(Note: this post was originally published on February 2, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
It's the depth of winter, and the days (at least in Vermont!) are cold and short. I was feeling pretty bummed out about it on a recent Sunday afternoon, but do you know what made me feel better? Brightly-colored food! I know it seems silly, but brainstorming about, creating, and eating some really beautiful and brightly-colored tacos immediately made me forget about short days and cold temperatures. These Rainbow Winter Tacos were the perfect cure for my winter blues.
These tacos are a fusion of two cuisines that I love: Mexican food and harvest/autumnal food. I know it may seem like an odd combination, but please give it a try! I think one of the reasons it works is because the two can be bridged with acid. Meaning, use autumnal acid (e.g. pomegranate seeds, apple cider) in place of how you'd traditionally find it in Mexican cuisine (e.g. lime), and all of the sudden it comes together.
You can really take this idea and run with it however you like, but my goal was to create beautiful, whimsical, colorful tacos that were like a taco truck ran into a harvest feast.
There's a LOT going on in this dish in terms of flavors! Some aspects of these tacos are purely Mexican, like blue corn tortillas, fire-roasted peppers, and pepitas. Other aspects are purely Thanksgiving, like pomegranate, blackberries, and thyme. Those are the more straightforward parts.
Now onto the fun stuff! Certain elements are Thanksgiving-like ingredients, but spiced in a Mexican way, like sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts roasted in chili powder and cumin.
On the flip side, other elements are Mexican-like ingredients, but flavored in a Thanksgiving way. For example, the guacamole is made with pomegranate and the salsa is made with persimmon instead of tomato. It all totally works.
The variations here are endless. Adding your grilled protein of choice would work. Swapping in cranberries or cranberry sauce would be delicious. Looking for something creamy? Your favorite greek yogurt, sour cream, or cashew crema would be lovely. What about some apple slices? Grilled corn? Chili-spiced pecans? Just try to stick to the theme (purely Mexican, purely Thanksgiving, or one flavored like the other) and it will all make sense.
My other suggestion? Make lots of extra goodies! If you're going to be roasting veggies, making salsa, etc, anyways, double or triple everything! All those leftovers will be great in burrito bowls later in the week.
Hosting a winter get-together? These tacos would be so fun! If you want to prepare them in advance, you can easily roast the veggies the day before and just reheat them before serving. You could also make the persimmon salsa ahead of time. Just make sure to keep everything stored separately. When you're ready to serve, make the guacamole, assemble, and enjoy! I don't suggest assembling these ahead of time since the tortillas will get soggy.
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
To be honest, these take a bit of time to make, just because there are so many different elements. But what else are you going to do on a freezing cold winter Sunday when it gets dark at 4:30PM? It's clearly a day for making tacos! And please sip a ginger margarita or pomegranate margarita while you cook, it follows the exact same flavor pattern.
The whole point of these is to have fun! Tacos are fun anyways, but Rainbow Winter Tacos are even better.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Loaded with colorful, seasonal veggies and fruits, these tacos are such a bright spot on a gray winter day. They're infinitely customizable too!
I love to create colorful, veggie-filled, seasonal dishes that celebrate the beauty and diversity of plants. Take a look around at all my favorite recipes, there's so much to explore here!