We’ve hit that mid-to-late summer sweet spot when all the things I eagerly await year-round are finally here. Sweetcorn, courgettes, berries, summer squash, and tomatoes. Warm nights, beers on the porch, sunburnt shoulders, coconut soft serve, and sweaty bike rides. As much as I love these days, I also feel a mild anxiety as each one passes, not wanting to let summer go yet.
This blog post is for more of an idea than a recipe, but it’s a delicious one that’s worthy of your time nonetheless, and especially good if you’re a bit tired of simply grilling vegetables for salads or whatnot. Warmed corn tortillas are filled with seasoned pinto beans, zingy grilled corn salsa, slices of creamy avocado, grilled summer vegetables, and a spoonful of hot tomato salsa.
If you haven’t made this grilled corn salsa before then you’re in for a treat. It has a gorgeous charred-sweet flavour with a pick-me-up from the fresh cilantro and lime juice, and a little kick of cumin. It’s excellent and so simple.
If you follow the instructions below you’ll have more corn salsa and beans than you need for tacos but that is personally how I prefer to cook and both are so versatile and delicious that you’ll want to use them in many other ways. Add leftover beans to a bowl of rice, topped with a fried egg, avocado, cilantro, and hot sauce for a delicious dinner. Scoop up the corn salsa with tortilla chips or add it to green salads. Or…make more tacos! Your choices at this time of year for grilling vegetables are near endless.
These are a stunning way to show off summer vegetables in a simple and easy way. They’re vegan and gluten-free so an excellent option for feeding a group of hungry friends in your sunny backyard, though if you wanted to add some crumbled queso fresco, I bet that would be delicious too. Just add some ice cold beers, and a bowl of tortilla chips with the rest of that corn salsa and you have yourself a seriously good time in the making.
Grilled Summer Vegetable and Bean Tacos
Makes enough for two people.
- 8 corn tortillas (I like to double up and use two tortillas for one taco)
- About half a cup of grilled corn salsa (recipe below)
- About half a cup of cooked pinto beans (instructions below)
- Two baby courgettes (zucchini) (or aubergine/eggplant, or summer squash) sliced in half lengthwise
- Half an avocado, pit removed
- Fresh tomato salsa, as desired – or – a handful of cherry tomatoes sliced into halves
- Heat the grill to high and make the corn salsa per the instructions below.
- Grill your courgettes (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), or summer squash until lightly charred but not too soft. Remove from grill and slice into half moons about 1/4 inch thick.
- Place halved avocado flesh down on the grill and warm through until you have grill marks, a minute or two. Remove and slice into strips, lengthwise.
- Meanwhile, heat up corn tortillas on the grill until soft and pliable.
- Construct tacos by taking two corn tortillas and filling them with a little grilled corn salsa, some beans, courgette/squash, slices of avocado, some cilantro and a little salsa (or tomatoes).
To make the pinto beans:
- 1 lb dried pinto beans, picked through
- 1 onion, halved
- 2 chiles
- 1-2 tbsp white vinegar
- Salt, to taste
- Place beans in a large pot and cover with about an inch of water. Bring to the boil and then turn heat down and simmer for thirty minutes. Drain the beans.
- Return beans to the pot and cover with about an inch of water again. Add the onion and chiles and bring water to a boil. Turn heat down and let beans simmer for 1 – 2 hours or until tender, stirring every 10-15 minutes. You don’t want tons of water left at the end but you also don’t want the beans to run out of water so keep an eye on them and make sure they’re just simmering the entire time.
- About ten minutes before the beans are done, add the vinegar and salt, to taste.
- This will make more beans than you need for the tacos – use the leftovers as you wish! (My favourite is to make a batch of rice and eat them with that, avocado slices, and hot sauce. A runny egg on top is super good.)
To make the grilled corn salsa:
- 2 ears of sweetcorn
- 1/4 red onion, diced
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, diced
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- olive oil
- pinch of cumin
- Remove husks from corn and lightly coat in olive oil. Cook on the bbq right over the flames charring the corn slightly as you turn it.
- Place onion and cilantro in a bowl. Combine the lime juice, olive oil, cumin and salt in a small jam jar and shake. Set aside.
- Once corn has cooled down use a knife to gently slide down the sides of the corn, removing the kernels. Add the corn to the cilantro and onion, pour over dressing to taste, and toss. Adjust seasoning if needed.
- This will make more than you need for the tacos – save the rest to enjoy with corn tortilla chips!