> Family > Kosher Recipes

Going Mexican

May 9, 2009 | by Chef Herschel Arnow

Recipes perfect for the nine days.

My wife taught me everything I know about Mexican food. With all the great soy meat products available today, and pareve (non-dairy) cheese options, there is no limit in what you can do when you 'go Mexican.'

Enjoy these recipes -- all non-meat, and perfect for the Nine Days, the period of mourning leading up to Tisha B'av when we do not eat meat.

Grilled Vegetable Tostadas with Two Salsas

Top these tostadas with guacamole.

  • 3 tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. fresh green tomatoes, quartered
  • 3/4 cup canned vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; saute 5 minutes. Add green tomatoes; saute 3 minutes. Add broth. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tomatoes are soft, about 8 minutes.

Blend tomato mixture and cilantro in a food processor until almost smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Mix in chili powder. Season with hot pepper sauce and salt. Cover; chill up to 2 days.

Makes 4 servings.


* * *


Tomato-Chili Salsa

  • 2 large dried or fresh chopped chilies
  • 1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • 3 tbsps. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin


Place chilies in bowl. Cut off stems and coarsely chop chilies. Chop tomatoes. Combine chilies and ¾ cup tomatoes in processor; puree until smooth. Transfer to bowl. Mix in remaining tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, garlic, sugar and cumin. Season with salt. Cover; chill up to 1 day.


* * *


Grilled Vegetables

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsps. chili powder
  • 1 1/4 tsps. salt
  • 3 large zucchinis, cut on deep diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 12 large mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, cut into thin rounds


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Mix olive oil, garlic, chili powder and salt in a large bowl. Pour 1/4 cup oil mixture into a small and reserve. Add zucchini, bell peppers and eggplant to oil mixture in a large bowl; toss to coat.

Grill zucchini, bell peppers and eggplant in batches until light brown, about 3 minutes per side. Place on baking sheet. Cover with foil. Brush mushrooms and onion rounds with reserved 1/4 cup oil mixture. Grill until light brown, about 3 minutes per side. Place on a baking sheet with the other vegetables.


* * *


Make Your Own Flour Tortillas

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsps. margarine or shortening
  • 1/2 cup warm water


Mix flour and salt; cut in margarine or shortening until particles are the size of fine crumbs. Sprinkle in water, one tablespoon at a time, until all the flour is moistened and the dough almost cleans the side of the bowl. Gather dough into a ball; divide into 12 equal parts for 6-inch tortillas, 8 equal parts for 8-inch tortillas or 6 equal parts for 10-inch tortillas. Shape each part into a ball; brush lightly with margarine or shortening. Cover and let rest 20 minutes.

For each tortilla, roll 1 ball on a floured surface into 6-, 8- or 10-inch circles. Heat an ungreased griddle or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook the tortilla until dry around the edge, and blisters appear on the surface -- about 2 minutes. Turn and cook the other side until dry, about 1 minute. Stack tortillas, placing waxed paper between each. Cover with a damp towel.

Makes 12, 8 or 6 tortillas.

Or I use pre-made blintz wrappers -- they are fun and easy.


* * *


Filling for the Tortillas

  • Onions, cubed small
  • Tomatoes, cubed small
  • Lettuce, sliced thin
  • Ground soy meat: Bar-burger or any other ground meat


Saute onions, mix in ground soy meat, add tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste. Top with grated cheese.


Saute hot peppers. Chop fine, add garlic (chopped fine), olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Fill tortillas with any combination of above ingredients -- roll it up and enjoy!


* * *



  • Small baguette rolls
  • Beans for paste
  • Grated cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Slice rolls in half, spread with bean paste, salt and pepper. Cover liberally with cheese. Toast at 250°C for five minutes.


* * *



  • Tortillas
  • Grated cheese
  • Oil for frying


Fill tortillas with cheese (do not overfill). Roll tight. Secure it with a toothpick. Fry until slightly golden -- eat while warm.


* * *


Refried Beans

Soak 3 cups of beans overnight. Check them for insects.

Cook until soft. Remove 2 cups of beans. Continue boiling 1 cup of beans until very soft (texture of a paste) for friholes.

  • 1 1/2 tsps. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup minced green peppers
  • 2 tbsps. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped


Heat 3 tablespoons of garlic, add onions. Saute until transparent. Add cumin, ½ tsp. salt, green pepper. Simmer 8 minutes. Add beans to vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste (hot paprika for those who like it).


* * *


Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 tsps. dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


Puree all ingredients in a processor. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.) Or chop by hand as fine as can be.

Makes about 1 cup.


* * *


Basil Pesto

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

  • 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed well
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted until golden, cooled and chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated cheese (about 1 1/2 ozs.)]
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil


In a food processor puree basil with remaining ingredients until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Pesto may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap. Or just chop everything by hand as fine as can be.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups.



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