Vegan Tacos Review and Giveaway!

Contest is closed! The winner is #29: Amy  Wagar Cinch!

I was super excited to be included in the blog tour for Jason Wyrick, and his new book, Vegan Tacos. I was even more excited (if it’s possible) when the review copy arrived in the mail. Wow. No, wait, WOW!

Vegan Tacos Cover

The cover immediately grabbed me, and when I saw it was shot and styled by the awesome Erin from Olives for Dinner and her husband, Jeff, I wasn’t surprised. A lot of times, I’m tempted to skip over introductions and read them later (give me the recipes already!), but in this case, I’m glad I didn’t. It’s a fantastic explanation of why Jason wrote this book, and sucks you in. Tacos 101, the first chapter, is almost a ‘how to use this book’ overview, as well as a history of the taco. I particularly like that Jason gives the region for each taco, it’s heat index, and ways to make the tacos quickly or even low-fat. Chapter 2, Essential Ingredients and Equipment gives you all the basic info you need to create the recipes in the book. The chile section is indispensable, detailing the properties of all the different chiles and even offering substitutions. I know I’ll turn to this again and again. It also gives information on how to panfry the chiles, rehydrate them, and more. We happen to love spice, but for those of you who don’t, Jason explains how to turn down the heat. The chapter wraps up with info on other ingredients and helpful equipment. I’ll admit to being intimidated by chapter 3, Tortillas, Masa, Nixtamal, and You. I’ve made regular flour tortillas before, but I didn’t even think I liked corn tortillas. I couldn’t be more wrong! I still need practice – I only made them for the last recipe I tried – but they are really easy to make. A little harder to perfect, but that’s ok. I see a lot more of them in my future.

The second part of the book contains all the recipe chapters, starting with a few basics such as Mojo do Ajo (garlic oil) and Flattened Seitan. I had a tough time getting my seitan as thin as the recipe stated so I cooked it longer, but the end result is unlike any seitan I’ve ever had. I plan to keep some in my freezer with my other “regular” seitan at all times.

Tacos de Asador translates to “Tacos charred over an open flame”. Outside of the seitan and mojo de ajo, the first recipe I made was from this chapter. The layers of flavor in this taco were truly mind-melting. From the fiery yet flavorful habanero salsa, to the simple guacamole, to the tangy onions, down to the depth of flavor in the seitan, we were absolutely hooked. One thing to note: I made this using the indoor oven variation, which calls for 4 hours of baking. Next time, I’m going to only bake it for 45 minutes or so. The longer baking resulted in a really chewy (almost jerky texture), which might be the way it’s supposed to be, but I think we’d like it baked for a shorter time.

Tacos with Yucatecan-Style Barbecue Sauce (with Pickled Onions, Chopped Guacamole, and Dog Nose Salsa)

The next chapter is Tacos de Guisados, which means stewed fillings. From here, we tried the Tacos with a Durango Stew. As with most (if not all) recipes, Jason includes options for using seitan, beans, or vegetables. These also wowed us. The recipe uses two kinds of chiles in a tomato-based sauce. We opted for the seitan in the filling, and it all balanced perfectly with the fresh toppings, spiked with the Taco Guacamole Salsa. We topped this taco with the Chiles de Arbol Salsa, which I can’t recommend enough. We will always have some of this in our refrigerator to add flavor (and heat) to loads of dishes. I didn’t get nearly the yield the recipe states, but that could be due to pepper size.

Tacos with a Durango Stew, Taco Guacamole Salsa, and Chiles de Arbol Salsa

In Tacos de Comal – that’s sauteed fillings to us – we tried the Sonoran Tacos first. This was the most “American” taco to us. The photo for this one has disappeared, but you can get the recipe below.

