Sunday, May 1, 2016

Colorful, Tasty Tucson Tacos

Vegan Taco and Salsa Recipes at Colors 4 Health

I love spicy foods of the southwest. Each time I make any south of the border inspired dish including Colorful Tasty Tucson Tacos, it makes me smile.  

Post Updated 04/21/2023

My feature today is a brightly colored taco dish that melds together the vegan flavors of beans, brown rice, veggies, herbs, and spices in a convenient corn package.

Taco parties are great fun. Why not make one for Cinco De Mayo? It's a holiday that commemorates the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). 

Although it is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, here in the United States, May 5th festivities often include events that showcase Mexican culture and heritage with parades, mariachi music, street festivals, and food. 

Nancy Andres' Colorful, Tasty Tucson Tacos
Nancy Andres' Colorful, Tasty Tucson Tacos

My family and I like spicy foods and this vegan, gluten free recipe knows what I'm talking about. 

Its bold taste and eye appeal comes from cayenne and jalapeño pepper, carrots, zucchini, kidney beans, brown rice, and salsa. 

Orange, green, red, brown, golden yellow, and purple clue you in to a rainbow of health benefits. Its vibrant taste is a sensation to behold.

We love jalapeño peppers

A Meal That's Simple and Economical to Assemble

From 12 o'clock going clockwise-salsa, cabbage, zucchini, red onion, kidney beans, shredded carrot, center nutritional yeast


1 15 oz. can kidney or other protein-rich bean or 1/2 cups dried beans (when cooked, beans expand and make approximately 1 1/2 cup cooked beans)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 jalapeño pepper (use gloves to remove seeds and mince fine)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup organic brown rice (cooked in 2 cups vegetable broth, to make it golden and add extra flavor)

Divide and Stuff Taco Shells (usually comes 12 to a pack) with:

2 shredded organic carrots 
1 shredded organic zucchini 

1 cup shredded organic green or red cabbage 
1 medium organic red onion chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro for an extra kick
4 Tablespoons B-12 enriched Nutritional Yeast
salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

1. If you choose to use home cooked beans (about half the price of the same amount of canned ones), start this recipe the night before you want to eat them. 

Pick over and rinse beans to remove dirt and other extraneous matter. Soak beans overnight in enough water to cover and allow for at least 2 inches of extra water above the bean level. Leave pot on stove covered.

2. The next day, spill out bean soaking water, and rinse well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 1 1/2 cups soaked beans in a Dutch oven, stainless steel pot, or roasting pan that has a tight lid. 

Add enough fresh water to cover beans completely. Then add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 Tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 jalapeño pepper (use gloves to remove seeds and mince fine), 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast, and fresh chopped cilantro. Stir. Cover and put pot in the oven. 

Cook for at least 1 hour and 15 minutes or longer. Cooking time is influenced by how fresh the beans are, your altitude, and whether your oven temperature is accurate. Cooking beans in the oven is the method I prefer. 

Beans that are cooked in the oven don't need frequent stirring like those you cook on the range. Check beans at 45 minute intervals. After 1 1/2 hours, if a fork can't pierce and cut a bean easily, continue cooking and check every 15 minutes from then on. Tip: to speed up cooking process, add 1 teaspoon baking powder to beans after 1 hour of cooking.

While beans bake, cook organic brown rice according to package directions, just use vegetable broth in the recipe instead of water. 

Brown Rice flavored with veggie broth
Organic Brown Rice Cooked in Vegetable Broth 

Note: If you’re using canned beans combine 1 Tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 jalapeño pepper (use gloves to remove seeds and mince fine), 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast, and ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro with the beans. Then proceed to step 3.

3. Shred carrots, zucchini, and cabbage (use red or green cabbage) in the food processor. Then, change the blade, and chop onion. Put each in its own dish.

4. When beans and rice are cooked, combine.

5. Warm hard taco shells in a preheated 350 F degree oven for no more than 5 minutes. 

6. Assemble tacos so they look like the picture at the top of this blog. If you're using soft corn tortillas like the 2 pictures below (the ones I used are made from fresh organic sprouted corn), put them on a baking sheet and pile on the fixings. Heat until thoroughly heated (about 10 minutes in a preheated 350 F degree oven). 

7. Either way, don't forget  to top with avocado, guacamole, and salsa. Find a recipe
for guacamole here and one for salsa below.

Serving Tip: Use 2 hard taco shells or 1 lg. or 2 sm. fresh corn tortilla per person. Leftover veggies, beans, and rice are good to add to a salad.

Vegan Tac and Salsa Recipes at Colors 4 Health
soft kidney bean tacos, carrots, zucchini, red onion, salsa, and brown rice on the side

Vegan Taco and Salsa Recipes at Colors 4 Health
soft tacos may curl up as they cook

Nancy Andres' Freshly Made Tomato Salsa
Homemade tomato salsa makes a delightful topping for tacos, and here's how to mix it up!


4 large vine ripened organic tomatoes (approx. 4 cups tomatoes)
1 teaspoon organic tomato paste and 1 teaspoon water to blend
2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice
1 medium onion 
1/2 jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 cup fresh parsley or cilantro 
2 cloves garlic

What to do

1. Put jalapeño, red pepper flakes, and parsley or cilantro in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to a fine consistency. Add other ingredients with the exception of the garlic. Pulse until the salsa is liquid-y, yet small chunks of onion and tomato are still visible. 

