm tofu, drained, patted dried and broken into large chunks
4 ounces double concentrated tomato paste
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely chopped
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1⁄2 cup plain soy milk-based yogurt
1 avocado, pitted and skin removed
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro stems
8 stale corn tortillas
Cilantro leaves to garnish
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Various Spices Needed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon used coffee grounds
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Heat 3 tablespoons of soybean oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Using soybean oil will ensure that we maintain a neutral flavor profile, but also get a nice char on our soy chorizo because of soybean oil’s high smoke point.
2. To the base of a food processor, add in the chopped carrots and pulse until fine. Add in the crumbled tofu and pulse until the mixture is the size of crumbled meat.
3. To the heated pan, add in the carrot-tofu mixture and allow to cook for 5 minutes untouched. Stir and continue to cook until the mixture has browned.
4. Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix together the cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, oregano, garlic powder, coffee grounds, granulated onion, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt.
5. Sprinkle the spices over the browned tofu mixture and stir. Add in the tomato paste, chopped chipotle pepper and chipotle sauce. Cook for 2 minutes allowing it to caramelize.
6. Finish by adding in the soy sauce, for a nice umami flavor, and stir to combine.
7. While the soy chorizo finishes cooking, in a small bowl, mix together the yogurt with the juice and zest from half a lime. Season with salt to taste.
8. Place the avocado on a cutting board and squeeze the juice from the remaining lime half over the top. Using a fork, mash the avocado along with a tablespoon of cilantro stems and a tablespoon of chopped carrot tops. Season with salt.
9. Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Place a tortilla in the pan to warm for 10 seconds and then flip and warm for another 10 seconds. Remove to a plate and cover with a tea towel. Repeat until all tortillas have been heated through.
10. When the soy chorizo is cooked through, build the tacos by adding a spoonful of chorizo to the middle of a warmed tortilla. Top with a drizzle of the lime soy milk yogurt, some smashed avocado and cilantro leaves.
This article is created by SheKnows for Soy Connection and the United Soybean Board.