When we think of the Native American tribes’ culinary traditions, complex dishes that are based upon a variety of native spices and chiles might come to mind. There are many dishes with roots from Native American cooking that also feature varieties of seaweed. Seaweed was brilliantly used and simmered with beans, meats, and vegetables to add saltiness, umami, and nutritive properties that we should be using in our cooking today. The idea of utilizing more seaweed as a spice, rub, or sauce from the pantry is not only delicious, but can also help the environment.
By farming more seaweed, we can support our oceans in unimaginable ways. Seaweed actually helps keep the ocean clean, filters water, and absorbs more carbon than trees on land!
Filled with a wonderful mixture of vegetables, seaweed, and spices, these roasted sea vegetable tacos can be made with fresh roasted vegetables or even leftover ones. You can add traditional cheeses like queso coqueta, anejo or queso blanco to top them off!
Makes 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, cut into ¼-inch slices
- 1 squash, summer squash or butternut squash depending upon the season
- 2 small zucchinis, halved lengthwise and cut across into chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, cut into quarters
- 6 whole cloves of garlic
- ¾ tablespoon chili powder, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons kelp puree (I love Ocean’s Balance Kelp Puree)
- 8 pieces of kombu
- 8 8-inch fresh blue tortillas or taco shells
- Mexican crema for garnish
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves or cilantro microgreens
- Queso coqueta, anejo or queso blanco
- Toss the cut vegetables in a large bowl with the olive oil. Sprinkle with chili powder. Preheat the grill pan over high heat, oil the vegetables, and add them in a single layer to the heated pan. Cook them until they are caramelized, turning once.
- For the added flavor of roasted garlic, just add some garlic cloves, in the skin, to the pan! Grill until the skin blackens and then peel to reveal perfectly roasted garlic in a fraction of the time. Simply peel and add it to the vegetables!
- Once the vegetables and garlic are tender, toss with the kelp puree.
- Grill or toast the tortillas over the gas burner, on the grill or grill pan.
- Spoon roasted vegetables into the corn tortillas and add the piece of kombu. Top with crema and cilantro leaves.
TIP: You can also roast the vegetables and garlic at 400 degrees F until tender. For the garlic, cut the top off of the head, and place the head of garlic on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and seal the foil and place in the oven, baking until soft for about one hour.