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  • Karla Hernandez

Squash & Tofu Vegan Chilaquiles Bowl

Chilaquiles, pronunced: chee-lah-kee-lehs, are a Mexican dish dating back to the Aztecs. The dish consists of tortilla chips with a spicy chile sauce and from there, people add chicken or eggs, sour cream and queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese). Ingredients can vary greatly depending on the region and on each families recipe. They are usually served on a plate, but I opt for a bowl because I feel it is a better vessel to make sure that every chip gets submerged into the sauce. Additionally, my recipe is vegan.

I've adapted this recipe to be either super easy or slightly more work. The easy route will consist of using canned or prepackaged foods and the slightly more difficult version involves making these from scratch. Although the version that takes more work will taste better and be better for you 100% of the time, I understand that time is sometimes a barrier. I personally, do a combination of from scratch and not from scratch. I buy the chips instead of making them from tortillas and if I'm running out of time, I use canned beans. However, I always make the salsa. The following will describe your options.

Beans

Traditionally, beans aren't part of the recipe, but I love to add them because they add extra protein and they are hella Mexican and hella vegan.

- 1st option: no beans. If you don't want bean, no problem.

- 2nd option: canned beans. Be sure to get whole black beans with only salt added. Avoid canned beans with spices and refried beans as these will usually contain unfavorable ingredients like lard (not vegan), and natural flavors (aka sometimes not vegan, there is no way of knowing).

- 3rd option: Beans made from scratch. Be sure to make these first as they will take a while. Beans made from scratch should preferably be soaked in water for at least 8 hours to remove the indigestible sugars that cause gas.


Tortilla Chips

The tortilla chips are one of the main ingredients so be sure to either...

1. Get thick authentic restaurant style chips or

2. Make them at home with tortillas


Salsa

I don't recommend buying it canned unless you absolutely have to because this is the other main ingredient... If you've never made salsa and you are not sure of where to get tomatillos, also known as Mexican husk tomatoes, you can substitute them for regular tomatoes. This will make a red sauce instead of a green and this is perfectly fine :). Roasting some of the salsa ingredients before blending them will add depth of flavor and if using tomatillos, it will remove the acidity from the tomatillos. Additionally, to reduce the acidity I add a carrot. Also note, this salsa will need to be slightly more watery than regular salsa.

Note: your salsa should look less thick than the one pictured.




Ingredients

- tortilla chips or corn tortillas

- 2-3 large tomatillos or 4 small

- 1 tomatoes

- 1 1/2 - 2 onions

- 1-2 garlic cloves

- 1/2 large or 1 small carrot

- 2 cups veggie broth

- 3 1/4 teaspoons salt

- 1-2 jalapeños or serranos

- 1/4 cilantro

- 1/2 block of super firm tofu

- 1 teaspoons garlic powder

- 1 teaspoons dried oregano

- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

- 1 small squash (I used yellow zucchini, but green works great too)

- vegan sour cream

- 1/4 iceberg lettuce

- 1-2 avocados

- 1 cup black beans, or 1-2 cans (optional, highly suggested)


Instructions

Making the beans (3 cups cooked)

1. If you are adding black beans and making them from scratch be sure to make these first. If not then skip to step 4.

2. If you are using canned beans, just add them to a small sauce pan and heat them up a few minutes before you are ready to serve.

3. If making them from scratch, soak your beans for at least 8 hours. Once soaked, add them to a sauce pan and submerge them under 2 inches of water. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves for every 1 cups of dry beans. Turn the heat to high until the water boils, then lower the heat and let simmer for 45 minutes or until beans are fully cooked. Taste and add salt if needed


Making the tortilla chips

4. If you are using store bought tortilla chips, be sure to buy thick authentic or restaurant style tortilla chips, avoid chips that will turn to mush easily. Anyway, if you aren't making them, skip to step 7, otherwise read on.

5. You can easily make delicious chips that will be worth your while using corn tortillas. To bake them, turn the oven on to 375°F and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet.

6. You'll need around 3 to 4 tortillas per bowl. Brush on some vegetable oil on both sides and cut the tortillas into 4 or 6 piece. Bake them until golden brown and crunchy about 15 minutes. Set them aside while you make the salsa


Making the salsa (this makes about 9 cups)

7. Broil the peeled tomatillos, 1/2 an onion, carrot and jalapeños. Broil for 10 to 15 minutes; flipping them at 5 or 7 minutes, respectively. Alternatively, you can put them in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Add the roasted vegetables to a blender along with 1 to 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoons of salt, 1/4 of a cilantro bunch and 2 cups of vegetable broth.

9. Put the salsa in a sauce pan and let it come to a boil. Once boiling turn off the heat. Taste and add salt if needed


Making the tofu & squash (Makes about 6 cups)

10. Crumble the tofu in a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder. Mix the ingredients well.

11. Put a large pan on medium heat. Once hot, add a splash of oil, and let it warm up. Then, add the tofu and let it cook for about 5-10 minutes. Set it aside.

12. While the tofu cooks, cut the zucchini into half or quartered rings.

13. Cook the zucchini on medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes. Now you can combine the tofu and the zucchini in a container or in that same pan. Make sure not to over cook it, we don't want it to turn to mush. Taste it and add salt if needed


Prepping the toppings

14. Slice 1/ of the iceberg lettuce, chop the 1/4 to 1/2 onion and slice the avocado


Serving

15. In a bowl, serve yourself some chips, scoop in a couple or a few serving spoons of tofu mix, if you opted for beans, add these now, ladle in some salsa (I usually add 2 to 3 ladles worth of sauce), then top with lettuce, fresh onion, sour cream and avocado




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