Black bean, chargrilled corn & feta tacos

A couple of months after I was diagnosed as a Coeliac I woke up from a nightmare. I was in hospital and two nurses had brought me a tray of plastic-wrapped cabin bread (presumably gloof), ‘We’ve got bad news for you’ they said. ‘As well as being Coeliac, we’ve discovered that you’re also vegan’. I jolted awake, sweating and heart racing, and I burst out laughing. Thanks, subconscious – point taken. No matter how bad you think things are, they could always be worse. No to gluten, but yes to everything else! 

I love eating vegetarian food and don’t see the absence of meat as a deprivation. Having said that, I do think that good vegetarian food requires some thoughtful consideration of preparation and flavouring to ensure that it’s delicious. For these vegetarian tacos, chargrilling the corn adds a smokiness, the coriander and chilli gives them a summery freshness and the feta just makes them delicious.    

Black bean, chargrilled corn & feta tacos

For the black beans:

2 cobs of sweetcorn, husks and stringy bits removed

a can of black beans, drained

a large handful of fresh coriander leaves, semi-finely chopped

2-3 spring onions, finely chopped

a red chilli, finely chopped 

2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan and ground in a mortar and pestle (reserve 1/2 tablespoon of the ground cumin for the slaw)

150g feta, crumbled

The corn can be chargrilled in a cast iron griddle pan in a hot oven or on a stove top, or on your barbecue grill. Prepare the corn for chargrilling by placing in a bowl and drizzling it with some oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Once your chargrilling surface of choice is searingly hot, place the corn on top and turn it regularly until it has browned and blackened grill marks. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little before using a small serrated edge knife to cut the corn from the cobs. 

Place the black beans into a large bowl and roughly mash up about half of the beans using a fork, ensuring that some of the beans are kept whole. Add the corn, chopped coriander, spring onion and chilli. Crumble in the feta and give stir the mixture to thoroughly combine. 

For the guacamole:

2 ripe avocado

1-2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

a large pinch of sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

a splash of hot sauce (optional)

Mash up the avocado, add the lemon juice and season well with salt, pepper and chilli sauce. 

For the slaw:

1/4 of a medium-sized red cabbage, finely shredded using a mandolin or knife

a small handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

the juice of 1 lemon 

a couple of generous glugs of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin (reserved from the cumin ground for the black bean mix)

a large pinch of sea salt 

freshly ground black pepper

Place cabbage and coriander in a bowl, add remaining ingredients and toss to coat the vegetables in the dressing. 

To serve the tacos:

12 corn tortilla, made from scratch or bought 

your favourite hot sauce (I like this one)

Set out all of the taco components on the table: the black bean, chargrilled corn & feta mixture, the slaw, guacamole, tortilla and hot sauce and let everyone tuck in and help themselves. 

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