Like all your university boyfriends, who promised so much more than they ever delivered; I made some noise in February about sharing recipes for our favourite four-children-approved vegetarian recipes a while ago (here) and then, well, didn’t give up the goods.
I’m here to make amends! Not with the boyfriends.
After a few restorative summer afternoons in the garden I’m ready to get on the case.
Also, and while we’re on the topic of afternoons in the garden, a quick summer holiday public service announcement to remind you about the possibility of smug and lazy toddler garden art; very different from regular smug and lazy toddler art. I posted a photo of this latest creative endeavour on Instagram and had some lovely responses from people also setting their children up in the garden to colour / paint / glue.
Life is definitely easier in the sunshine.
In any case, the recipe: four-children-approved vegetarian tacos, the most requested recipe mentioned previously.
It might be remiss of me not to mention that, this is, this week, a borderline erroneous title, given that one nameless 4 year old child refused to grant their approval.
That said, given Mim’s strongly-held position on most foods that are not plain-pasta-with-cheese, I think we can assume it less the fault of the meal, and more about the recipient.
Let’s agree, also, not to worry about how hideously inauthentic this recipe is: now is not the time for authenticity. This is a delicious, quick, easy, and healthy meal option that you can easily adapt for newly-weaning babies, toddlers, older children and adults, so your limited evening hours can be spent on Love Island and not cooking multiple meals and I think we can all agree that is the ultimate smug and lazy success story.
Can black beans
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced
2 red peppers
2-3 carrots, peeled and grated
1 courgette (zucchini)
Taco shells / tortilla wraps
Optional: sour cream / yogurt, guacamole / fresh sliced avocado, salsa.
If serving adults, older children, or just children more open to spice than mine: cumin, chilli powder, oregano to taste.
Glug of oil on a medium heat. Slowly soften onion, if using (I often make two pans – one for the children with no onion or spice – and one for us with both).
I dice the vegetables as finely as possible to reduce protests.
Ditto the grated carrot which is enough to convince even those among us who claim to dislike carrot.
Soften for 5-10 minutes. Add the (drained, rinsed) beans.
If you are adding spice, this is your moment. For adults, I would add around a teaspoon of cumin and half a teaspoon of chilli, but add to taste.
Add water – enough just to soften the beans (c150ml). If you end up with a mix that is too wet by the end you can drain a little.
Cook on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
Grate cheese, get your fixings ready (salsa, avocado, guacamole, cheese, etc). Bake the tacos according to the packet.
Add the sweetcorn if using (sweetcorn and cheese are enough to ensure my children are thrilled by this meal)
I normally mash / crush half the mixture, then mix through with the rest of the beans. Spoon into tacos, cover with grated cheese and any other toppings; serve with rice and salad.
I use a fairly hefty cheese:bean ratio for the children.
The photos were taken suspended above the kitchen floor to prevent four hungry children from nabbing them, proof of their success.
And for Wilf, 2, the same meal in a slightly different format.
This is a great option for weaning babies too – the beans are fun for fine motor skills, although the rice might require a little help (or at least a generous glass of wine to tide you through the clean up afterwards).
The best (lazy) part: I always make enough to have leftovers for the next day. Then I either use the bean mix and some grated cheese in tortilla wraps to make a semblance of quesadillas by dry frying on the stove top – or combine the bean mix with the rice to bake burritos.
More soon! On meals and the final trailer / caravan renovation update, ahead of our August roadtripping.