If you're from Los Angeles and/or you frequent the Eastside, you most likely know what Best Fish Taco in Ensenada is. It's an eclectically decorated hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a weird name, whose clientele is strangely diverse. They even host a random standup comedy night on their tiny patio, which has attracted the likes of Aziz Ansari, Maria Bamford, Patton Oswalt and many, many more.
Well, I live really close to Best Fish (we locals don't have time for that "Taco in Ensendada" nonsense). So close that if someone is coming to my house for the first time, I just tell them to go there. The temptation is right at my doorstep to mack on some $2 tacos when I'm feeling lazy, so I set out to make something equally as delicious. I can't say these take care of the laziness factor, as they do require me to do more than throw on a hoodie and step outside of my house, but the effort is well worth it!
I give you my vegetarian alternative to fish tacos.
These have baked, almond crusted eggplant slices instead of battered, fried fish and glazed brussel sprouts instead of cabbage. Add a creamy spread and top with whatever your heart doth desire.
Besides being full of vitamins, brussels sprouts are are great for lowering cholesterol and maintaining good blood health. As if that weren't enough, this cruciferous vegetable contains a high amount of glucosinolate and other important phytonutrients that help protect against cancer.
Also, don't even think about peeling the gorgeous, glossy purple skin off of those eggplants. That's where some of the best nutrients in this dish are found. Although, found maybe isn't the best noun to describe these guys, since that flashy, vibrant coating is anything but hidden. Nasusin is an amazing phytonutrient located within the eggplant skin that is a potent antioxidant and a protector of the lipids found in brain cell membranes. So it's good for your brain, dummy.
I'm sorry I called you a dummy. I didn't mean it.
Eggplant and Balsamic Brussels Sprout Tacos (serves 4)
8-10 small tortillas (these rustic homemade tortillas work great)
10 brussel sprouts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 cup ground raw almonds (almond meal works too)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup water
1/2 eggplant, sliced and cut into triangles
cashew cheese or hummus (highly recommend making your own cashew cheese, like this recipe over at Oh She Glows)
optional toppings: walnuts, salsa, sour cream, avocado
Directions: Preheat oven to 375.
1. Get 3 bowls (shallow bowls are best for bowl 1 and 2. In bowl 1, combine ground flax and water. In bowl 2, combine ground almonds, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt. In bowl 3, combine brussel sprouts, balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper, olive oil and garlic.
2. "Bread" the eggplant slices by dipping them in the flaxseed "egg" mix, then giving them a good roll in the ground almond mix and laying them on a greased baking sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (don't use wax paper!).
3. Bake eggplant slices for about 7 minutes on each side until golden brown.
4. While eggplant is baking, grill the marinated brussel sprouts (with all liquid from balsamic marinade) in a shallow pan until liquid starts to evaporate. Deglaze with 1/4 cup of water and cover. Cook on low heat until sprouts are tender. Set aside.
5. When eggplant is done, prepare the tacos by spreading cashew cheese or hummus on each tortilla and filling them with eggplant and sprouts. If you'd like, top with salsa, avocados/guacamole and/or sour cream.