Why I didn't think of this earlier in the summer, when the my zucchini plant 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!
Basic Ingredients for Veggie Tacos
I've made these for lunch for the last three 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.
Two Tips for Great Tacos
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.
Great Add-Ins for Veggie Tacos
If you’d like to add more ingredients or toppings to these veggie tacos, here are some suggestions to make the recipe your own!
- Black beans or pinto beans (canned or freshly cooked)
- Cooked sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
- Poblano peppers
- Fresh parsley
- Your favorite varieties of cheese
- Picked jalapeños
- Additional herbs and/or spices (paprika, chili powder, dried cilantro, etc.)
What Is Cotija Cheese?
Cotija is a relatively salty and crumbly cow's milk cheese that is named after the Mexican town of Cotija, Michoacán. The fresh variety — which we use in this recipe — is soft and similar to feta. Aged cotija is harder, similar to Parmesan. Since cotija doesn't melt, it makes a good garnish for dishes like tacos, beans, and tostadas, adding a punch of salty flavor.
Make It More Filling
Cooked beans make these veggie tacos even more filling! Try pintos, black beans, or your favorite beans. You could even add hearty grains (such as cooked quinoa) or cooked potato or sweet potato cubes. Or you can even serve this over rice.
Where's the Meat?
If you’re missing the meat, try adding cooked lentils. These tiny legumes have a meaty texture and can take the place of meat in many recipes such as tacos, lasagna, or sloppy Joes. If you want to add some cooked ground beef, feel free!
Swaps and Substitutions
No cheddar on hand? Can't find cotija? When it comes to cheese, you can use almost any variety you'd like for these tacos. Pepper jack is a tasty option if you'd like a little heat. Monterey Jack and Colby are mild, easy-melting choices. Try goat cheese for a tangy finish. For vegan tacos, you can always choose a non-dairy cheese, or just skip it.
Make a big batch of veggies ahead of time and reheat them in a skillet or microwave for quick meals throughout the week. Beyond these tacos, use your stash of prepped vegetables in frittatas, pastas, quesadillas, and more.
More Topping Ideas
You can add any toppings to these Summer Veggie Tacos you wish. The sky’s the limit!
- Hot sauce
- Salsa or Pico de Gallo
- Greek yogurt
- Sour cream
- Cottage cheese
- Any fresh herbs you enjoy
- Shredded lettuce
- Freshly sliced or diced red onion
More Taco Recipes to Try
Don’t stop with veggie tacos! Try these other tasty taco recipes.
Summer Veggie Tacos
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup 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)
- Pinch ground cumin
- Pinch 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)
Sauté the vegetables:
Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the zucchini, onions, garlic, green chilies, 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, reduce the heat to low. Let gently cook for several minutes while you are preparing the tortillas.
Soften the tortillas:
You are going to want to heat up the tortillas twice, 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.)
Prepare tortillas on the stovetop or the microwave:
For the stovetop: 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.
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.
Add sautéed vegetables to the tacos:
Open the tacos and spoon some of the cooked veggie filling into them.
Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and crumbled cotija cheese. Serve immediately.