Call these kinds of dishes what you will — Tex-Mex, Southwestern, Mexican. I call them easy, flexible, and crowd-pleasing, even if they’r not 100% authentic. This collection of vegan Tex-Mex recipes might just become your family’s favorites.
Many of these are nearly-instant tortilla-centric meals that need only one central, uncomplicated preparation. For example, with fajitas, quesadillas, or tacos, you need only focus on a filling (which can often be made ahead of time), and most of the embellishments go on the table, allowing everyone to assemble their individual tastes.
In many of these dishes, the protein, veggies, and even salad-y elements mingle companionably and are almost the entire meal in themselves, so completing the menu simply is the way to go. Accompaniments that go well with tortilla dishes include leafy greens, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, bell peppers, chili peppers, and tomatoes.
Choosing good tortillas
Not surprisingly, a key to making successful tortilla recipes is to use good-quality tortillas, whether corn or wheat. As good as some of the products are in the Mexican foods section of supermarkets, I’m sorry to say that the flimsy corn tortillas and white wheat tortillas found there don’t do it for me. The corn tortillas especially are tasteless and dry, and often splinter and fall apart under least amount of heat or manipulation.
Eons ago, after falling in love with Southwestern cuisine on a trip to New Mexico, I was disappointed to return to the northeast and find no resources for good tortillas. Fortunately, that’s changed, as whole-grain and even organic tortillas are readily available in natural food stores.
Wheat tortillas, too, are open to more interpretation and include multi-grain, sprouted, and even tomato- and spinach-flavored varieties. Finding gluten-free corn tortillas isn’t be too difficult, but be aware that not all corn tortillas are necessarily be gluten-free; some varieties are mixed with a little whole wheat.
My favorite brands for tortillas include Vermont Tortilla Company, Sonoma, and Maria and Ricardo’s. Some good brands are available only regionally, so keep exploring, because good tortillas are, obviously, essential to making great tortilla dishes!