Bean and Green Tacos

Only rarely do I let a day go by without planning my meals. I can’t even remember the last time it happened, really. I wake up and think about what I’ll have for breakfast, then what kind of lunch supplements that, and what kind of dinner I’ll have ingredients and time for. Some days start out with a grand plan that turns out even grander in its realization, and on those rare shining days, I feel like I have this life thing figured out.

Most days start with a grand plan that I whittle down to essentials over the course of the day, and maybe instead of the crackly-skinned roast chicken, kale soufflés, and plum clafoutis dinner I’d imagined, I’ll just braise one piece of chicken with some kale and garlic and eat a fresh plum for dessert. But some days, more often than I’d like, I get home too late and too tired to really cook, but hungry. I have such an effective mental block against ordering delivery food that I always fix my meals at home. So even though all I want to do is watch one of my neglected Netflix dvds while dinner miraculously appears, I end up digging through the cupboards and refrigerator for a leftover pita, some wilted chives, cheese, and whatever else needs to be used up. Fortunately, I’ve taken to preparing some quick dinner staples ahead of time so my future self won’t look so pathetic trying to make a pita-za with floppy herbs and a nub of old brie (not that I’ve ever done that).

Today was a perfect example of that tired but hungry but too stubborn to order takeout quick meal. I got in at 6:30 after walking around all day (in heels – what was I thinking?) I needed to start dinner pretty much immediately as I’d long since burned through my hearty breakfast, and I was too tired to shop for the elaborate meal I’d been planning all day. So I put on some Dexy’s Midnight Runners for energy, opened the refrigerator and took out the leftover black beans, sautéed greens, corn tortillas, and salsa, and made some bean & green tacos. Because I’d prepared all of the components a few days ago, I had a nice warm dinner ready in about 10 minutes, which is as close to miraculous as it gets.

They’re vegan and full of vegetables, which makes me feel virtuous after a breakfast of bacon-laced migas, and they’re tasty enough to qualify for a grand-plan dinner sometime. Now if you’ll excuse me, that Netflix isn’t going to watch itself.

Bean & Green Tacos (makes 2, serves 1, easily multiplied)

  • 2 corn tortillas
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 6 Tbs black beans (see recipe below)
  • 4 Tbs sautéed greens (see recipe below)
  • 2 Tbs salsa (I used peach & tomato salsa from a jar)

Heat a small skillet on high. When hot, add 1 tsp olive oil and swirl to distribute. Place a tortilla in the skillet and cook without moving until slightly puffed, about 2 minutes. Turn over and spread half with 3 Tbs black beans, 2 Tbs greens, and 1 Tbs salsa. Cook 2 minutes, remove to plate and fold the bare half over the filling. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Eat carefully.

Black Bean Filling

  • 1/2 pound dry black beans
  • water
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 lime’s juice
  • salt to taste

Put the beans in a pot, cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, cook 1 minute, then turn off heat and soak 1 hour. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch, then return to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, 1-2 more hours. In another pot, heat olive oil on medium, add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Add cumin and garlic and cook about 2 minutes. Stir in black beans and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and lime juice and salt to taste. Makes about 4 cups of beans, can be made ahead, keeps about 1 week.

Sautéed Greens with Garlic

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups lightly packed washed greens (I used a mixture of mustard, dandelion, and collard)
  • 1/4 cup water

Heat the oil on low, add garlic and red pepper and cook gently a few minutes, just until garlic starts turning transparent. Turn heat to medium, sprinkle garlic with a little salt and begin stirring in greens a handful at a time. The heat will wilt the greens and make room for each addition. When all the greens are added, pour in the water, cover the pot, and let steam for 3 minutes, then turn off the heat.

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Filed under Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetables

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