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Healthy Recipe Series

We have been bringing you the best of our raw vegan cuisine and now it’s time for Crispy Tacos!

Raw Vegan Tacos

Tacos are delicious, and a real treat, both in terms of flavor and for their rich texture. If you like spicy food, tacos are a great option to bring that heat, while still enjoying a super healthy meal.

For our healthy raw vegan tacos, we will need our homemade tortillas and vegan taco “meat”. Other fixings are optional, and we have some suggestions, just be sure to make your own, or buy healthy versions of the normal toppings. In this dish, we have decided to highlight the health benefits of corn (obviously) and, from the south side of the border, the Mexican oregano! As a fix-in, avocado is one of the healthiest options we recommend you to try!

Corn

Corn, also called maize, is a cereal plant of the grass family (Poaceae), scientific name Zea mays. Corn is native to Central America, and it was first domesticated by native peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. It is an edible grain and has been a staple ingredient in South, Central and North America for thousands of years, nowadays being one of the most widely distributed food crops in the world.

What is important in choosing your corn: buy unprocessed, organic, non-GMO corn! Because most of the corn found in most food stores and processed foods (such as fried corn tortilla chips, high fructose corn syrup, popcorn, corn oil, corn flour and other packaged corn products), has been highly modified and processed.

Corn is a higher source of energy, when compared with other vegetables, and a good source of dietary fiber, certain vitamins and minerals. It has the added benefit of being a gluten free cereal, and a good alternative to wheat products.

Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Corn1,2

  • Corn, and especially the yellow varieties, contains plant pigments that have the potential to exert antioxidant action, such as the phenolic compounds α and ß-carotenes, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin.
  • Another important flavonoid present in corn is ferulic acid, which can help reduce inflammation and aging and prevent cancer.
  • Good source of vitamin-A (187 IU per 100 grams; 6% RDA) and vitamin-C (6.8 mg per 100 grams; 11% RDA), both important antioxidant vitamins.
  • Contains good amounts of vitamins from B-complex, such as thiamin (B-1), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9). Many of these are important cofactors to enzymes during substrate metabolism.
  • Good source of energy (86 calories per 100 grams), more than most vegetables, and dietary fiber (2 grams per 100 grams of kernels; 5% RDA)
  • Modest source of minerals such as magnesium, manganese, iron, potassium, and copper.

Mexican Oregano

Mexican oregano, also known as wild oregano, is a species of flowering plant in the verbena family, Verbenaceae, scientific name Lippia graveolens. This plant is native to Mexico, the Southern United States, and some areas in Central America and it is unrelated to the more common oregano, Origanum vulgare, which belongs to the mint family and was native to the Mediterranean region. The name oregano, originally used for the Mediterranean plant, originates from classical Greek, meaning “brightness of the mountain.”

Mexican oregano is rich in beneficial plant chemicals, and certain vitamins and minerals. In terms of flavor, it carries a slight anise flavor with underlying notes of lemon and citrus, essential for our Mexican Tacos!

Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Mexican Oregano3,4,5

  • Excellent source of beneficial phytochemicals, like antioxidant flavonoids. Flavonoids, for their antioxidant effect, contribute to the prevention of free radical damage and help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • The bioflavonoids present in Mexican oregano include naringenin and cirsimaritin, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which help prevent cancer and other lifestyle related diseases. It also contains other flavonoids that may exert anti-microbial and antiviral activity.
  • The essential oil of Mexican oregano contains thymol, carvacrol, paracymene, and eucalyptol. These volatile compounds are beneficial for overall health, and also have anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties.
  • Great source of B-complex vitamins, very important in energy metabolism.
  • Modest source of vitamin C, K, and E.
  • Mexican oregano has high concentrations of certain minerals, like magnesium, calcium, and iron.

Optional Fix-ins

The taco fix-ins are where you can get really creative! We have our own recipes for fresh salsa, healthy “Mexican beans” and delicious guacamole. You can also try to buy healthy versions of these same toppings or just add fresh herbs, like green onion, cilantro or even parsley, or plain avocado.

Avocado is a great option due to its balanced nutrient profile and many health benefits. Avocados are very nutritious, containing a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Avocado6,7

  • Source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate (B-9), pyridoxine (B-6), niacin (B-3), B-5 (pantothenic acid), B2 (riboflavin), choline and phytosterols.
  • Rich in flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants beneficial for health, such as cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin, beta and alpha carotenes.
  • Good source of minerals, like potassium, magnesium, and small amounts of manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous
  • Excellent source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) like oleic and palmitoleic acids as well as omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid, linoleic acid.
  • Avocado oil consists of 71% monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), 13% polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and 16% saturated fatty acids (SFA)
  • Significant levels of dietary fiber, consisting of 30% soluble fiber and 70% insoluble fiber.

Some of the health benefits include:

  • Avocado fat helps to promote healthy blood lipid profiles and enhance the bioavailability of fat-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals from the avocado or other fruits and vegetables.
  • Help reduce total cholesterol, reduce blood triglycerides, lower LDL and increase HDL.
  • High in antioxidants, especially the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin – very important for eye health. Lutein helps control oxidative/inflammatory stress.
  • May help support cardiovascular health.
  • Potassium may help promote normal blood pressure.

Now that you know some of the health benefits of the foods in our Mexican Tacos, it is time to get into preparation mode!

Here is the full recipe for the Mexican Tacos

  • Makes: 6 servings Prep time: 45 minutes               • Total time: 16-18 hours

Ingredients

For the tortillas:

  • 2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup cauliflower, chopped
  • ½cup onion
  • ¼ cup flax seed, ground
  • 1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

For the taco meat:

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 3Tbsp tamari
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper

For the fix-ins (optional):

  • Mexican “beans”
  • Guacamole
  • Fresh salsa
  • Cilantro and green onions

Instructions

Place all tortilla ingredients in a food processor and process until mostly smooth. Scoop cup portions onto teflex sheets and spread into 5-inch circles between ½ -inch and ¼-inch thick. Dehydrate at 115 °F for 16-18 hours, until dry but pliable. Or dehydrate until crispy to make tostadas!

Place all taco meat ingredients in the food processor and pulse until the texture becomes crumbly. Taste and adjust the flavors according to your preference.

Assemble your tacos with the fixings of your choice.

Enjoy! 😊

REFERENCES

  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Corn, sweet, yellow, raw. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169998/nutrients, accessed Jul 19, 2022.
  2. Nutrition and You. Sweet Corn Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/sweet-corn.html, accessed Jul 19, 2022.
  3. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Lippia graveolens. Edited Mar 22, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lippia_graveolens, accessed Jul 20, 2022.
  4. Broke Bank Vegan. What is Mexican Oregano? Published Feb 1, 2022. Updated Mar 21, 2022. https://brokebankvegan.com/mexican-oregano/, accessed Jul 20, 2022.
  5. Herbs: Mexican Oregano; Varieties, Culinary Uses and Nutrition. Updated August 25, 2011. https://knoji.com/article/herbs-mexican-oregano-varieties-culinary-uses-and-nutrition/, accessed Jul 20, 2022.
  6. United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171705/nutrients, accessed Jul 20, 2022.
  7. Nutrition and You. Avocados Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/avocados.html, accessed Jul 20, 2022.