This taco is a specialty of Southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. It’s actually a hybrid tostada taco, with a crisp tortilla that gently curls around crispy beans and vegan cheese. It’s absolutely delicious and it has one of the coolest names for a taco I’ve ever heard, because Tacos Vampiros translates to “Vampire Tacos.” Some say it’s because the fold of the tortilla is reminiscent of bat wings. Others say it’s because the grill sucks the moisture from the tortilla. Either way, it’s my favorite name for one of my favorite tacos. Enjoy!
You can find Tacos Vampiros and a host of other authentic vegan Mexican tacos in my new book, Vegan Tacos, now available for preorder on Amazon here.
2 cups cooked, rinsed pinto beans or 2 cups seitan strips (choose one of the fillings)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shredded vegan Queso Oaxaca (recipe in Vegan Tacos) or your favorite white melting vegan cheese
2 serrano chiles, sliced very thin
8 (5 to 6-inch) thick corn tortillas
Minced white onion
Crushed Red Salsa (recipe in Vegan Tacos, but any red salsa will work)
Basic Guacamole (recipe in Vegan Tacos, but any guacamole or chopped avocado will work)
Light your grill. Toss the beans or seitan strips with the oil and salt and transfer to a well-oiled grill pan. Place the grill pan on the grill and slowly stir while they grill until blackened. This should only take a few minutes. Remove from the grill and set aside.
“My personal choice is for the beans because I love the way they crisp up and they make such a nice contrast with the vegan Queso Oaxaca. However, some of my non-vegan friends prefer the seitan strips.”
Place the tortillas on the grill. When the edges start to curl from the heat, sprinkle the queso on the tortillas, leaving a rim around the edge. When the tortillas are hard and crunchy, remove them from the grill. Top the tortillas with the beans or seitan strips, followed by the onion, cilantro, salsa, and guacamole.
“A good thick tortilla is the key to getting this recipe to come out just right because a thick tortilla will stand up to the grill very well. If I am not making my own, I use the handmade tortillas from Trader Joe’s.”
Make It in the Oven
Dress your beans or seitan the same way, but place them in a baking dish and leave them uncovered. Roast them at 400°F for 15 minutes, opening the oven to stir them every 5 minutes. While they are baking, place your tortillas in the oven on the lower rack. When they begin to curl, slide the lower rack out, dress them with the queso, and return them to the oven. Once the queso melts, remove them from the oven and set them aside. Dress them just as you would above.
Grill Pan or Saute Pan