Hello! Please allow me to introduce you to two of my newest food obsessions:
Number 1: my brand spankin’ new George Foreman grill,
and Number 2: Crispy-crunchy, amazingly flavourful, veggie-loaded taco bowls with all the fixins’.
I first started cooking with a George Foreman grill when William and I moved far away from our homes in BC, to live in Alberta. We were 19 and going through the big transition of teenagers living at home to semi-functioning real world adults. We got jobs and lived with a ridiculously awful room mate, in the messiest “home” I’ve ever attempted to live in, with the teeniest of tiny kitchens, which was in a constant state of complete and utter chaos.
We were young, poor and needing to save up some money, ASAP! We also quickly learned that we needed a space that was totally our own. So despite being in the last place you’d ever want to prepare food, cooking at home and from scratch became completely necessary.
All things considered, William and I both agree that the experience was totally worthwhile. Besides learning a lot about ourselves as a young couple (like we would never live with another room mate again, ever.) We also discovered the amazing vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz and her totally awesome cookbook, “Vegan with a Vengeance”. Thanks to that book I learned that marinating tofu makes it actually taste no, delicious. We learned that the teeny-tiny George Foreman grill in our room mate’s kitchen was not only awesome for grilling some damn fine tofu, but for cooking up veggies, veggie burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, paninis, and a heck of a lot more. Oh! And they are super easy to clean! Win!
See, it was all worth it in the end!
Every so often for the last 5 years since we moved out of the place I’ll lovingly call “that-God-forsaken-hellhole”, I’ve thought back to that trusty little George Foreman. While a little too small overall, that grill was a real champ and I almost feel a little bad for leaving it behind! I missed the easy cleaning and deliciously charred tofu.
Recently, William was checking out Kijiji, as he usually does, looking for great deals, hilarious grammar and spelling mistakes that make the ads so much funnier when read completely literally, and old junk that he can show me and say, “Guess how much”, before we erupt into fits of giggles because people think they can label their old useless crap as “vintage” or “antique” and expect people to pay top dollar for it. On this recent occasion he stumbled upon a new in box, double wide, George Foreman grill for just . I had to have it.
Long story short, ever since picking this guy up I’ve been loving on it like crazy.
After a long day of work the first thing I made was a whole whack of grilled veggies to go with some leftover rice, beans, and taco sauce. Then I realized I had some crisp iceberg lettuce, fresh tomatoes, guacamole and tortilla chips on hand. Obviously, I had no choice but to load up this simple dinner with all the toppings. Ever since I made that first impromptu “throw a bunch of taco-ish things into a bowl and call it a meal”, I’ve made it at least 6 times. I am now 100% obsessed with crunchy taco bowls.
So, besides getting to spend quality time with my new beloved George Foreman, why do I love this recipe so much?
- It is easy – I often cook up a ton of rice for meals throughout the week, after that all I’ve got to do is open up a can of black beans, grill some veggies, and gather whatever “taco-ish” ingredients I have on hand.
- It’s super healthy and makes the perfect “lightened up” alternative to burritos and tacos. I load mine with grilled and raw veggies and then add as many tortilla chips as I like for some of that satisfying taco crunch.
- It’s completely customizable – Sometimes I’ve got spinach on hand, sometimes it’s iceberg lettuce, grape tomatoes or vine-ripened tomatoes, salsa or taco sauce, guacamole or mashed avocado, how about some Daiya cheese shreds? Sure! Seriously, just think “tacos” and anything goes. I’ve also been loving thin slices of jalapeño, red onion, a good dose of lime juice, a sprinkle of cilantro, or some hearty salsa baked tofu. I switch it up depending on what I’ve got on hand at the time.
- It’s freaking delicious.
For simplicity’s sake, I like to use store bought taco sauce. I just happen to LOVE President’s Choice brand taco sauce – there’s no funky ingredients, it’s not crazy sweet, salty, or spicy, it’s just simply perfect (and cheap!) Feel free to make your own from scratch though, I’ve made before and it’s great! Need a gluten free bowl? Just stick with a gluten free brand of chips like my personal favourite, Que Pasa, and double check the ingredients of your chosen taco sauce or make your own from scratch. Easy peasy!
Below I’ll share a few different versions that I’ve posted to Garden of Vegan and Instagram just to give you a little more customization inspiration.
I encourage you to make this bowl ASAP, sit down, eat, and start scouring Kijiji to get yourself a cheap George Foreman grill because they are simply awesome for vegan cooking. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: This post has not been sponsored. I mention multiple brands in this post because I’ve relied on and loved them for a very long time. Full disclosure: I did receive some swag from Que Pasa as a thank you for posting this variation of our Loaded Vegan Nacho Plate on Instagram. Their package happened to arrive on the day I was gearing up to shoot this recipe so I included their salsa and new Ancient Grains chips in the shoot. They’ve been my go-to tortilla chip brand for years now and I whole-heartedly recommend them!
- 2/3 cup zucchini, halved and sliced
- 2/3 cup sliced bell peppers (red, green and yellow)
- 1/4 red onion, thin sliced
- 2/3 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 handful baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/3 cups cooked white or brown rice
- 2/3 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 tbsp taco sauce
- 1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped
- 1 handful baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 2–4 tbsp guacamole
- 2–4 tbsp salsa
- 2+ handfuls of tortilla chips
- 1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella, Cheddar, or Pepperjack style shreds
- fresh lime juice or wedges
- extra taco sauce for drizzling
- jalapeño, thin sliced
- cilantro, chopped
- salsa baked tofu
- Combine cooked rice, rinsed black beans, and taco sauce in a microwave-safe container. Heat on high for 3-4 minutes or until hot.
- Preheat grill or skillet (high heat). Spray with non-stick cooking spray or brush with vegetable oil (about 2-3 tsp.)
- Cook bell pepper, red onion, and zucchini for about 4 min. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add spinach and cook until just wilted.
- To serve: Scoop 3/4 cup of rice and bean mixture into a bowl and add 1/2 of the grilled veggies. Top with a handful of fresh greens (iceberg lettuce or spinach), fresh chopped tomato, 2+ handfuls of crushed tortilla chips, 1-2 tbsp of guacamole, and 1-2 tbsp of salsa. Add any optional topping you desire (fresh cilantro, Daiya cheese, fresh lime juice, salsa baked tofu, extra taco sauce, etc.)