The cabbage and carrot topping for these tacos was inspired by curtido, a cabbage relish that Salvadoran's pair with their favorite stuffed, corn tortilla cousin—the pupusa. Bean tacos are a great choice to feed a crowd—easy to prepare, super cheap, and flexible enough to appeal to a wide variety of eaters. You'll probably have many of the ingredients sitting on the pantry shelf, or in the fridge—all set for an impromptu party. Guests will enjoy the beans with any of the toppings, or without.
If you want to make the meal even cheaper, cook up beans from a bag of dried ones, instead of using canned. And if you're feeding a smaller group, simply cut the recipe in half. —Ann S
For the cabbage topping:
shredded green or purple cabbage (or a mixture)—a good-sized head of cabbage is likely to do it
large carrots, sliced into fine matchsticks or shredded
finely chopped red onion
1 1/4 teaspoons
rice wine vinegar
fresh orange juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
chopped cilantro leaves, and soft stems
For the tacos:
cloves garlic, minced
generous pinch ground cinnamon
good-quality prepared tomato salsa (homemade or store-bought)
For the cabbage topping, mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes or more before serving. Stir occasionally to thoroughly distribute the flavors.
For the beans, warm 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, garlic, ground cumin, paprika and cinnamon and cook for 20 seconds. Add salsa and cook down some of liquid, about 2-3 minutes. Add beans, 1 1/2 cups water, a large pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper. Cook on medium-low heat for 10 or so minutes, until the broth has thickened and become a bit creamy. Stir occasionally during cooking and taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Press down lightly on the beans with a potato masher to incorporate a few of the beans into the sauce. Fold in cilantro and cook for another minute or so.
To serve, spoon the bean mixture into a warm tortilla (you can heat them on a hot griddle or in the oven, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil for 10 minutes) and top with cabbage salad. Garnish with avocado, sour cream and a squeeze of lime.