Monday 11 December 2017

Forkful's speedy suppers: Veggie Tacos

Veggie tacos. Photo: Mark Duggan
Veggie tacos. Photo: Mark Duggan

Aoife McElwain

Heatwave! Well, that's what we've been promised but we may have upgraded the garden furniture prematurely. Still, there's already been some heat in this summer and we'll take what we can get. For sunnier climes, or even overcast times, tacos are the way to go for me.

Mexican food, or my inauthentic version of it, is my favourite food to feed a large crowd. Recently, I served up two whole poached chickens with a chocolate-tinged mole sauce for 15 people. It makes a cook happy to see a large crowd helping themselves to a table full of shredded chicken, salsas, guacamole and mole sauce. The self-assembly nature of tacos means the cook barely breaks a sweat. I picked up the crunchy taco shells in a supermarket but I'd highly recommend Picado, a Mexican food shop on South Richmond Street in Dublin.

If you can't make it to the shop, run by Lily and Alan Foran, you can buy authentic soft corn or wheat tortillas and baked tostadas from their online shop on They also stock a range of chillis, smoked and dried, which will really help enhance your Mexican-inspired home cooking. For these tacos, I've whipped together a speedy, spicy vegetarian-friendly tomato and bean stew and smashed up a creamy avocado. I've topped off the stuffed tacos with dollops of sour cream, a pinch of paprika and a squeeze of lime.

We've been bringing you speedy suppers every week on these pages for over two years. I've learned a lot from writing this column and I often refer to the recipes I've shared here when I'm in need of my own quick dinner. But all things come to an end and it's time for us to move on. Thank you for reading and visit us on for more recipes.

Veggie Tacos

Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


1 small onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 red chillis

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

Half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon of brown sugar



1 corn on the cob

1 x 400g tin of mixed beans

1 ripe avocado

1 lime

1 tub of sour cream

Fresh coriander


1. Heat some oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Finely dice the onion, garlic and chillis. Add the onion to the pan and fry for 10 minutes before adding the garlic and chillis. Fry for a further couple of minutes, until the garlic is starting to soften. Don't allow it to burn as that will taste bitter.

2. Add a tin of tomatoes to the pan, along with the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, sugar, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce the heat to allow to simmer for 20 minutes, so that the sauce thickens a bit. 3. Meanwhile, slice your avocado and place the flesh into a bowl. Add the juice of half a lime and season with salt and pepper. Mash it up with a fork.

4. When the tomato sauce has had its 20 minutes, remove the corn kernels from the cob and place into the tomato stew. Drain the beans and add to the stew. Cook for a further 5 minutes, until the beans and corn are heated through. 5. When you're ready to serve, heat up the taco shells, tostadas or tortillas. Fill with a few spoonfuls of the tomato and bean stew, top with a dollop of smashed avocado and a spoonful of sour cream. Finish with a pinch of smoked paprika, a bit of fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime juice.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Tacos, tortillas & tostadas:

A simmered stew or a pot of braised meat works a treat when served in a taco, tortilla or tostada. But there are even speedier filling possibilities if facing kitchen fatigue. When in doubt, top a tortilla with a fried egg, some mashed up guacamole and a dash of sriracha sauce and treat yourself to breakfast or supper.

Irish Independent

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