Easy Vegan Tortilla Dinner

by Gena on October 27, 2010

Hear that? It’s the sweet sound of Hump Day.

Last week, I gave you some of my tips for throwing together a nutritionally balanced vegan dinner: what macronutrients to consider, how to pair them, and what good sources were. Today, I’m sharing a dinner that meets all of the criteria I laid out, but also boasts speed. The meal—easy vegan tortillas—isn’t raw, but it doesn’t involve cooking, either, which means that it’s an ideal way to get food on the table in a moment’s notice. And because it’s simply a mish mash of ezekiel tortillas and various fillings, it’s hopelessly easy to modify. If you’re serving someone who isn’t big on guacamole (if you are, I advise you to give him or her a strongly worded pep talk), you can substitute salsa or simply pile on the beans. If you’re serving a meat lover, throw in some seitan, tofu, or tempeh. If you’re serving kids, be aware that the cashew sour cream is going to be popular. The sky’s the limit.

My tortillas marry all of the macro groups. The black “refried” beans – which are really a black bean dip made with red pepper—provide protein, the Ezekiel tortillas provide protein and complex carbs, and the guac and sour cream add a nice healthy dose of fat. Of course, veggies are still the abundant star of the meal; aside from the beans and guac, I add grilled portobello and zucchini, and I serve the dish with a fresh salad. Tonight, it was a corn, tomato, cilantro slaw. Again, all of these components can be modified. But if you want to do it my way, here’s how.

Gena’s Easy Vegan Tortillas (serves 2-4)

For the tortillas:

4-8 small sized Ezekiel tortillas

For the fillings:

  • 3 large marinated, cooked portobello mushrooms (I used the same marinade that I use in my steak and potatoes recipe, then baked the portobello in the oven for 25 minutes at 375 degrees)
  • Grilled zucchini (I sliced 2 large zucchini the long way and grilled them over the stove with a bit of coconut oil spray, salt, pepper, andd cumin)

  • “Refried” Beans with Red Pepper (serves 4-6)
  • IMG_3611 (333x500)

2 cans organic black beans (use a BPA-free brand)
1 clove garlic, minced (NB: I don’t use this, but most people will like the taste)
2-3 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
dash cayenne
1 tsp agave
1 large or two small roasted red pepper (you can also purchase a small bottle of roasted red pepper, but I like doing mine quickly in the broiler)
1/4 cup minced red onion (optional!)

1) Drain one can of the black beans. In a food processor, combine the beans with the lime juice, garlic, salt, cumin, coriander, oregano, agave, and cayenne. Blend till very smooth, adding a little stream of water if needed to get the mixture moving.

2) When the mix is uniform and blended, drain another can of black beans, and add it to the mix, along with the pepper and onion. Pulse until beans, pepper, and onion are still a little chunky, but well incorporated. Serve!

  • Raw Cashew Sour Cream (yields about 1 1/2 cups)

Note: this recipe is basically the same as my raw whipped cream, but a savory spin!

1 1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked 2 hrs
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

Blend all ingredients in your Vitamix until smooth and fluffy. To make this in a food processor, start by blending all ingredients, minus 1/4 cup water. Stop frequently to scrape the bowl. When the mixture is quite smooth, drizzle in the last 1/4 cup water till fluffy. If at any point you need more water (in either machine) just add it, but better to start with too little than too much.

  • Corn, Tomato, and Cilantro Slaw (serves 2-4):

2 large ears corn
1 large heirloom tomato, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp dijon mustard
dash salt
dash pepper

1) Shave the corn off of the two ears with a large knife, and transfer it to a mixing bowl. Add the tomato and cilantro.

2) Whisk together the lime, oil, agave, mustard, and salt and pepper, and toss over the salad ingredients. Mix well and serve.

When everything’s ready to go, all you have to do is layer! Take two tortillas and spread them with the vegetables, beans, guac, sour cream, and slaw. As you can see below, they make nice little packages:

IMG_3615 (500x333)

And in spite of how simple this dinner is — all it really involves is lots of mixing, and any of the components can be made a day or so in advance — M deemed it his favorite dinner I’d made for him to date. Shazam!

Before I go, did anyone else see this article? How about this one? The second one is especially scary. Both detail how hard it is to actually live a whole vegan life (outside of eating a vegan diet), given how few products and accessories are actually animal-free. Of course, it’s easy to read these reports and just fall into a panic about how often you may be acting as a non-vegan consumer. My position on all of this is simply that I do my best. If I know that animal products are involved–if I see animal by products in a vitamin, for example, or if I don’t know for sure that a certain shampoo is cruelty free, or if I suspect a hair brush is made with boar bristles–then I don’t buy it. I try to be alert and savvy about what I’m spending money on.

