chicken & black bean double decker tacos.

taco taco taco time.

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double decker tacos bring me right back to half-days or early-outs in high school when everyone would disperse and go get lunch at various fast food joints. my high school was way out in the country boonsville usa, and we had a closed campus for lunch and such. so half-days were the ultimate. 

what i'm getting at is that double decker tacos at taco bell were my jam. until one said half-day when i had like 3 of them and i don't think i went to taco bell pretty much ever again haha. 

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but as a texture freak, double deckers are genius. a plump & soft flour tortilla hugging a crunchy shell with beans in between! and then all the toppings within! yes please.

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[p.s.a....i made these with romaine before the e.coli outbreak warnings came out.. yipes.]

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turns out that brother phil's red pepper cashew sauce is PERFECT on these double deckers. it's so flavorful and creamy, i didn't think adding cheese was even necessary. but pleeez go ahead and add cheese because cheese makes life worth living.

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i hardly ever buy ground beef unless i have a deep winter's craving for a meaty lasagna or something like that. and i kinda think the light color of ground chicken & turkey is freakydeaky. so i disguised the chicken with the leftover black bean juice and some spices so it was parading as ground beef, lol. looks like it, eh? pete even thought it actually WAS beef. 

and these are soo much more substantial than you-know-who's double decker tacos and there's a lot more grown-up flavor represented. just one will really satisfy you. 

get your double decker on this cinco de mayoooooo, amigos!

Chicken & Black Bean Double Decker Tacos

Time: 40 minutes

Serves 2-4, with leftovers

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 6-inch flour tortillas, plump & flexible
  • hard taco shells
  • 1 can black beans (liquid reserved for cooking the chicken)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • red pepper cashew sauce (optional - but adds so much flavor and depth)
  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce or greens
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced into rounds
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • fresh cilantro

Instructions-

Open the can of black beans and reserve the liquid in a small bowl. Heat a large pan or skillet to medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the ground chicken and turn to brown and break up into crumbles for a few minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of the black bean liquid, 1 TB minced garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika. Continue to cook the chicken on medium/high heat until it's very browned.

In a separate pan, heat the black beans on medium/low. Use a potato masher to smash the warmed beans until they look like refried beans. Add a pinch of salt and mash the beans until very smooth, adding a small amount of water here and there if they need some moisture.

Chop and prepare all the veggies and toppings as directed. Warm the flour tortillas on each side on the stovetop. 

Once all the veggies are prepared, chicken cooked, beans mashed, and tortillas warmed - begin building your double decker tacos. Use a spatula to spread a layer of mashed black beans onto the flour tortillas and wrap the flour tortillas around the hard shells. Add the red pepper cashew sauce and ground chicken on the bottom. Layer on lettuce, avocado, cabbage, tomatoes, jalapeños & cilantro. Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt would be delicious on top, too!

Serve immediately or build each taco as desired. The hard shell will soften quite quickly inside the soft shell. 

 

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rainbow salad.

gang's all here!

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please don't side-eye the blueberries. i promise, it works!

blueberries are pretty earthy tasting, so their juiciness fits right in within this salad, and completes the rainbow.

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this salad is super hearty with the sweet potato and salami, very refreshing with all the crisp veggies, and ultra flavorful with the addition of the feta cheese and shallot vinaigrette. 

and the texture is also amazing! adding pepitas or sunflower seeds to salads is my jam. or yogurt bowls. or sandwiches, even! i've been having this veggie sandwich with sunflower seeds on it and it's quite goooood.

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i made a similar salad one night, and noticed it was almost a rainbow. i threw the blueberries in just for fun and was surprised how much i enjoyed it and that they really do jive with the other ingredients. pete went to serve some of this leftover salad later and he was like "what are these blueberries doing here?" lol. 

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par-blanching the red onion slices in a strainer makes them a super gorgeous translucent fuscia purple color and also takes away that initial bite and lingering flavor that red onion has. woot.

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besides, this thing is perdy as heck.

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Rainbow Salad and Shallot Vinaigrette

Time: 20 minutes

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, cubed and cooked
  • 2 cups fresh greens, chopped (I used spinach & romaine)
  • handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 10 slices salami, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sliced red onion, par blanched
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

Shallot Vinaigrette:

  • 1 medium shallot clove, finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • pinch of salt

Instructions-

Heat 2 TB extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Wash the sweet potato and cut into bite-sized cubes. Toss the sweet potato in the olive oil and add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Cover immediately and raise heat to medium-high. Let the sweet potatoes steam about 5-10 minutes. Once the water has evaporated, remove the lid, sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and toss the potatoes to lightly brown. Remove from heat.

Prepare the salad dressing while the sweet potatoes are cooking by combining all the dressing ingredients in a small jar and shaking vigorously. Store extras in the fridge. 

For the red onion, boil a kettle of water or a pot of about 5 cups water. Add the red onion slices to a strainer in the sink and pour the boiling hot water over. Rinse with cold water and drain. I like to do extra onions while I'm doing this step and store them in the fridge to have on hand for other salads, tacos, etc. 

Prepare all the remaining vegetables as instructed and toss in a large salad bowl, adding the sweet potatoes and tomatoes very last. Toss with a drizzle of the salad dressing to taste.

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roasted red pepper cashew sauce.

this is pete's brother phil's fabulous red pepper sauce recipe! 

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brother phil's got all the sauce knowledge on lock. he's also the one who first introduced me to chimichurri, which i love so much. both sauces are vegan and versatile and fantastic. 

this red pepper cashew sauce is delicious. it's similar to the texture of hummus and has SO much flavor. it can be enjoyed with veggies for dipping, on meats, in tacos, on sandwiches, noodles, etc etc etc! 

phil says you could also use walnuts, but i prefer cashews in this!

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Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Sauce

Yields 2 cups of sauce

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • (1) 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, well drained
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups cashews, roasted until fragrant
  • 2 TB red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 TB. Sriracha
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Instructions-

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spread the cashews on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until warm and fragrant.

In a large food processor, add the drained red peppers, garlic cloves, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add the warm cashews and process. Add red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and sriracha to the food processor and run until very smooth. 

The sauce should be the consistency of hummus. If it's too thick, add a drizzle of olive oil and pulse. Salt to taste. 

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