From the same chapter, we tried the Bricklayer Tacos. These just might be my favorite in the book… so far. It was too hard to choose between seitan and mushrooms, so I used half the amount of both. The headnote refers to a “maple and salt hack” which I couldn’t find. So I added a bit of maple syrup, a bit of tamari (I know.. sacrilegious…) and bit of liquid smoke to achieve a slight “bacony taste”. The taco also uses jalapeños in the tomato-based sauce and just screams flavor. Take a look!

Filling for the Bricklayer Tacos

Chapter 8 is Tacos Dorados (Rolled tacos, fried golden crisp) Surprisingly, I have yet to try recipes from this chapter and also the basket tacos (chapter 10), the Fusion Tacos (chapter 13) and the desserts (chapter 12). But I will soon. Only so many meals…. so many times to have tacos!

Los Otros Tacos (other tacos), chapter 9, includes Michoacan-Style Carnitas. While all the dishes are easy to make (and most have components you can make ahead), this one was especially fun. The recipe uses orange slices in the sauce (I opted for the dark beer variation). The pulp of the orange just disappears into the sauce, which seems like magic to me. It’s the little things, right? The sauce is crazy good, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t need the optional shortening. We topped this one with a little cabbage and onion that was dressed with a chile de arbol mayo mixture. It gave a simple yet spicy crunch to the taco, which already had a complex, incredible sauce. Since I still had some beer left, we had these with the Drunken Salsa, which is probably Jim’s favorite salsa we’ve tried. This is also my first attempt at corn tortillas!

Michoacan-Style Carnitas with slaw and Drunken Salsa

From chapter 11 (Tacos Mananeros or Breakfast Tacos), we tried the Breakfast Tacos with Poblano Strips, Mojo Scramble, and Pinto Beans. We used black beans in this instead of pintos, and these were such a satisfying way to start the day! The green olives played off the chile powders in ways I never would have guessed. We had the Mojo de Ajo Potatoes on the side- and so should you! They didn’t make the photo though.

Breakfast Tacos with Poblano Strips, Mojo Scramble, and Beans

Parte Tres is Toppings, Sides, and Drinks, which includes all the amazing salsa and guacamole recipes, side dishes, and even a variety of beverages, both alcoholic and not!

The bottom line on this book is that Jason Wyrick knows and loves tacos. The book is jam-packed with information, recipes, and experience, to help you make the best tacos you’ll ever have. It’s the kind of book that will quickly get worn from use, and you’ll love it more with each recipe you make. I know I am. I have at least another dozen recipes already marked.

Can’t wait to get started? Check out these other recipes- act fast, they might have giveaways, too!

Lazy Smurf features Hominy and Seitan in Roasted Garlic Cascabel Sauce

Vampire Tacos at Vegan Main Street

Vedged Out has Mushroom Tacos

Sonoran Tacos over at Zsu’s Vegan Pantry

Tacos de Guacamole from Vegenista

Veggie Girl shared the Grilled Lime Margarita recipe

Want to win your own copy? Leave a comment on this blog telling me something about tacos. The winner will be drawn randomly on 9/24. Shipping to the United States and Canada only, please. Thank you to Jason Wyrick and Vegan Heritage Press for the contest. Good luck!

One last thing: don’t forget to enter my freekeh contest, too!

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35 Comments

  1. Amanda
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Tacos are the bottom of the new food pyramid.

  2. Posted September 17, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I love love love tacos!! I especially love to put sweet potatoes in my tacos.

  3. Kelly C
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Wow, those look amazing and it must be impressive if you love it so much! Great review, can’t wait to get taco-ing!

  4. Posted September 17, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Oh my gosh!!! What a review! I am entering all the giveaways, hoping to win a copy. I love that you made so many recipes from the different chapters. It sounds like there is so much info in there!!

  5. charj
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I’ve only had tacos from Taco Bell and the boxed kits from the supermarket. I am curious about authentic tacos.

  6. Posted September 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I seriously need to up my taco game! I love putting random veggies or beans on them, but I’m sure it would be much better to learn about some more authentic/creative flavors :)

  7. in2insight
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Taco’s are great! I count them as a finger food. :)

  8. Posted September 17, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I love tacos for a quick and easy dinner. I love discovering authentic vegan taco filling recipes!