If for whatever reason I purchase something without thinking to question its origins, or if I find out that something I was sure was vegan actually isn’t, I try to relax and forgive myself. Veganism is an evolutionary process for me, and the only immaculate standard I’ll hold myself to is a constant commitment to be conscious and do my very best. Over time, I know I’ll be more of an expert on what products are and aren’t vegan friendly. For now, I continue to educate myself, and show some sanity when I read about the myriad ways in which I might be tripped up. I’m curious to hear how other vegans or cruelty-conscious readers of mine feel about this — do you get easily overwhelmed by the difficulty of avoiding animal products?

xo

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather (Heather's Dish) October 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm

oh my gosh this sounds amazing…but then again anything with guac and tortillas rocks my world :)

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christyn @ All Ways Nutritious October 27, 2010 at 12:51 pm

beautiful dinner! thanks for the wonderful recipes…i love all of it….the homemade refried beans and cashew sour cream i have never made. i made chili last night and that “sour cream” would have went great with it. thank you!

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VeggieGirl October 27, 2010 at 1:12 pm

This reminds me… my mom still hasn’t tried that restaurant (I’ll keep the name off of here for your location privacy’s sake) near you and she loves this kind of food! Another winning recipe, dear Gena.

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Kristina October 27, 2010 at 1:14 pm

this sounds fabulous… I am hungry and craving a taco / burrito now… :)

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Sayward October 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm

The issue is not ‘the impossibility of being vegan’ – the issue is a clear misunderstanding of what veganism actually is. The first article (well, graphic) especially, seems to think that veganism is the exclusion of all animal products – period – and that if you fail at this even unknowingly, then you are not vegan. But of course, that’s an ignorant notion.

The word vegan was coined by the founder of the vegan society, so I look to them for the definition:

“. . . “veganism” denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose . . .”

Possible and practical is the key component there. It is absolutely possible and practical to make daily decisions to eschew animal products in all manner of food and materials, and someone who chooses not to do so would not be vegan. However, it is not *practical* to never ever ride in a car, so the fact that tires have byproducts is just a necessary evil (for now) and does NOT mean people who use cars are not vegan. The same goes for life saving medication. Though they may have been tested on animals, if it is not *possible* for one to survive without them, taking them does not magically un-veganify someone.

I think it’s important to emphasize this, because angry omnis often try to play ‘caught cha’ with vegans in order to justify their own ethical discomfort. But veganism is the only diet that *doesn’t* require cognitive dissonance or suffer from moral schizophrenia, and we need to make that very clear.

*get’s off soap box*

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Nae October 27, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I truly love this post. The fact that you put *get’s off soap box* at the end made me giggle. I also want to include that I appreciate how you back up your points with text directly from the Vegan Society.

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Molly October 28, 2010 at 1:23 am

Thank you, Sayward – well said! Much better than I could have said it.
Erik Marcus addressed this on Vegan.com last week, as well:

http://www.vegan.com/blog/2010/10/22/debunking-there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-vegan/

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Toby October 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I’m so glad you posted this today – I know I read the post about your Raw Whipped Cream, but I had forgotten. Now that the Sour Cream version caught my attention I’ve bookmarked both. I’ve really been missing Sour Cream on my tacos since I stopped eating dairy!

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Lauren Slayton October 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Love Ezekiel tortillas but they stick together like crazy in my freezer, anyone else have this problem? Good “filling” ideas.

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Stefania (Ingredients for Life) October 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I know what you mean. As soon as you get your tortillas separate them with some wax paper and then pop them in the freezer.

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bitt October 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm

What annoyed me is some of my meat-eating friends (yup the same one who told me to eat steak for iron deficiency) are using that argument as a sort of “why bother being vegan”. I’ve heard this argument from others to justify meat eating. It doesn’t make sense to choose something that you KNOW caused cruelty just because there are things that have hidden ingredients that one would never possibly guess–like tires and stuff.

Lovely looking meal!

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Melissa October 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I definitely get overwhelmed by the difficulty of being 100% vegan. I’d seen that cow chart before and was shocked by it… I recently found out that many wines and other alcohols are processed using animal products, but I found a website that labels brands as vegan or non-vegan. It’s so upsetting to me to know that companies use animal products when there are so many vegan-friendly options out there.

Your vegan tortillas look fabulous, though!!

