Reader Recipes // Hearty meatless dishes

Recipes from blogger Nicole Navratil

Nicole Navratil is a local blogger devoted to creative meatless recipes. These are a couple of dishes from her blog, “Pepperoni Is Not a Vegetable.” You can find the blog at Do you have good seasonal recipes you want to share with Southwest Journal readers? Email them to [email protected]

Beer-Drenched Portabella Tacos // Serves two

corn tortillas
3 cups portabella mushroom, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 cup tomato, chopped
1/2 medium zucchini, chopped
1/4 of a baked potato, chopped
1/2 avocado, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup beer of your choice (using a gluten-free beer will make this recipe gluten-free!)
fresh cilantro (optional)
1/2T lemon juice
olive oil
Mexican hot sauce


Prepare the portabella mushrooms by removing the stems, scooping out the undersides with a spoon, and chopping the caps. Sauté mushrooms and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Season generously with oregano, cumin, and hot sauce. Add half of the beer (1/8 cup), and stir occasionally.

A leftover baked potato works best for frying.  If you don’t have one, you can cook one quickly in your microwave. Poke a few holes in a potato with a fork and wrap it in a damp paper towel. Cook for about four to five minutes in the microwave. Stick it in the freezer and let cool a few minutes before chopping.

Chop the zucchini. In a separate pan, sauté zucchini and potato in olive oil over medium-low heat. Add lemon juice and pepper, stirring occasionally.

Add the remaining beer to the portabella mixture, along with the chopped tomato, and stir well. If you’d like, add more oregano, cumin or hot sauce.

Cut avocado in half and save remaining half with its stone (it will keep longer in the fridge this way!). Using a paring knife, cut the avocado horizontally and vertically to create bite-size pieces. Use a spoon to scoop out the pieces.

Using a large skillet on the stove, heat the tortillas over medium heat for a few minutes on each side. Keep them warm by wrapping them in a dishtowel.

Fill warm corn tortillas with the portabella mixture, zucchini & potato, and avocado. Add salsa and hot sauce if you’d like, and fresh cilantro if you have it!

We devoured these with a side of Spanish Quinoa from the new cookbook “The Vegan Slow Cooker” by Kathy Hester. You could also have a fresh green salad! Try ‘em with a Mexican beer like Negra Modelo.


Fried Quinoa with Tofu & Veggies // Serves two // Vegetarian

1 cup quinoa
1 cup veggie broth
1 cup cooked butternut squash (you can buy in the frozen food section of your grocery store, or roast your own)
1 cup cauliflower
2/3 block of firm tofu
2 eggs
sesame oil
olive oil
1-2 tsp chili sauce


If you are roasting your own butternut squash, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Carefully cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and peel using a vegetable peeler. Chop the squash into bite-size pieces, and toss lightly in olive oil. Place in a shallow pan. You can add a few cloves of peeled garlic if you’d like. Roast for 25 minutes, and set aside to cool.

Prepare the quinoa by rinsing it to remove the bitter flavor. Place 1 cup rinsed quinoa in a saucepan with 1 cup vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about
15 minutes. The quinoa is done when it has “uncurled.”

Remove tofu from the package. Place on a cutting board, and press between towels several times to remove excess water. Place remaining 1/3 of tofu in a container with some water and save it in the fridge.

Cut pressed tofu into 1-inch pieces. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and add tofu. Cook while turning constantly, evenly cooking each side.

When tofu is cooked (it will be lightly brown on all sides), turn heat down to medium. Chop cauliflower into small florets and add to pan. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the quinoa and butternut squash, mixing well with the tofu and cauliflower. Push mixture to one side, and crack eggs into pan, scrambling as they cook.  Gently mix them in with the rest of the ingredients.

Add a few drops of sesame oil and the chili sauce, and stir occasionally until all is cooked to your liking.

This is a filling one-bowl meal, thanks to the protein in the quinoa, tofu and eggs. Enjoy with some fresh fruit on the side. For a delicious wine pairing, try with a glass of Riesling or Muscadet.