  9. Ali
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    The key to any good taco, in my house, is a squeeze of fresh lime juice right before eating.

  10. Ali
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    The key to any good taco, in my house, is a squeeze of fresh lime juice right before eating.

  11. Terri Cole
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    My favorite taco combination is roasted sweet potatoes & poblano peppers, plus smoky black beans, topped with watermelon-mango salsa. Holy Crackers it’s good!

  12. Lydia Claire
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    I love tacos! Seriously one of my favorite meals.

  13. Corrine
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    Tacos are a really easy plant based meal to put together on a busy night.

  14. Beth
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    I love tacos (roasted sweet potatoes, spicy black beans and guacamole are my favorite fillings!) and would love to learn how to make my own tortillas (yours look great!). Thanks for doing the giveaway!! :)

  15. Tanya P
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    We love tacos! We do some kind of different taco meal every week. Love guacamole :)

  16. Cheryl Devine
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I would really love to try the tacos in this cookbook. The photos above look delicious 😀 Thank you for posting them and for having this contest!

  17. Posted September 19, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Love Jason Wyrick, his website, his story, and looking forward to winning and taco-tripping with this book!

  18. Posted September 19, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Tacos are one of the only dinners everyone in the house loves!

  19. Lizzie
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    My brother might not appreciate my sharing this story, but what the heck, it makes me giggle every time. When we were kids our family was on one of our rare out-to-eat evenings. When looking at the menu, my little brother (perhaps ten at the time?) *intended* to ask the waitress what was on their tacos. Instead, he accidentally said, “What’s a taco?” The waitress paused before awkwardly attempted to explain the nature of a taco. To this day, whenever the topic of tacos comes up, I have to ask (my now thirty-year-old brother), “What’s a taco?” 😉

  20. Becca
    Posted September 20, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Tacos are an easy way to please both meat eaters and vegans. One of the reasons I make them frequently.

  21. Posted September 21, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Mmm tacos! I think the best way to make them is with lettuce, soy chorizo, salsa, and guacamole!

  22. Sandy Zimmer
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    National Taco Day is Oct 4, 2014! Thanks for the giveaway

  23. Posted September 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    We eat tacos almost every week, and my family and I are getting bored with the same veggies/beans/salsa version I make because I’m in a hurry or have leftovers to use up. We need variety and tastier options. I’m super excited about this book!

  24. Posted September 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Winning this taco book will mean I finally have a reason to buy a tortilla press. Thanks for the giveaway!

  25. Posted September 22, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    My family loves Tacos – this is on my must-have list!!!

  26. Wayne Coburn
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I own a tortilla press, and I love vegan food and tacos. This cookbook is a dream come true!

  27. Posted September 22, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Taco facts: October 4th is National Taco Day and also taco was originally a reference to wrapping paper around gunpowder in the silver mines.

    This book looks awesome and I can’t wait to get a copy!

  28. Bitt
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    I love vegan tacos with fresh salsa and guacamole.

  29. Amy Wagar Cinch
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I love vegan tacos, every bite. I love vegan tacos, morning, noon and night. I love vegan tacos while flying a kite. Vegan tacos make everything alright.

  30. Posted September 23, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I wear the badge Taco Lover with pride.

    xox
    Kittee

  31. Karen D
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I love to experiment with taco fillings and toppings & I make my own tortillas with organic masa, so I’m sure they’re vegan.

  32. Tamara
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Love tacos and would love to learn how to make mine better!

  33. Melissa Heffelfinger
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I love tacos. They were the only food I craved while I was pregnant. I probably ate close to 200 of them during those 9 months.

  34. Richard the Big Bunny
    Posted January 20, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    “Tacos with a Durango Stew, Taco Guacamole Salsa, and Chiles de Arbol Salsa” — I want that now! :-)

  35. Tami
    Posted January 20, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Richard, you really do!

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