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Molly October 28, 2010 at 1:24 am

Melissa, check out Barnivore for a ton of vegan drinking options!

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Melissa October 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Thanks… that’s the site I use!

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Nae October 27, 2010 at 1:44 pm

It’s incredibly disturbing to me how many, not all, but many meat eaters go on the attack when they find out people are Vegan, Raw Vegan, Vegetarian, etc. The psychology behind it screams out, “I must defend my way before you start your ethical rant!” when perhaps we haven’t even opened our mouths to say anything. I believe it would be a very good idea to have an open discussion amongst Raw Vegans, Vegans, Veg, etc. to see how everyone deals with these types of confrontations and what has been successful for people.

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Heather October 27, 2010 at 2:31 pm

This looks amazing Gina! I think my boys would love these. Question…how long approximately would the cashew sour cream keep in the fridge?

Thxs!

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Heather October 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm

my apologies I put Gina rather than Gena

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Jean@RoastedRootsandPumpkinSpice October 27, 2010 at 2:44 pm

What a fun and healthy meal! I would put all the fillings in my tortilla. Looks so yummy.

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Allison October 27, 2010 at 3:22 pm

This looks ridiculously delicious!!! I really need to stop reading food blogs in my 3pm class, it make me too hungry and i dont get home till 7:(:(

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Nola @ The Eco-Hedonist October 27, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Your tortillas look fantastic, Gena!

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about how to live more sustainably and “veganly” in parts of my life unrelated to food. It can be hugely overwhelming, but I’ve decided to take it one thing at a time. I’m in the process of becoming car-free (in Los Angeles!) and getting used to that. Over time I’m looking at where and how I buy clothes and makeup and household products. One thing at a time, and every step counts.

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm

“isn’t raw, but it doesn’t involve cooking, either, which means that it’s an ideal way to get food on the table in a moment’s notice. “–

AMEN FOR THAT!!
The distinction between technically raw, raw, no-bake…for me, it’s not a biggie. For others, I know it is. For me, ease, lifestyle adaptablitiy, being able to have great food without having to go into time management stress out mode in order to have it..that’s what’s important to me. Not the subtle distinctions.

Which bring me to the next point on the veganism stuff. Ironically I JUST posted today and relinked a post of mine that was critical in my vegan transformation. It was about going to a petting zoo over easter with Skylar and yesterday we took her to a pumpkin patch where there were also billy goats and a sheep. Is that a “bad vegan” of me to take her there? some would say yes and burn me at the stake. However, the pure joy in her eyes, in the pics I posted, no, that’s not being a bad vegan, that’s being a wonderful mother.

Motherhood trumps veganism for me, I guess. I don’t know, I’ve never thought of this before…your posts get me thinking!! :) Likewise, if I know a particular brand of hair conditioner works great for my child and causes her not to have to cry when she gets her hair untangled and combed, then I will buy that one. Not necessarily a more expensive and less effective vegan alternative type thing.

Rambling…but no, I try not to stress. Actually, I don’t really. To each her own in parenting, life, food choices, just how vegan or not one is on the details in life, to each her own. We all just do our best :)

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Gena October 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm

A very different perspective than mine, Averie, but thank you for sharing it with us!

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Marta October 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm

hi Gena! I DO get overwhelmed. especially when I see a label saying “vegan” on a conditioner bottle, and then I think to myself, whoa, what’s not vegan about conditioner? panic usually sets in!! when I have time, or had time I should say, I would spend hours researching vegan substitues online or going store to store to see what I could find. I find joy in solutions that are so easy and sometimes so affordable you wish you’d thought of it sooner, vegan or not. but it does take time, and I try to push myself to look for and think about and try new things as often as possible because it’s worth it! it will always be worth it :)

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Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather October 27, 2010 at 5:35 pm

It’s crazy to think that some people don’t like guacamole. I can’t get enough. Your entire dinner looks absolutely delicious!

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pure2raw twins October 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Now I am craving guacamole ;) Looks delicious! I do get overwhelmed at times if something is animal free or not. Thanks for sharing about these articles, pretty interesting and scary. I hope with time I get more educated to make better decisions.

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Lauren October 27, 2010 at 10:01 pm

These look soooo good! Thanks for the recipe! :)

I tend to buy things not realizing that they aren’t vegan, then when I find out, I am like DUH! Like I bought a dream catcher and I didn’t realize it was made with leather and real feathers! DUH!!!!! I don’t know why I thought it would all be fake until I read something about them not being vegan. I am with you, always learning and striving to be better!

