Let’s taco bout avo-tacos: fried avocado lettuce wrap taco with cabbage and zucchini slaw, sriracha “aioli” and pico de gallo

Living in southern California, all anyone ever wants to eat is a fish taco…and when it is beer battered and fried, there is no doubt that it is the item to order. I recently had a great fried avocado taco in East Nashville (I did not expect to find excellent tex-mex in Nashville) at The Local Taco and decided I had to recreate it at home and to take it to the next level with a beer batter. But of course, I have to do it my way – vegan, gluten-free, dairy free with no refined sugars, adding in as much protein as possible and filling it with whole food goodness.

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Beer batters serve a purpose…simply put, they are used for their slowly bursting bubbles. Beer is saturated with CO2 which creates bubbles to lighten up a batter, kind of like baking soda in a baked good. When the batter hits hot oil,  the CO2 solubility lower and bubbles froth up, making the batter expand, lighten and become crispy. So why beer? Why not champagne or even carbonated water?

You can of course replace the beer with carbonated water but the advantage that beer has can be found in the same reason why beer forms a long lasting head when poured – naturally occuring proteins and foaming agents form a film around the bubbles and slow down the rate at which they burst. In a batter, it creates a light layered crisp. Yet at the same time, alcohol evaporates faster than water and as a result, the batter cooks much faster and there is less risk of overcooking the food. In this case, the avocado – an avocado perfectly cooked is rich in flavor as the natural avocado oil is released. Overcooked and it starts to taste a bit funky.

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The result of a beer batter is the perfect crunch with a perfectly creamy avocado center. I used a gluten free vegan IPA, but feel free to use what you want. You can achieve a tasty fried avocado using carbonated water. It won’t be exactly the same, but it will be close enough.

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For the breading, I was reminded of batter that my mom uses to make an indian fried vegetable appetizer called pakora which is typically done with a garbanzo bean flour – it offers a sweet rich flavor to the vegetable with a nice crunch that holds up well. It also adds protein and dietary fiber. So I used a garbanzo/fava bean flour from Bob’s Red Mill.

The most important aspect to consider when frying is the oil – you should use a high heat oil so that the oil does not reach the smoke point (the point at which the fat breaks down)  and become rancid during the cooking process. Spectrum Natural oils provide a smoke point guide on the bottles of oils.

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I wanted to add flavor, spice, veg and acid as well as protein and a creamy sauce to the taco. All the additional components – sauces and slaws – are pretty simple to make with a food processor.

I made a cabbage zucchini slaw with carrot, lime, sesame seeds and dates for sweetness, instead of a refined sugar. Rather than puree dates on demand, I keep a “date paste” in the fridge – I take 1 cup of pitted dates and puree with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of hot water until it is blended and store it in a glass jar in the fridge. I cup of dates replaces 1 cup of sugar in baking. I use 1 Tbs of date paste as a replacement for 1 Tbs of sugar.

I used purple cabbage for the pop of color. I made this the night before as to let the flavors deepen and mingle.

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For the sirracha “aioli”, I first made a cashew nut “hummus”, then using part of the hummus, made an “aioli” adding more spices, lemon juice, coconut vinegar and sirracha. This was great fresh, even better when left to sit overnight.

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I layered the sriracha “aioli” onto the lettuce (I prefer butter lettuce, but romaine works well too).

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I added a quick hommade pico de gallo using tomatoes and jalepenos we grew and limes from a neighbor’s tree.

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The add on the fried avocado..

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and slaw…

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fold in half…

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and dig into your avo-taco.

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Crispy, creamy, spicy, fresh, bright and tasty with no refined sugars. Summer may be coming to an end but there is still the perfect weather for a beer and yummy avo-tacos.

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Happy eating!

Battered and Fried Avocado

  • High heat oil for frying
  • 1 cup garbanzo/fava bean flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 ounces gluten free, vegan IPA or club soda
  • 3 avocados, ripe but still firm

Heat oil in a wok or large saucepan – about 4 inces deep. Best if you can use a deep-fry thermometer onto the side (make sure the needle is not touching the bottom of the pot. Bring to 375-400 degrees (adjust heat to maintain that temperature).

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne. Add the beer and mix until combined – it should have the consistency of pancake batter.

Cut the avocados into half and remove the seed. Cut the half into thick slices – about 4-5 per half and remove skin.

Dip the avocado slices into the batter and fry 2-3 slices for about 1-2 minutes, flip and fry until golden brown, about an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from oil and allow to drain on a stack of paper towels.

Vegan Sriracha Cashew “Aioli”

  • 3/4 cup cashew nut hummus (see recipe below) or hummus of your choice
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha or hot sauce
  • Juice from 1/2 a medium lemon, seeds removed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp smoked or regular paprika
  • 2 dates, soaked overnight and pureed or 2 Tbs date paste
  • 1 tsp apple cider or coconut vinegar

Place ingredients into a food processor and blend until creamy, pushing down the sides every so often. Taste and adjust salt and sirracha according to taste. Let sit for 2-3 hours to overnight in fridge.

Cashew Nut Hummus

  • 2 cups cashews soaked for 2-3 hours to overnight in water (or 10 min in boiling hot water)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup raw tahini
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs olive oil

Place ingredients into a food processor and blend until creamy, pushing down the sides every so often. Add additional oil as needed to help blend, blending will take 5- 10 min for creaminess.

Pico de Gallo

  • 5 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small jalepenos, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime juiced
  • lime zest
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients into a bowl. Let sit in fridge for 2-3 hours to overnight.

Cabbage Zuchhini Slaw

  • 1/2 head red cabbage shredded (I used a shredding blade in the food processor, made about 2 cups)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded (in food processor)
  • 1 small zucchini, ends removed and shredded (in a food processor)
  • 1small jalepeno, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 dates, soaked overnight and pureed or 2 Tbs date paste
  • 2 Tbs lime juice
  • 1 Tbs coconut or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds

Mix date, lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and ginger and set aside.

Mix cabbage, carrot, zucchini, jalepeno, cilantro and sesame seeds together. Add liquid mix and mix thoroughly. Let sit in fridge for 2-3 hours to overnight.

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6 thoughts on “Let’s taco bout avo-tacos: fried avocado lettuce wrap taco with cabbage and zucchini slaw, sriracha “aioli” and pico de gallo

  1. Yes, and the higher quality oils have a better flavor, which is what I use – and are more expensive. when I bake the avocado, i use coconut oil mixed with pink himalayan salt, but for frying, I use other high heat seed oils, but coconut unfortunately is a little beyond my budget for something like this (especially when cooking for a party, which is what this was made for!). Thanks for your comments! 🙂

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  2. Pingback: Oh, Yeah. Kickstart my new start: Mayo-less avocado based egg salad lettuce wrap | The Purposeful Kitchen

  3. Pingback: I pita the fool who doesn’t like hummus: Legume-free zucchini almond hummus | The Purposeful Kitchen

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