For this week’s Meatless Monday I was full of ‘Hot Beans’. Hot Beans is an eatery in the heart of Kensington Market in downtown Toronto that serves vegan tacos and burritos.
‘Mexican’-style food lends itself well to vegetarian/vegan tastes with its use of spices, vegetables and rice while the meat is easily substituted with non-animal protein.
‘Mexican’ Food that is Naturally Vegan
salsa; tortillas; guacamole; mole sauce; churros; beans & rice
Hot Beans had the usual options of TVP (textured vegetable protein), seitan and beans (obviously!) along with an imaginative use of an uncommon fruit I just had to try: jackfruit. It was slow cooked in a tangy barbecue sauce then served in a soft shell taco. This deliciously hot mess of a meal was tasty and filling. I believe the texture was meant to resemble that of pulled pork. The sweet and spicy bbq sauce was heavy on tomato but complemented the jackfruit perfectly.
As the tacos don’t travel well I had to plant myself somewhere in this small, limited seating eatery to have my 2 bbq jackfruit tacos. It came with my choice of a side. I opted for the beans and rice but could have had salsa and chips (next time I guess). The jazz music playing subtly in the background made for an enjoyable and easily digestible meal.
The day before I had the ‘winter storm special‘, a mac n’ cheese burrito with fried potatoes. When I heard the crackling of the oil in the deep fat fryer I was worried: is this the vegan version of a “Big Mac” heart attack? The taste made up for this however. The crunchy saltiness of the fried potatoes balanced out the meek taste of vegan cheese and mellow texture of the macaroni. It was just the right amount of food and macronutrients to divert attention away from the winter blues.
The self-proclaimed ‘hippie’ behind the counter served me both times but didn’t acknowledge that I had been in the day before. Service was good, not great and fairly efficient. I had my meal within minutes as did the other patrons (ranging from toddlers to baby boomers).
Meals are assembled fresh to order. For around $9 you can have a deliciously memorable vegan meal served in eco-friendly containers.
If you can find it, here are some other Meatless Meal ideas for jackfruit:
- ‘Jerkfruit’ – a Jamaican-inspired dish using jerk seasoning and jackfruit
- ‘Jack a l’orange’ – a savoury sauce made with orange juice and jackfruit
- Butter Jackfruit – butter ‘chicken’ sauce (basically tomato sauce, curry spices and dairy/non-dairy cream) and jackfruit
No Meat March – I like the sound of this!