According to Buddy the Elf, the four main food groups are: candy, candy corn, candy canes, & syrup. Cute. According to me, the four main food groups are: tacos, burritos, taco bowls, and guacamole. Better.
Jokes aside, I really do love tacos. I make breakfast tacos, dinner tacos, and everything in between. If you follow along on my Instagram stories, this is not new information. Tacos are my favorite because they are so versatile, can easily be a healthy, be-proud-of-yourself meal, and I mean... they're just delicious.
For Thanksgiving this year (and Christmas.. and New Year's..) I dreamt up what "holiday tacos" would look like, and I am very pleased with the results:
- Sprouted Grain Tortillas serve as the foundation. They are not only a delicious source of fiber and whole grains, but also boast an increase in digestibility, absorption of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins B2, B5, B6, and C!
- Gluten-Free Quinoa, Mushroom, & Wild Rice Stuffing is a let-everyone-enjoy-stuffing take on the empty-carbs version that we are used to, created with the same aromatic herbs and spices you'd expect with an earthy and delicious texture that you'll love.
- Vibrant Cranberry Ginger Salsa is the cooler, zing-ier cousin of the sad, plopped-from-a-can cranberry sauce that we see on holiday tables - that nobody actually likes, but that you "have to have." (?) Filled with antioxidants and FLAVOR, use it anywhere you'd use fresh tomato salsa!
- Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, and/or Pumpkin round out the good-for-you holiday vibes, while
- Avocado Crema is a staple in my home, and one that you'll see all over this blog (and, obviously, on these tacos).
While the ingredients and method list may look lengthy, don't worry! So much of this can be prepped ahead of time, and none of it is very labor intensive. Plus, you'll have extra quinoa and wild rice for meals throughout the week! Let's get to it:
Vegan, Can Be Made Gluten-Free // Serves 4-6 (with leftovers!)
For the Tacos:
- Sprouted Grain or Gluten-Free Tortillas (two of my favorites are Food for Life's Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Tortillas & Rudi's Organic Spelt Tortillas)
- 2-3 Large Sweet Potatoes, diced or chopped (can easily sub butternut squash or pumpkin, although cooking times will vary slightly)
- 1 tsp Coconut Oil, melted
For the Gluten-Free, Quinoa, & Mushroom Stuffing:
- 2 Cups Quinoa, cooked* (see notes below)
- 2 Cups Wild Rice, cooked** (see notes below)
- 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Coconut Oil, melted
- 2 Cups Mushrooms, chopped
- 3 Stalks Celery, chopped
- 3/4 Cup Organic Vegetable Broth
- Fresh, Chopped Herbs: Sage, Thyme, Savory, Rosemary (2-3 Tablespoons each, or whatever you can pull together! Tedious work, but totally worth it!)
For the Cranberry Ginger Salsa:
- 1 Cup Fresh Cranberries
- 2 Medium- Large Tomatoes, chopped
- Big Handful of Cilantro
- 1/4 Red Onion, chopped
- 1-Inch Knob of Ginger, peeled & chopped
- 1 Jalapeño Pepper, seeds removed & chopped
- Juice from 1/2 Lime
- Cracked Black Pepper, Sea Salt, to taste
- Optional: Bee-Free Honee to sweeten (start with 1 tsp and add more if needed). I personally skip this, but if you'd like it a bit sweeter, this is an easy, delicious option!
For the Avocado Crema:
- 1 Ripe Avocado
- Big Handful of Cilantro
- Juice from 1 Lime
- Sea or Pink Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1-2 Tablespoons of Filtered Water, to thin
* To Cook Quinoa: Start by rinsing quinoa to remove any debris. To cook, bring 2 cups of water or vegetable broth (I cooked the quinoa for this recipe in broth, so it would be as "stuffing-y" as possible! You can also do half water + half broth), 1 cup dry quinoa, and a pinch of sea salt to a boil (1 cup dry = ~3 cups cooked) in a medium saucepan. Lower heat to a simmer, cover with a lid, and let cook for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. If water remains, cook until water evaporates, stirring occasionally. Once water has evaporated, remove from heat, fluff with fork, and let sit to cool.
** To Cook Wild Rice: Start by rinsing the rice (fun fact: wild rice isn't technically "rice," but is the seeds of a species of aquatic grass!) to remove any debris. To cook, bring 2 cups of water or vegetable broth (I cooked the rice for this recipe in broth!), 1/2 cup dry wild rice, and a pinch of sea salt to a boil (1 cup dry = ~4 cups cooked). Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 45 minutes. Fluff with a fork and remove from heat to cool.
Begin by making the stuffing (you can also do this ahead of time!):
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Warm the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
3. Add onions, garlic, and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and celery appear translucent (5-7 minutes).
4. Add the mushrooms and spices and continue to cook, and stir, for another 5-7 minutes.
5. Add the cooked quinoa (2 cups), cooked rice (2 cups), and vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
6. Let the broth cook down for another 8-10 minutes before transferring the stuffing to an oven safe baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top begins to slightly brown.
Next, we'll prepare the sweet potatoes + assemble!
Note: sweet potatoes are super healthy and tasty to dogs, so I prepared a little extra on the side for my pup: you can either cook them with a little water OR a tiny drop of coconut oil (also great for dogs, especially in the more cold and dry months when their skin and pads tend to get dry!)
1. Warm the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
2. Add the sweet potatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the edges begin to brown. Set aside to cool.
3. Make the cranberry salsa: add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust as necessary. Place in refrigerator to chill and to allow flavors to marry.
4. Make the avocado crema: add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend to combine. You may need to add extra lime juice or water to achieve desired consistency. Place in refrigerator to chill and to allow flavors to marry.
5. Warm your tortillas in the oven and prepare the assembly line!
6. To assemble: Start with a warmed tortilla, spread on a generous amount of avocado crema, top with stuffing, sweet potatoes, and salsa.. and a little extra crema! Sriracha is also a delicious addition. Enjoy!