By Therese DeGrace, Executive Chef
Pillar and Post, Vintage Hotels

Makes 12 tacos

Marinated Tempeh

2 blocks (250g each) tempeh, each block cut evenly into 12 strips

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup water

1 tsp puréed garlic

1 tsp Cajun spice blend

Place the tempeh strips in a single layer in a shallow, nonreactive dish. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, water, garlic and Cajun spices. Pour the marinade over the tempeh; refrigerate, covered, for about 24 hours.

Tomatillo Salsa

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed

Pinch chili powder

1 pound husked tomatillos, diced

2 tomatoes, diced

Zest and juice of 2 limes

1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatillos, tomatoes, lime zest and juice, and coriander. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. Using a handheld or countertop blender, purée the mixture until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 week. Serve at room temperature.

Pico De Gallo

6 tomatoes, finely diced

1 red onion finely diced

2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/2 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 6 limes

Pinch granulated sugar

Pinch ground cayenneIn a medium bowl, toss together the tomatoes, onion, jalapeños, garlic, coriander, oil, lime juice, sugar and cayenne. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Vegan Chipotle Mayo

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 small can (about 186 mL/215 g) chipotles in adobo sauce

1 package (350 g) soft tofu

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed

1/2 cup warm water

1 cup grapeseed oil or other neutral vegetable oil Warm water, as needed

In a small frypan or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly caramelized, 7 to 10 minutes.

Using a handheld or countertop blender, puree the contents of the can of chipotles, including the sauce; reserve 2 tablespoons of the chipotle paste for use in this recipe. (The remaining chipotle paste can be refrigerated or frozen for future use.)

Using the same blender, purée the caramelized onion, 2 tablespoons of the chipotle paste, the tofu, garlic, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, paprika, salt, pepper and warm water until smooth. With the blender running, pour in the grapeseed oil in a slow, steady stream. The mixture should be the consistency of mayonnaise. Add warm water as needed if the mixture is too thick. Adjust seasonings, as needed.

Assembling the tacos

12 corn tortillas

Preheat a gas grill over medium heat for at least 10 minutes. Lightly grease the grates. Drain the tempeh. Grill the tempeh until heated through and nicely grill-marked, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Lightly grill the corn tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side.

Spread one generous tablespoon of mayo across the centre of each tortilla. Place 2 strips of tempeh on top. Top with 2 tablespoons of the pico de gallo. Serve the tomatillo salsa in a dish for your guests to drizzle on top. Eat immediately.
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