Cumin and Avocado Oil Rubbed Portobello Tortas with Dragon Fruit Pico de Gallo and Purple Basil & White Peppercorn Mayo
I'm not just white, I'm saltine cracker soaked in soy milk white. I like Scrabble. And musicals. And scarves...plaid scarves. Whenever I attempt to make an ethnic dish, I feel like I'm doing something dirty. How dare I tread on another culture's territory because my skin reflects more light than quartz during a solar eclipse.
Despite my pasty facade, I'm not much of an American foodie. I love delving into the realm of ethnic cooking. I love experiencing the different spices, flavors, aromas and sensations of satiety. I absolutely love Mexican food, but rarely post the recipes I write because I simply feel like it's not my territory. I grew up incredibly north of the border in Youngstown, Ohio...an old steel town now governed by mobsters and crack whores. It truly is a great place to raise a family.
It's also a great place to eat.
For as far back as I can remember, there's always been an endless amount of amazing Italian food. Up until I was 13, though, the only options for Mexican were "Taco Bell" and "Chi Chi's".
Did I mention "Chi Chi's" is hispanic slang for big titties? No thank you.
EDIT [Note to self: Did I really say "No thank you" to big titties? Big self-slap on the hand, Jenn. Tsk, tsk.]
Then, all of a sudden, Cancun appeared on the scene in the late 90s. It was delicious. It was authentic. You could eat a full meal for less than you make in an hour working minimum wage in Ohio. Their chips were free and always fresh. The margaritas are amazing, which I was able to discover at quite an early age due to their lax ID policy.
Ok...there was a slight catch. They may have been shut down once (or twice) for health code violations. I don't eat animals, so I figure I escaped danger. But on the plus side, they always re-open with a vengeance! You've gotta respect their determination.
Enjoy making the tortas! They rock socks.
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Cumin and Avocado Oil Rubbed Portobello Tortas
- 4 Portobello Mushroom caps, halved
- 3 TBSP Avocado Oil, plus more for grill pan
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/4-1/2 tsp Salt (to taste)
- Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
- 2 TBSP Dry White Wine
- Shredded Vegan Mozzarella (use Daiya if possible), amount of your choice
Whisk together the avocado oil, cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper. Using your hands, rub of each piece of Portobello with the oil mixture to coat on both sides.
Drizzle enough Avocado Oil to coat the bottom of the grill pan (about 1-2 tsp), and heat over medium high.
Grill the portobellos on each side until browned and softened, about 4-5 minutes per side, adding the white wine about half-way through the cooking process to deglaze the pan. Top with vegan mozzarella for the last few minutes so that it has time to melt.
Use the "Other Sandwich Incidentals" listed below to build your Torta. Feel free to get creative and add whatever fixins you enjoy. I assemble mine like so:
1. Bottom half of roll
3. Portobello with Cheese
4. Dragon Fruit Salsa
5. Purple Basil Mayo, smeared on top half of roll
6. Top half of roll
Other Sandwich Incidentals...
4 Torta Rolls (or Kaiser Rolls), sliced like a hamburger bun
Purple Basil Mayo (recipe follows)
Dragon Fruit Pico de Gallo (recipe follows)
- 1 cup tightly packed Purple (Opal) Basil Leaves
- 1/2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 cup Vegenaise
- 1/2 tsp Sherry Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Ground White Peppercorns
Combine all the above ingredients, in order, in a food processor. Blend until the basil leaves are finely minced and the mixture is fully combined. Add salt if desired.
Dragon Fruit Pico de Gallo
- 1 small or 1/2 large Dragon Fruit, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 Roma Tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
- 3 Radishes, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped Cilantro Leaves
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- The juice of 1/2 Lime, or more if desired
- A touch of Salt and Pepper, to taste