Okay, sure, this is a taco recipe, but I’m equally as excited about the cheese! I mean, just look at it! These Smoky White Bean Tacos with Almond Queso Blanco are definitely my new favorite dinner on #tacotuesday, and maybe any day. Quick, healthy AND delicious is totally my jam, and that’s what this recipe is all about. Fresh tomato, onion, and cilantro balanced with smoky and subtly spicy white beans, wrapped in a warm tortilla and topped with soft, salty almond cheese? Yes, please. And I think you’re going to love it, too!
You know we have to start with the Almond Queso Blanco
One morning I woke up at 4am and just couldn’t fall back to sleep. And as I so often do these days, I started thinking about upcoming recipes and things I want to share on the blog. Tacos had been at the forefront of my planning because so far there’s only one taco recipe here (crazy, I know). So I’m lying there thinking about tacos and all of my favorite Mexican flavors – smoky, salty, fresh, bright – and I remembered a photo I saw recently of some non-vegan tacos that had queso fresco crumbled on top. It was such a beautiful photo, the contrast of bright white cheese against dark food and shadows. In thinking about the texture of soft, fresh, crumbly cheeses, almond ricotta came to mind. It’s a soft and fluffy sort of cheese, not intended to be totally smooth, and so I thought….what if I added a small amount of agar and heated the cheese briefly to activate it, then poured it into a ramekin to let it set? Would I end up with a crumbly cheese perfect for sprinkling on top of tacos?
Once 6:00 AM rolled around and it was time to get up and drink coffee, I set to work. And I am SO in love with the result. Friends, this cheese could be used in so many lovely ways: atop salads, dips, and appetizers, on pizza and flatbread, in sandwiches and wraps. It’s a subtle but fun twist on some of the cheeses I’ve been making recently, and I’m sure you can see what I mean. In the vegan cheese world, this particular texture is just not something we come across very often! So from now on, any recipe where one might use feta or goat cheese, or queso fresco or blanco, you’re going to see THIS cheese (with small tweaks to the acidity and saltiness). I feel like this cheese firmly belongs in the “anything you can eat I can eat vegan” files.
It is definitely going to get its own separate post soon. Here it is! Almond Queso Blanco (recipe included below). Now, back to tacos….
Smoky White Bean Tacos make a perfect weeknight meal
Let’s say you start soaking the almonds in the morning before heading off to work. Then when it’s dinner time, all you need to do is make the cheese, which takes about ten minutes of prep, followed by 20 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator to set. While it sets you prep the taco filling, maybe sip on a margarita, and you’re in business!
Let’s say you want the process to be even faster. If you often come home hangry (picture me raising my hand!) and need dinner to require no more than two steps and 15 minutes, you can make the cheese in advance, say, Sunday or Monday night, and let it hang out in the fridge. Then when you arrive home from work on #tacotuesday, the only thing standing between you and tasty, healthy, satisfying tacos is a bit of chopping and sautéing. We’re talking 15 to 20 minutes tops. Tacos to the rescue! 🙂
I hope you enjoy these Smoky White Bean Tacos with Almond Queso Blanco! I would love to hear your feedback below in the comments. You can also rate the recipe and/or tag a photo @myquietkitchen on Instagram to show off your #tacotuesday deliciousness.
Smoky White Bean Tacos With Almond Queso Blanco
For the almond queso blanco (makes enough for 4-6 servings):
- 1 cup raw slivered almonds, soaked overnight or quick-soaked in hot water for an hour
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp agar powder
For the tacos:
- 4 tortillas, corn, flour or a blend (gluten-free if needed)
- 1/2 large red onion, chopped; reserve 2 Tbsp for garnish
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil (sub water or broth for oil-free diet)
- 1 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 to 1 1/2 tsp chipotle flakes
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 tsp salt
- lime wedges
- fresh tomato, pico de gallo or salsa
Make the Almond Queso Blanco:
- Drain the soaked almonds. Place in a food processor with the lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast, and water. Process until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Maintain some of the texture of the almonds; this is different from other cheeses in that we're not looking for it to become completely smooth.
- Add the agar powder to the processor and pulse several times to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, whisking constantly. When you see some bubbling and know the mixture has reached boiling temperature, pour into a small ramekin or bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. It will be set and ready to use in about 30 minutes but can also be made in advance. Once cool, cover and keep refrigerated.
Make the tacos:
- Preheat a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one more minute, stirring frequently. Add the beans and salt and stir to incorporate.
- *If NOT using oil, the spices can be added directly into the bean mixture.
*If using oil, slide the bean mixture to one side of the pan to create a bit of space on the other side. Add the oil to the open area of the pan, and pour the smoked paprika, chipotle and cumin directly onto the oil. Quickly stir to blend the spices together and then immediately incorporate the spice/oil mixture into the bean mixture. Cook just until the beans are hot and remove from heat.
- Warm the tortillas. Fill with the bean mixture, and top with cheese, salsa, cilantro and a squeeze of lime.