Veggie Tacos

Why I didn’t think of this earlier in the summer, when the zucchini beast was putting out two zukes a day, I don’t know. But here it is, a veggie taco that combines the best of summer produce, that you can pull together in about 20 minutes or less. I’ve made these for lunch for the last 3 days straight with summer squash, green chiles, tomatoes, and jalapeños from our garden.

You can improvise with the vegetables, a little fresh corn would work great added in, or some cooked beans as well. We have fresh chiles, so I included them, you could always just add some salsa or jalapeño pickles to taste.

The key to the overall taste is the addition at the end of cotija cheese, a Mexican cheese that is salty and crumbly, much like Greek feta. Remember, unless you have just made your tortillas fresh from scratch, packaged corn tortillas need to be heated and softened first, before being used for tacos.

Veggie Tacos Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 4 tacos. Serves 2.

Packaged corn tortillas vary in quality. Look for a thick tortilla, it will hold up better in the cooking. Otherwise, if your tortillas are more fragile, you may need to double them up - 2 per taco.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup of roughly chopped zucchini or summer squash (1-2 zucchini or squash, depending on the size)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 large fresh mild green chile (Anaheim or Hatch), seeds and stem discarded, chopped
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeño chile pepper, seeds and stem discarded, minced (or more, if you desire more heat)
  • Salt
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • Pinch of ground oregano
  • 1 small to medium tomato, chopped
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Mexican cotija cheese (a salty, crumbly cheese, you can substitute feta)
  • A few sprigs of fresh cilantro, chopped (okay to include the stems, if small)

Method

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1 Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the zucchini, onions, garlic, green chiles, and jalapeño to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and cumin. Stir to coat the vegetables with the oil in the pan. Spread the veggies out in the pan and then stir only occasionally, until they are all lightly browned. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and oregano, lower the heat to low. Let gently cook for several minutes while you are preparing the tortillas.

2 You are going to want to heat up the tortillas first, first to soften them, and then to melt the cheese. There are two basic ways of doing this. One way is on the stove top, preferably in a cast iron pan. Another way is to use the microwave. In both methods you will work in batches. (A third way is to use fresh homemade corn tortillas, which is a great option if you are set up for it.)

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2a Preparing tortillas on the stove-top Heat a dollop of olive oil (or other vegetable oil) in a large cast iron frying pan, on medium high. Add a tortilla to the pan, moving it around a bit, and turning it over, so that it spreads around the oil. Let the tortilla heat until it develops little bubbles of air pockets. Then place a piece of cheese on one side of the tortilla, and use a metal spatula to fold the other side of the tortilla over the cheese. Heat until cheese is melted, then remove from pan. Note that if you have a big enough pan, you can have one tortilla folded over while you have another tortilla doing its initial heating.

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2b Preparing tortillas in the microwave Place a paper towel (or half a paper towel) on the heating surface of your microwave. Spread out 2 tortillas on the paper towels. Cook on high heat for 20 seconds per tortilla, in the case of 2 tortillas, 40 seconds. The tortillas should develop air pockets. (Note that every microwave is a little different, and corn tortillas differ as well. So you may need to adjust the times for your particular setup.) Then place a slice of cheese on one side of each tortilla and fold the tortillas over the cheese. Cook for an additional 10 seconds per tortilla (20 seconds for 2 tortillas), or until the cheese is melted.

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3 Open the tacos and spoon some of the cooked veggie filling into them. Sprinkle on chopped cilantro and crumbled cotija cheese. Serve immediately.

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23 Comments

  1. Susan

    What a great idea for a taco, and it’s so adaptable. I love the cojita cheese. Thanks, Elise.

    Husband and I went to a little family run Mex place yesterday (which are far and few between in the Santa Clara valley anymore; so sad) and I had a chimichunga. Haven’t had one of those for years! This would be a good filling for that or a regular burrito, too.

  2. tara

    Those look delicious. Open faced and with a fried egg on top, they’d be an amazing breakfast.

    Excellent idea! ~Elise

  3. jonathan

    Yes, yes…YES!!!
    (Sorry. Got a little carried away).
    Only three days straight for lunch? I’ll see that three, and raise you another three.

  4. vgaugler

    Made the tacos for lunch today. We really enjoyed them. This is perfect timing as we have a boomerang son at home who just became a vegetarian. Thanks for the veggie recipe.

  5. Carla

    Made these tonight and substituted Goat cheese for the Mexican cheese……AWESOME! I will be making these again, and again….. Let the veges get brown and do not forget the cilantro! Serve with scallops or salmon and wow what a great meal.

