Taco Casserole with Fresh Pico de Gallo
1 can refried beans (make sure its the vegan variety)
1 package burger-style crumbles
1 bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow)
1/2 onion (white or yellow)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (aka coriander plant)
1/4 cup corn (canned or fresh)
1-2 jalapeno peppers
2-3 cloves garlic (to taste)
1 bag blue corn tortilla chips, or your favorite kind
Spices to taste: garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, paprika, chile powder, salt, dash
of ground red peper
vegan sour cream (optional)
vegan cheese, grated (cheddar or jack variety)
First make the pico de gallo:Dice the tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and onion as finely as possible without turning them to mush. Make sure you wear gloves or wash your hands carefully after handling the jalapenos! Those suckers will burn if you touch your eyes/nose by accident. Next mince the garlic. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, add the corn, squeeze the lime juice in, and stir. Let that sit for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight so it can marinate a bit.
Then prepare the soy crumble meat: Dump the whole package in a medium frying pan and break it up with a spoon. Next, add the spices. Add generous amounts of cumin and chile powder, as these are the most important parts--I'd say about a tablespoon of each, or to taste. Add onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, and salt to taste. Add a small dash of red pepper--be careful, this stuff is hot! Stir well and taste often to get the spices just right. You may need to add some water to the mixture.
While that's heating up,put the whole thing together: heat the beans and vegan cheese and mix them together. Layer them into the bottom of a flat glass baking dish or Tupperware container (depending on how classy you feel). Next, layer the meat and sour cream if desired. Finally, place a layer of pico de gallo on top, get your bag of chips, and enjoy!
This is a great recipe for a small party or an easy, filling dinner 2-3 hungry people. It should be served nice and hot! Theres usually plenty of pico de gallo left over for the next day, too.