Vegetarian Tacos with Grilled Broccolini and Shiitake Mushrooms

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vegetarian tacos with grilled broccolini and shiitake mushrooms

Los Angeles is a city of new ideas. Trends start here. And I’ve been noticing a trend. Actually, it seems to be well past a trend and entering the mainstream. If you’ve been out to eat lately, chances are you see what I see: vegetables getting the star treatment. Dishes we typically think of as meat-centric often feature far less flesh than you’d expect. In fact, many traditionally meaty choices have gone vegetarian. There’s beet tartare and cauliflower steak. Bolognese is getting jazzed up with veggies too. There are even plenty of exciting choices for something I once considered taboo— vegetarian tacos.

Vegetarian Tacos

Los Angeles is known for a lot of things. I’d smugly offer that our thriving taco scene is one of them. That’s because Mexican food is the heartbeat of so much of what we eat here. We’re also a city on-the-go. Tacos were actually invented for an on-the-go lifestyle. At the same time, you simply cannot find better produce anywhere in the world. I guess that’s why there’s always been a large vegetarian scene sharing the same street corners with our ubiquitous taco stands. Naturally, these two worlds have melded. From Tacos de Calabacitas at Guisados to Danny Trejo’s Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Grilled Corn and Cashews. Chefs aren’t just trying to come up with meat substitutes but are actually rethinking tacos to create something new and altogether satisfying. This type of culinary creativity means I’ve become a big fan of vegetarian tacos and find myself experimenting whenever I can.

That’s because vegetarian tacos aren’t as much of a stretch of the imagination as you might think. Dishes made with mushrooms, corn, peppers, eggplant, and cauliflower all have some traditional regional Mexican roots and taste right at home tucked into tortillas.

Vegetarian Tacos with Grilled Broccolini and Shiitake MushroomsVegetarian Tacos with Grilled Broccolini and Shiitake Mushrooms

Grilled Broccolini and Shiitake Tacos

Even something as untypically Mexican as broccolini works well when layered with the flavors of char and chipotle. That’s because tacos, in their purest primal form, are guided by one simple rule: tacos take care and pride but not much fuss. As long as they’re built on warm, supple corn tortillas that fit in the palm of your hand, just about anything can be folded inside and minimally adorned with onion, cilantro, and hot sauce. GREG

vegetarian tacos with grilled broccolini and shiitake mushrooms

Grilled Broccolini and Shiitake Tacos

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8Published
Grilled Broccolini and Shiitake Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 pound broccolini (if you can find some with greens attached, all the better))
  • kosher salt (as needed)
  • iced water (as needed for ice bath)
  • ¼ cup canola oil (or other mild flavored oil)
  • 3 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 2 tablespoon ground chipotle chile (or more to taste)
  • 8 ounce shiitake mushrooms (stems trimmed)
  • 8-10 green onions (trimmed)
  • 8 corn tortillas (warm)
  • guacamole (for serving, to taste)
  • lime wedges (for serving, to taste)
  • cilantro (for serving, to taste)
  • ½ cup diced red onion (for serving, to taste)
  • hot sauce (for serving, to taste)

Directions

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat, or set a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, to blanch the broccolini, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Divide the broccolini into three bunches according to similar thicknesses and place one bunch into the boiling water. Cook until bright green and slightly tender, about 2 to 3 minutes depending on thickness; transfer to the ice water. Repeat with the remaining broccolini bunches. Drain and transfer to a towel to dry.

On a large, rimmed baking sheet, combine oil, garlic, half the chipotle powder, and a few big pinches of salt. Add broccolini, shiitakes, and green onions; toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining chipotle powder.

Transfer vegetables to the grill and lay each piece flat across the grates (you may use a grill basket if you like). Cook until the florets on the broccolini begin to char lightly about 3 minutes. Flip and cook all the vegetables on the other side until nicely colored and softened. The green onions will finish first, followed by the broccolini and finally the mushrooms. You might find it helpful to use a heavy pan or bacon press to assure the vegetables lie flat against the grates. Use your judgment. Transfer vegetables to a cutting board as they finish cooking. If your grilling area is not large enough to accommodate all the vegetables then grill each vegetable type separately.

Chop broccolini florets into big bites and cut the broccolini stalks and green onions into 2 to 3-inch lengths. Thinly slice the shiitakes. Serve with warm corn tortillas, guacamole, lime wedges, cilantro, red onion and hot sauce.

 

 

 

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