2. Add garlic and pulse for 10 seconds more. This preparation method prevents garlic from becoming overpowering, as the smaller the pieces of garlic the more intense the flavor. 

3. Set aside the fresh salsa and allow the elements in it to meld together for at least 15 minutes before serving. There you have it. 

Freshly made tomato salsa is so special. Refrigerate when not serving. Lasts for approx. five days refrigerated.

Vegan Taco and Salsa Recipes at Colors 4 Health
Nancy Andres' Colorful Tucson Tacos, Tomato Salsa, Guacamole Side, and Massaged Kale Salad

Tucson tacos are simple to prepare, and ideal to serve to any woman you care about on Mother's Day. For other Mother's Day recipes see Tasty and Easy Mother's Day Vegan Brunch Recipe Ideas. 

Moms come in many shapes and sizes, and some can't celebrate with their family on this day. Others haven't birthed children and/or are step moms. 

Show your appreciation to that best friend, neighbor, or teacher who held your hand when you grieved the loss of your dog. 

Perhaps you'll reach out to that aunt or sister who hears you, whenever you need to vent your feelings. 

How about serving this festive dish to a woman who was there for you, when you cried your eyes out over the breakup of a long term relationship? 

Is there a special woman at your business who cheers you on and is happy for your success? Celebrate her.

Most women are natural nurturers and Mother's Day is an opportune time to salute those you feel blessed to know. 

Tacos are tasty additions for any eating plan. No need to wait for a special occasion to serve them. When you're entertaining, serve Tacos on a taco bar. 

Assemble bowls of guacamole, salsa, refried beans, chili peppers, garbanzo beans, pumpkin seeds, shredded daikon, shredded jicama, marinated red peppers, olives, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and chopped nuts. It's a fun way for family and friends to participate in food preparation. 

Before you go, please take a moment to comment, ask questions, and share your favorite taco or salsa recipes and/or Mother's Day memory. No links in your comment please, as it won't be published.

Thanks for reading this post at Colors 4 Health. If you enjoyed the information and ideas I provided, add my blog to your online reading list at
Share the love by commenting below. 
Do you eat tacos often? Please explain.
What ingredients do you like to put in your tacos? Please share that too. 
I read and appreciate every comment, but if you put links in your comments, I won't be able to publish them that way. Thanks for understanding.

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  1. Mmmmm. I'll use this recipe, or parts of it, since we like our beans a certain way, on our next taco night. Thank you so much! Looks delicious!

    1. Thanks Kathryn Grace. I think it's wonderful that taco recipes are so adaptable and cooking methods so flexible. Have a great week and keep up the good work. Here's a link to a blog post I think is important to see. It's from Kathryn Grace.

  2. So yummy! This is my kind of healthy comfort food! What a delightful blend of flavors and textures.Thank you for sharing your healthy and delectable Colorful, Tasty Tucson Tacos with us on the Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up. I'm pinning and sharing.

    1. My pleasure Deborah. What a great lineup of posts this week at the Plant-based Potluck Party Link Up. I'm pinning and sharing them all over the place. Happy Cinco de Mayo and have a great day!

  3. Cooking rice or pasta in broth is such a tasty idea a lot of people don't even think about! My dad does it all the time! :)

    1. Thanks Gigi. Sorry it took a few days to get back to you. I have just been overwhelmed with things to do. I agree with your dad. Why not add that extra flavor, nutrition, and color by using broth to cook this staples? Have a fabulous weekend. Nancy Andres

  4. This looks delicious!! I love homemade salsa & look forward to trying your recipe!! thanks for sharing at the Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up!

    1. Thanks Angela for the comment. Please let me know how you like the salsa recipe and whether you made it mild, medium, or hot. The Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up is so fun. Nancy Andres

  5. Oh wow, these tacos looks delicious! I've never tried zucchini with my taco, yum!

    1. Thanks so much Janelle for your comment. I try to get creative and incorporate as many kinds of vegetables in meals as I can. Eating the rainbow (large assortment of colored fruits and veggies) is a great health benefit. Have a great weekend and let me know it you try out my recipes. Nancy Andres

  6. Perfect for my next party! I am so delighted that you shared your easy, tasty and healthy Colorful, Tasty Tucson Tacos with us at the Healthy Happy Green Natural Party! I’m Pinning and sharing this!

    1. Thanks Deborah. Had a ball at the Link-up party and look forward to visiting again. Happy Taco making and a great weekend. Nancy Andres

  7. These look FAbulous!! Thank you for sharing at the Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up, Pinned :-)

    1. Thanks so much Angela. I pinned your post as well. Wishing you a great weekend. Nancy Andres

  8. Hi Nancy, these look delicious! I've never put zucchini in a taco either, but I'm going to have to now that I've seen these. So colorful and healthy and tasty!

    1. Thanks Lee for your comment. I appreciate the many good food ideas I learn from you at Veggie Quest. Wishing you a Happy Day! Nancy A.

  9. This looks delicious! I'm always looking for ways to spice up my taco recipes. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Sounds wonderful!! Pinned - Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party. Hope you have a fabulous week!!

    1. Thanks so much Helen. Appreciate the visit, comment, and social share. Have a beautiful day and Happy May!

  11. What an lovely Salsa. Love it. thanks for sharing at #SeniorSalonPitStop 257

  12. I am so glad I popped over from the Senior Salon Pit Stop. Thanks for sharing it over there too.