Sun and surf are the perfect compliment to Mexican food so is it any wonder that this fresh and tasty cuisine has made it to our shores. There is a long list of reasons why this cuisine has made it big in Australia. Our laid back, outdoor lifestyle, fits perfectly with the fresh and healthy Mexican food vibe. These dishes are made for sharing, make the most of the freshest produce Australia has to offer and coincide perfectly with the recent casual dining revolution, which is influencing the way we eat out and eat in.
There is a great deal of scope within the cuisine itself. The flavours of Mexico sit just as comfortably in a street food carnation, quick and cheap, from a food truck as they do along side a craft beer in a Surry Hills Hipster haunt or on a shared family dinner table. I would describe this current Australian Mexican eatery scene as fun, playful and creative, which allows for up-cycled restaurant décor incorporating blight colours, candy skull iconography, retro furnishings and home-style table settings. Anything goes both on and off the menu.
With a few key herb and spice blends and the classic rice and beans marriage, you have created the perfect veggie dinner platform. Make your own signature Mexican spice blend in minutes with the simple combination of paprika, garlic, cumin, chilli and oregano. Experiment with different beans, mixing it up with black, kidney and black eye varieties. Guacamole is best kept simple with ripe avocados enhanced in flavour by fresh lime and coriander. A griddle pan or your BBQ is your best friend when creating the vegetable components of your burrito, taco or fajita. Keep the preparation rustic and nutritious by choosing the best quality fresh ingredients and lightly cooking them to retain the nutrients and their natural fresh and vibrant flavours.
- Mexican Beans
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ red capsicum
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin seed
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped
- pickled jalapeño chilli (with the seeds removed)
- 400 g canned diced tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 400g can of black beans
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup brown or basmati rice cooked as per the packet instruction.
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 fresh lime
- handful of fresh coriander
- Chargrilled veggie medley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium zucchinis
- 1 red pepper
- 1 red onion
- 10 button mushrooms
- pinch of salt and ground
- black pepper
- 4 large burrito tortillas
- mixed salad leaves
- Peel and finely dice the red onion and sauté with the olive oil over a medium-low heat, until softened.
- Crush the garlic, finely dice the red capsicum and add to the pan with the onions.
- Continue to sauté for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the sweet paprika, cayenne pepper, ground cumin seed and oregano and stir for a minute.
- Remove the seeds and finely chop the jalapeño chilli and add to the pan along with the tomatoes, tomato paste and drained black beans.
- Cover the pan with a lid and allow to simmer over a medium to low heat for 15 minutes.
- Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to break up the beans and tomatoes.
- Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and season to taste with salt.
- While this is cooking prepare the Guacamole and chargrill the veggies.
- Chop the veggies into rustic 3cm cubes and toss in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
- BBQ or grill for 5 minutes, turning a few times so as they cook evenly.
- Prepare the Guacamole by combining the ripe avocado with the juice of the lime and the chopped coriander with the back of a fork.
- Just before serving heat the burrito tortillas on the BBQ or griddle pan for a few seconds on each side.
- Assemble the burritos by layering the centre of each of the warm burrito tortillas with rice, beans, veggies, guacamole and the salad leaves.
- Garnish with extra coriander, jalapeño and a wedge of lime.
- serves 4 – vegan
Black beans are a great ‘go to’ pantry staple for vegetarian cooking. Also referred to as Turtle Beans, these nutrition packed legumes have a black outer shell and a dense meaty texture comparable in taste to mushrooms. Popular in Central and South American cuisine as well as Cajun, Creole and Spanish dishes these beans are extremely versatile and simple to cook with. Perfect with everything from burritos and enchiladas, to dips, slow cooked stews and casseroles, salads and burger patties.
High in dietary fibre and low GI, Black Beans, keep you feeling sustained longer, help to regulate blood sugar levels and protect against, heart disease and bowel cancer. They are a great source of protein without the saturated fat associated with animal based protein. Among their other virtues are the good levels of Folate, minerals including Magnesium, Phosphorus and Magnesium and low in Sodium.
Keeping tinned Black Beans handy in your pantry is the most convenient way to incorporate them into your quick and easy recipes. For a cheaper and slightly superior culinary and nutritional experience soak the dry beans overnight, drain and gently boil for 1-2 hours or until tender.
THREE WAYS WITH BLACK BEANS
- For a quick lunch or a summer dinner add a protein rich boost to a fresh salad featuring Mexican flavours. Combine pre-cooked black beans with mixed salad leaves, diced avocado, crunchy cucumber slices, fresh coriander leaves and a dressing of lime juice, macadamia oil, fresh chili and a hint of paprika. Serve with a handful of organic blue corn chips for serious wow factor.
- Warm up from the inside out with a spicy Cajun Black Bean Soup. Build flavour by slowly sautéing onions and garlic allowing for the natural caramelisation to happen. Soften diced capsicums in the same pan before adding a good quality Cajun spice blend, peeled and chopped tomatoes, black beans and stock. Allow to simmer and for the spices to infuse the soft beans.
- Everyone likes a good quality homemade bean burger patty. Black Beans’ meaty texture makes them the perfect base for a satisfying and substantial bean patty. Simply combine a tin of Black Beans with breadcrumbs, diced onion, garlic, an egg and your favourite herbs and spices in the food processor for a 10 minute 100% nutritious burger.
For this Burrito recipe and a whole lot more veggie inspiration check out my new ebook – Veggies & Me – For You