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Mushroom Epazote Taco (Vegan Before Six a la Mexicana)

Three very debauched weeks in Mexico have led me to Mark Bittman's VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good program. It's very simple. Eat vegan for breakfast and lunch and for dinner you eat what you want. If you're in tune with your body, you probably won't crave meat. I refuse to BE vegan but if it means weight loss and an improvement in my health, I'm happy to EAT vegan, at least for awhile. 


The book is great but it really doesn't address the way I eat, which is mostly Mexican. I'll be posting my successes here as they happen and any notable failures as well. I am cheating with two ingredients. I'm taking a little milk with my first coffee in the morning and I'm using my good chicken stock for flavor. I know there are prefab "good" stocks out there but I'm not really into settling for vegan substitutes of known things. I'd rather do without cheese or creamer or whatever than have a Trader Joe's version with 75 ingredients. But I can't do without my chicken stock and it has few if any calories and it's just my compromise. 


If you are a serious vegan I can see how Bittman's book and my even weirder interpretation of it could be considered offensive so I apologize in advance if this is the case. At this point, my issues are weight loss and a concern of what it takes to bring a pound of beef to market, organic or not. Maybe this will all change and I've learned never to speak in absolutes about these things but essentially, Vegan Before Six with milk for breakfast and chicken stock for flavor feel just about right, for the moment. 


These tacos were made with sauteed mushrooms in olive oil with onion and garlic and then tossed with chopped epazote. My instincts were screaming "Queso fresco!" at me but I ignored them and this was delicious. Next time a little thinned out guacamole/tomatillo salsa. 


janet @ the taste space

Vegan isn't so scary! Really! Granted I don't eat too many Mexican inspired meals but I *do* eat a ton of beans including yours. I made the black bean tacos with the cabbage slaw from that cookbook and thought it was very good, sans cheese. :)

janet @ the taste space

I though my blog would link up, but it doesn't.. If you want other bean centric vegan inspiration, feel free to check it out:

janet @ the taste space

I was just thinking this was one of the best taco fillings I have made in a while. As a Mexican cuisine connoisseur, I'd love to know how they stand up to your palate! (Feel to revert them back to regular tacos instead of the salad wrap)

Steven Sando

Thanks for the responses and encouragement.
I have to be honest, I know all vegans aren't the same but a lot of them that I encounter, and you can imagine I get a lot, are a tough lot. Almost as hard as the gluten free folks. It's not fair to paint everyone with the same brush but there are a lot of "special needs" vegans. I don't want to be like this.

I'll check out your links. Keep up the good work. It just dawned on me today that I feel great and whether it's the meat or dairy, or lack of both, but I think I might be on to something.

J Schmal

You know when something appears and then appears again from somewhere not related to the first thing and then, maybe if you're dense (like me) it appears again. I'm picking up this book tonight and I'm making beans tomorrow. Glad to see you're giving it a try, I think I'm with you.

janet @ the taste space

No prob, no offense taken. I never found cooking for myself as a vegan difficult. It was my family, unfamiliar with vegan meals, who found it the most challenging. It definitely seems higher maintenance although not everyone is. Sometimes I find others don't realize what makes an appropriate meal, either. It isn't just vegetables. I need something more filling like beans, tofu or nuts/seeds thrown in. I am surprised you weren't hungry after eating this meal- I know I would be! :)

Anyways, I hope you find my blog a bit useful. This is another Mexican recipe I recommend:


do you like grape-nuts?

I've found grape-nuts, bananas, and almond milk to be a tasty combo.

Also, being a lover of Mexican food, and also recently looking at vegan eating as a possible health option... I am encouraged to learn that some ancient Mexican recipes are actually whole-food, plant-based.


"I have to be honest, I know all vegans aren't the same but a lot of them that I encounter, and you can imagine I get a lot, are a tough lot." If you think that's tough, imagine what it's like when people around you find out you're vegan. I grew up on a chicken farm in the deep south--from my perspective, it's not the vegans who are the pushy ones!

You should try some amazing vegan stocks that are out there--Deborah Madison's got a lot of recipes for bean-based ones, even, and I make a killer stock that I use in place of chicken broth from Rancho Gordo's tepary and stallards (along with carrots, onion, tomato, salt, and a handful of other spices that generally go into paella.

Mary Brooks

I love, love, love this post! I don't know if I can call myself a connoisseur of Mexican cuisine but I have a pretty much life long love of it, having first been introduced while attending high school in Mexico...a long, long, time ago), and never letting Cuisines of Mexico stray too far from my kitchen. I began eating vegan about two years ago and haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg of amazing and delicious dishes. For me it's a lot about learning to use more and more herbs and spices, not non-animal substitutes for meaty things, but what I really want to do is work on vegan interpretions of Mexican cuisine that honor its long history and elegance. On the health/weight loss note I'm a big fan.

Steven Sando

What a funny response! I'm so glad it touched a nerve. The foundation of Mexican food is the trio of bean, chiles and corn, all of which are vegan, of course. Deer, fish and turkey were regional and probably not for the working classes.
It's only been a week but it's been really easy and I think it's worth pursuing. Keep sending your links and I'll keep posting my progress. The next thing I need to do is go through my Lent recipes as I think there will be a lot of great dishes there.

Mary Brooks

To be sure I'll keep in touch! My dear friend since high school, Denise, brought Rancho Gordo to my attention last year when she learned about your group excursions to Mexico, and I was about to look into the trip this year when you sidelined me with your post :) Mushroom tacos are on my menu tonight! Thanks for bringing all your good "stuff" to market.

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