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Baja Tacos with Mango Salsa
Surf’s up in the VegNews Recipe Club this week! Okay, not really, but these Baja Tacos with Mango Salsa make us feel like we’re relaxing at the beach, which is perfect because we need to prepare for our Los Angeles launch party featuring modern Mexicali cuisine (hello, smoky veggie taquitos and watermelon margaritas!). These mouthwatering gluten-, soy-, and nut-free tacos—courtesy of But I Could Never Go Vegan! by Kristy Turner—provide all the flavor you want in a beachy taco (minus the sand in your teeth). The crunch of the chickpea fillets pairs well with a refreshing mango salsa with enough kick to remind you not to eat so fast. So fix up these light yet satisfying tacos, and we’ll see you next weekend in LA!
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Serves 2
What You Need:

For the Mango Salsa
2 mangos, pitted, peeled, and diced small
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons diced jalapeño
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

For the Chickpea Fillets
1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 teaspoon kelp granules
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
Several dashes black pepper
2 cups water
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup non-dairy milk
3/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 cup gluten-free brown rice bread crumbs
Olive oil spray

For the Sriracha Tartar Sauce
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 to 2 tablespoons sriracha
1 tablespoon juice from a jar of capers
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Tacos
6 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded cabbage
2 to 3 radishes, thinly sliced, optional
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What You Do:

1. For the Mango Salsa, in a large bowl, mix together the ingredients. Chill until ready to use. Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. For the Chickpea Fillets, in a small bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, kelp granules, Old Bay, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, dill, and pepper. Bring the water to a boil, then whisk in chickpea flour mixture and reduce heat to medium-high. Continue to whisk for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture has the texture of a very thick, lumpy pudding. Whisk in the oil and remove from heat. Pour into prepared loaf pan and use a rubber spatula to spread evenly. Refrigerate at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

3. When the mixture has chilled and hardened, remove from refrigerator. Use the parchment paper to lift block out of the pan. Slice block widthwise into 6 strips (fillets).

4. Pour the non-dairy milk into one shallow bowl, the arrowroot powder into another, and the bread crumbs into another. Using one hand for the wet ingredients and one hand for the dry, dredge one chickpea fillet in the milk and then in the arrowroot powder. Tap off the excess arrowroot powder, then dredge the fillet in the milk again, and finally in the bread crumbs. When fully coated, set on a plate and repeat with the remaining fillets.

5. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat a large frying pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Liberally spray the bottom of the pan with olive oil (or pour in just enough olive oil to very thinly coat the bottom and heat for 2 to 3 minutes). Place the fillets in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown all over. Transfer fillets to the paper towels.

6. For the Sriracha Tartar Sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients. Chill until ready to use.

7. Respray pan with olive oil, add 1 tortilla, and cook for 30 seconds on each side, until heated but still soft and pliable. Remove from pan, place on a plate, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

8. To assemble tacos, sprinkle a couple pinches of shredded cabbage and radish slices (if using) into the middle of a heated tortilla. Top with a chickpea fillet and the Mango Salsa. Serve with Sriracha Tartar Sauce.

Photo by Chris Miller
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