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Midweek Meal: Try some meat-free Mexican with these green bean tacos with tomato pico and toasted almonds

Thomasina Miers' meat-free green bean tacos.
Thomasina Miers' meat-free green bean tacos.

Who says you need meat or fish for a delicious taco?

“Try this in the summer when both the green beans and the tomatoes are at their best: runner beans, griddled flat beans or sugar snaps will all taste good,” says Thomasina Miers.

Thomasina has written a book especially for people looking for spicy Latin American food but without the meat.

Meat-free Mexican contains a number of vibrant recipes for vegetarians, or anyone looking to eat more vegetables.

Blistered green bean tacos with tomato pico and toasted almonds

(Serves 4)

Blistered green bean tacos.

Ingredients

  • 75g flaked almonds
  • 500g green beans, topped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 tbsp capers (the bigger the better)
  • Sea salt

For the small corn tortillas (makes 12):

  • 800g masa harina flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 600ml warm water
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • You’ll also need a clean plastic bag torn into two halves, two sheets of parchment paper and a tortilla press or a rolling pin

For the tomato pico:

  • 6 very ripe plum or cherry tomatoes
  • Small handful of coriander
  • 1 small red onion, very finely diced
  • 1-2 green chillies, preferably jalapenos, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper

To serve the green bean tacos:

  • Crumbled feta (optional)
  • Sliced avocado (optional)
green bean tacos
Thomasina Miers has written a whole book of meat-free Mexican recipes.

Method

  • First make the pico: cut the tomatoes into quarters and scoop out the watery insides (you can keep them and use them in a vinaigrette or in a soup). Dice the flesh.
  • Roughly chop the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks and stir into the tomatoes with the onion, chillies, oil, half the lime juice, the salt and sugar. Check the flavour and add more salt, pepper or lime juice if you think the salsa needs it. Leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  • To make the tortillas, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, then gradually stir in the warm water until a dough begins to form. Knead in the bowl for two to three minutes until smooth, then cover with a dish towel and rest for 30 minutes. You want it to feel springy and firm, similar to the texture of Play-Doh. If the dough feels too wet and is sticking to your hands, add a few tablespoons of flour. If it feels too dry, add an extra tablespoon or two of warm water.
  • Divide into 30g balls and place on a plate, covered with a damp cloth to stop them sticking. Put one half of the plastic or parchment on to the tortilla press or worktop and place your first ball in the middle. With two fingers, gently press down on the tortilla ball to squash it into a thickish disc. Cover with the second sheet of plastic, to stop the masa from tearing or sticking, and press or roll out into a thin tortilla, about 3mm thick.
  • Peel away the top plastic, then pick up the sheet that the tortilla is on and flip it face down on to the opened palm of your hand, tortilla to skin. Peel away the plastic top and turn out the tortilla into a lightly oiled pan.
  • Cook on one side for 20-30 seconds, until the tortilla starts to look cooked, with lovely browned spots of toasting. If you are lucky it may even puff up! Turn and cook for another 30 seconds, then turn once more. Remove from the pan and keep wrapped up in a dish towel in a warm oven.
  • Put your largest frying pan over a medium heat and when hot, toast the almonds, shaking the pan until they are mostly a lighter shade of caramel. Set aside to cool.
  • Turn the heat up under the pan and add the beans in two batches. Saute each batch for four to five minutes until they are looking a little blackened all over and starting to blister. Season with sea salt and remove from the pan into a warm bowl. Now pour in the olive oil and add the garlic and drained capers (watch for spitting if they are still a little wet). Cook for a couple of minutes or so until the garlic is golden and empty on to the beans.
  • Pile beans into the tortillas and top with the garlic and capers, spooning over heaped spoonfuls of the tomato salsa. Sprinkle with the almonds and crumbled feta and avocado, if using, then munch with gusto.

Check out our other recipes for more Midweek Meal ideas.

Recipes taken from Meat-free Mexican: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes by Thomasina Miers, published by Hodder & Stoughton, priced £25. Photography by Tara Fisher.
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