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Carrie (Love Healthy Living) October 27, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Great recipes, thanks for posting! I’ve been vegan for about 6 weeks now and it hasn’t been that hard of a transition for me since I cooked so much beforehand. There have been a few times when I’ve eaten something and not read the label closely enough before realizing it had butter or something like that, but since I make most of my food from scratch, I’m not having that hard of a time.

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Mama Pea October 28, 2010 at 12:12 am

Great burrito ideas, of course. They are a staple for us!

So as to your links to the cow/pig stories o’ doom…I’ll keep it short and simple. My brother, who is as cynical as the day is long, sent me the cow picture somewhat mockingly. My response:

“I do the best I can, and that’s all I can do.”

‘Nuff said.

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Casey October 28, 2010 at 12:41 am

Give me guac, salsa and veg and I’m yours!!

Yum Gena. Thanks for sharing.

I make very similar wraps but with lettuce. SO good!!

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Sarah@Raw Food Weight Loss October 28, 2010 at 1:15 am

Wow, that chart blew my mind. How do they make glass out of cow bones? And what exactly does cow blood add to cake mix? I agree that the best we can do is avoid animal products wherever possible; it still makes a big difference. And also, I try to buy only physical objects that are absolutely necessary – it’s better for the planet, the wallet, and apparently the cows too.

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veganlisa October 28, 2010 at 6:15 am

Hi Gena,

Thank you for sharing a stellar meal. It was great to hear how impressed M was with your creation.

As for the articles, I always say that for me, veganism is about making the best choice I can. Sometimes, there is no vegan option (e.g. riding in a car). But whenever possible (99.% of the time) there is a cruelty-free choice – so I go with that. Learning about products, manufacturing etc., just clarifies my choices.

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Green & Juicy October 28, 2010 at 8:42 am

Why oh why don’t we have sprouted grain wraps here in Australia?! Your guacamole is making me drool…avocadoes are my favourite!!

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Ian October 28, 2010 at 9:28 am

Since I came into veganism from a health & food standpoint primarily, ethics for me simply involved not eating the animals. But as I became more aware of the massive use of animal products in the market, I decided to become more aware of everything else that I am consuming, not just food. I feel like it’s an evolutionary process for me as well, and I am never hard on myself for something I wasn’t aware of at the time. I simply change my practices to make my life that much more cruelty-free in the future. As a college student, more stress in my nonacademic life is not what I want!

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Holly October 28, 2010 at 11:50 am

would it be too much to ask to have to fly to Madison and make me this dinner? i’ll make banana soft serve for dessert :)

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Christine (The Raw Project) October 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm

This looks like an amazing meal, especially the guac! For some reason I have not gotten into Ezekiel wraps, but I need to give them another try. Oh and the slaw looks great and like a fast throw together. Thanks!

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Caleb October 28, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I love making guacamole with red onion in it!! Yum!!

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maike October 28, 2010 at 1:47 pm

http://letslearntofeelfree.blogspot.com/2010/10/keep-in-mind.html I posted my answere here… Anyway! LOOOOVE to do the wraps, i love the fact that it´s so mix and match and everytime something different can come out of it..you can go sweet and asian, stick to the mexican inspired idea or whatever..haha love this post xxx

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laurak October 28, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Hi Gena, yummm, these look delicious!
I am gluten free/vegan myself on the most part, and have made raw wraps a number of times, but they’re definitely not as interesting or flavorsome as these look.
I live in Australia, and don’t seem to be able to find Ezekiel bread anywhere.. do you have any suggestions on how I might try to make it myself? I see it featured on so many blogs so am very keen to try it!
Laura :)

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Lindsay at Kitchen Operas October 28, 2010 at 10:51 pm

I find that if you put any kind of ‘extra fridge bits’ into a tortilla, it feels like a meal rather than just “stuff”… thanks for the reminder of this when I feel like there’s nothing to eat but really a fridge full of veggies! I’ll put them in a tortilla – yum!

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Bess @ I Dream of Greenie October 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Great topic! I personally am with you in that “the only immaculate standard I’ll hold myself to is a constant commitment to be conscious and do my very best.”

Every day I become more aware about products that are not vegan and am okay with no longer purchasing/using/eating them. While most of my non-vegan friends tell me they cannot even begin to fathom living a cruelty free lifestyle, they make it clear how much they respect the decisions I have made and don’t go out of their way to try to “trip me up”.

But I also don’t beat myself up if I find out I have been using a product that I didn’t know wasn’t vegan…life is too short to beat ourselves up over unintentional occurrences and we are already doing a great deal to help eliminate animal cruelty as well as nurture our Earth.

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