Taquitos: possibly the most authentic American food out there. Borrowed from a different culture, deep fried, and sold frozen in bulk at chain grocery stores, these delicious little tacos represent what I love most about our great nation. Were taquitos like these eaten thousands of years ago? I doubt it, but with enough community effort we can pretend these faux-Mexican treats represent the inclusive nature of the melting pot that is the United States of America.
Regardless of their history, taquitos have always been fascinating to me. From the first I ate at a childhood New Year’s Eve party to the one I bought at 7-11 on my walk home from high school, they were always tasty in a way that left me feeling slightly ill. Could it be the ground meat? Or the melted cheese? What about the fried tortilla? My money is on all three. This version maintains the general unhealthy-spirit of taquitos but substitutes soy crumbles for the beef. Even better than being free-of-cow, these vegetarian taquitos are the perfect utensil for scooping up sour cream. The cooking time is less than an hour, but don’t forget to factor in time for the nap you will have to take after eating.
- Soy crumbles
- Little flour tortillas
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese
- Sour cream
- Olive oil
Prepare the taquito filling. Start by chopping up about 1/2 cups of onions.
Saute the onions in olive oil with the spices.
Once the onions are cooked thoroughly, add in the meat crumbles. I used Boca Meatless Ground Crumbles because that’s what I found at the store. The chunks take awhile to break down, so I usually stab them with a wooden spoon to make them into smaller bits.
Once the crumbles are cooked, stir in a cup of salsa. This is a good time to taste for spiciness.
Microwave the tortillas for 30 seconds to make them pliable.
Plop some of the crumble mixture into the tortilla and cover with cheese.
Roll them up to the best of your ability. I was dropping fake beef all over the place, so prepare for a mess.
Heat up a fair amount of oil in a pan. Kind of a lot of oil to be honest. My pan is uneven so I stuck a towel under the handle to balance it out. Safety first!
Place the wraps in the oil. The goal is for the tortilla to turn golden brown and the cheese to melt, which takes about three minutes on all sides.
Use the smallest possible pair of tongs to flip them over.
I’m looking at these a week later and my mouth is watering. Who cares about the slight stomach pain that will almost certainly follow. Oh the spice! Oh the cheese! Oh the sour cream!