You’re at the grocery store, trying to come up with something to make for dinner, and you’re strongly leaning towards the undeniable allure of convenience foods. Because, well, let’s be honest…they get us fed fast! But you’ve been trying to put more plants overall on your plate to boost nutrition, like beans, veggies, and fruit. If only there was a recipe that combined the best of both worlds: fresh produce and time-saving packaged foods.
Well, you’re in luck. Because today I’m sharing a recipe for exactly that. Taco bowls that are overflowing with fresh tomatoes, mango, and onion, but get a boost of flavor from frozen veggie burgers, frozen corn, and canned tomato paste, i.e. the perfect combo meal.
Are you familiar with the term umami? It’s considered by some to be the fifth flavor after salty, sweet, bitter, and sour. Some people describe it as meaty or savory, and it’s kind of universally known as a way to pump up the deliciousness of any recipe. There are lots of foods that can add the umami element to a dish, including tomato paste.
When people start eating more plant-based meals, they often say they miss the “meaty” factor of their favorite meals. So, by adding tomato paste to the bean burger patties, my hope was to give the veggies a little boost to guarantee savory satisfaction. And speaking of meat, it just so happens that this recipe serves up 23 grams of protein without a speck of meat anywhere.
One substitution you might consider is swapping out the corn or flour tortillas and swapping in almond flour tortillas. I’ve been experimenting with them myself in quesadillas, but haven’t yet tried them in this recipe. The brand I’m familiar with is Siete. The nutritional profile is a bit different than corn or flour tortillas and they have a unique, pleasing texture.
I’ve listed my favorite toppings for taco bowls in the recipe, but of course, you could use your faves instead. I love the cool, fresh sweetness of the mango alongside anything spicy so it’s a must-have for these taco bowls for me.
The recipe says it serves 2, but they are generous portions. So it could easily be divided to make 3 servings instead. As written, you’re doing yourself a tremendous favor in the produce department. One taco bowl gives you 2 1/2 cups of veggies and fruit!
If you’re interested in another recipe with a similar Mexican flavor profile that’s heavy on plant protein and uses both fresh and convenience foods, consider Mini Pepper Nachos with Tempeh.
Healthy, fast meals are possible, once you find the right combination of fresh and packaged products. Maybe this recipe can be your first foray into quick, plant-based dinners. And then you’ll be off and running.