  6. Elise

    I made these AGAIN today (4th time in a week?) and this time added a dash of cumin and oregano to the veggies. I like the addition so have added it to the recipe.

  7. Eden

    I made these last night with all the fresh stuff from the garden. I used goat feta cheese and almond cheese (can’t do dairy) and I used brown rice tortillas (no corn or gluten). I then took them to a little supper club with friends and got rave reviews. Delicious! Thanks so much.

  8. Greg Walker

    I saw this when you posted it, but just tried it tonight, and it is fabulous! I doubled the jalapenos, was quite liberal with the cumin and finished the exterior shell of the tacos with Parmesan cheese (a la Jimboy’s). The only cheddar I had in the house was Tillamook medium – next time I am going to part with some of the good stuff as a sharp cheddar would be welcome in this recipe!

    Aces, once again!

  9. Susan

    I made these tacos tonight, I threw in some cumin and a little chili powder on the veg’s, and I even used your recipe for the tortillas, too! Outstanding! Both! I had no idea it was that simple to make tortillas. I didn’t have a tortilla press so I took a tip from one of the commentors on the corn tortilla thread and used a zip-lock bag slit open for the dough ball and my heavy, flat bottomed sauce pan to press them out. It worked perfectly. Gosh, I’ll be making both of these recipes more often. So Good! Thanks again, Elise.

  10. Eve

    I made this a few minutes ago and I just devoured my first one. YUMMO! I didn’t have any cotija so I used feta. These were simply divine. Thank you for another wonderful recipe!

  11. Kristin

    Just made these for dinner tonight. They were amazing! I used feta and flour tortillas, since that is what I had. What a great way to use zucchini!

  12. Ashley

    I made the tacos last week. They turned out great! I added some canned mexi-corn and used pepper jack cheese instead. yum! Great the next day as left overs too!

  13. HLG

    I have made these 3 times now since reading the recipe. No cheese one time, different squashes another, different tortillas a third. They are a HIT each time. And no meat! I am going to abandon my “old favorite” taco recipe and make this the “new favorite”. Thank you zuccini beast!

  14. Amanda

    I made these twice this week- they were excellent!

  15. Casey

    best. tacos. ever.

    (no meat needed)

  16. Catalina

    Oh this is such a great recipe!
    I wish I had found this earlier in the year when I had a million summer squash.
    This year I made baked summer squash patties – they are so yummy!
    And they freeze really well too.

  17. Ann

    A lurker here – just letting you know I’ve made many of your recipes and they are great, either as is or as inspiration for something else.

    We made these tacos awhile ago and they have become a requested menu item. I never understood how to do corn tortillas till now…The 25 year old boomerang son even makes them for himself, and I suspect he’s made them at the the home of friends too. A great recipe! Go ahead and make it already!

  18. Kim

    These are insanely good and easy. Ever since we first tried them, we’ve made them at least every two weeks, and every time we make them, we have them two nights in a row. I add diced portobellos to the veggie mix, and don’t use the cheddar, but otherwise follow the recipe exactly. We love, love, love them! Thanks for posting what’s become a family favorite!

    So glad you like them! While we had zucchini in the garden I ate them every other day last summer. ~Elise

  19. Kathy S

    Yummy! This filling was tasty. I do a different method with the tortillas. I wrap them in a wet paper towel and microwave a stack of them for about 2 minutes (my microwave is weak) and then I spray them with oil and salt and pepper them. I lay them over the grates in a preheated 350 oven and cook them for about 5-7 minutes. They taste fantastic.

  20. Stacy

    I tried these tonight —- added some corn and used a half can of tomato (nothing close to fresh around here this time of year), I served them with refritos & guacamole —- terrific. Thanks, Elise!

  21. Gail

    I loved these tacos and will definitely make them again. I saved the chopped tomatoes to use as a topper for the tacos. I also topped them with avocado, shredded cabbage and red onion, as well as cilantro and feta cheese, which was a great substitute for the cotija. Besides being delicious, it was quick, healthy meal to make on a weeknight. Que bueno!

  22. Jeffrey Berger

    I was in the garden and picked fresh tomatoes, summer squash, jalepenos, and basil. Found your recipe for veggie tacos and tried it out. Thank you, because I would have neglected to use cumin.
    Oh yeah, cotija rocks.

  23. Melissa

    We make these at least once a week during the summer! We roast the veggies in the oven and substitute grape tomatoes for the chopped (of course we live in San Francisco so warming the house with the oven is a GOOD thing in the summer) I have also used red and orange bell peppers, red onions, yellow summer squash, even leftover sweet potatoes. I like a dollop of Greek yogurt on top in lieu of sour cream.

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