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Welcome to OKCVeggie.com. I'm here to show you that eating out in OKC as a vegetarian, as well as cooking vegetarian food wherever you are, is much easier and more satisfying than you may think.

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Paneer & Poblano Tacos with Roasted Salsa

Paneer & Poblano Tacos with Roasted Salsa

My husband Ed and I went on a quick trip to Dallas last weekend to see—wait for it—a baby hippo at the Dallas Zoo (I’m obsessed with hippos)! Her name is Adanna, and she and her mom Boipelo are absolutely precious. Totally worth the drive.

Of course, food research was involved too. After a bit of googling, I came across a taco place called Trompo; Bon Appetit declared their tacos some of the best they’d had all year, and I can attest that they certainly lived up to the hype. Trompo is no frills to the max, with about half a dozen options on the menu. You walk up to a counter, you order, then you can eat the tacos at a long high-top table (no chairs) or you can take them to-go. Trompo is no nonsense, and they mean business.

What really intrigued me about Trompo was their truly interesting vegetarian option: Paneer & Poblano Tacos. I hardly ever see paneer, an unaged Indian cheese, on menus, and especially not on menus at Mexican restaurants. This special taco was certainly worth a try.

And it was gorgeous—the paneer was gooey, the poblanos were crunchy and it was all topped with fresh salsa, diced onions and cilantro. Anytime I go to Dallas now (seriously), I’m going to stop by Trompo.

This recipe, obviously, is a nod to my new favorite tacos. I marinated and grilled the paneer so it was a bit spicier and had a nice char, then topped with poblanos, salsa and cilantro. This was my first time making salsa, too; I was a bit nervous because I love salsa and didn’t want to screw it up, but I think it turned out perfectly. Hope you enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS - TACOS

  • 8 oz. paneer, cut into strips

  • 2 T. olive oil

  • Juice of half a lime

  • 1/4 t. smoked paprika

  • 1/4 t. garlic powder

  • 1/4 t. ancho chili powder (or regular chili powder)

  • 1/4 t. cumin

  • 1 poblano pepper, cut into strips

  • Street taco-sized corn tortillas

  • Cilantro, to garnish

INGREDIENTS - SALSA

  • 3 large tomatoes, quartered

  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks

  • 6 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled

  • 1 poblano pepper

  • 1 jalapeno pepper

  • 1 t. cumin

  • 1/2 t. smoked paprika

  • 1/4 t. ancho chili powder (or regular chili powder)

  • Juice of one lime

  • 1/2 c. cilantro

  • 1/2 t. salt

  • 1 t. pepper

STEPS

1) If you have a gas stove, go ahead and roast the poblano and jalapeno over an open flame. Blacken as much of the skin as possible and set aside.

2) Turn the broiler on your oven on high. Place the tomatoes, red onion and garlic onto a sheet pan (if you don’t have a gas stove, add the poblano and the jalapeno to the pan, too). Broil until the skins are mostly blackened, rotating the pan every five minutes or so. You’ll likely end up broiling the veggies for around 30 minutes.

3) If you have time, allow the roasted veggies to fully cool before adding them to a blender with the spices, lime juice and cilantro. This will ensure the lime and cilantro stays super bright and fresh. When you’re ready to blend, prepare the veggies—chop both ends off the peppers and and remove the placenta (interesting pepper anatomy explanation here). Don’t remove the blackened skins, though, as that’s what gives the salsa its roasted flavor. Remove any stem bits from the tomatoes, and discard the garlic peels. Blend all salsa ingredients until smooth. Allow to chilli in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

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4) Add the paneer and poblano strips to a large plastic bag along with the olive oil, lime juice, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin and ancho chili powder. Shake well so that the paneer and poblanos are fully covered in marinade. I then let the bag sit in the fridge for three or four hours, but if you don’t have time, let it sit for at least 20 minutes.

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5) Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add the paneer and poblanos. Allow the mixture to cook for a couple of minutes, then, using tongs, flip the paneer and toss the poblanos. You want both ingredients to be charred but not burnt, so toss/flip frequently, if needed.

6) Assemble the tacos! Microwave the tortillas for 30 seconds. Place a strip of paneer onto each tortilla, then top with poblanos, salsa and fresh cilantro.

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