Garlic Ginger Vegetarian Tacos with Sweet and Spicy Cabbage Slaw

I am no vegetarian, but I am most certainly a sucker for an expertly executed meat-free meal.

Vertical image of corn tortillas topped with assorted veggies, with text in the middle and on the bottom of the image.

Whoa, that was a mouthful. And so are these tacos. I bet when you first read that this dish was locked and loaded with aromatic garlic and ginger, you thought the full recipe was going to be Asian-inspired.

Gotcha!

There’s no soy, sesame oil, or even rice vinegar anywhere in sight. Though the pungent, spicy ginger gets laced throughout not only the cabbage slaw but the veggies as well, these tacos have an overall flair and sassy vibe that screams Mexican with a subtle nudge of Asian flavor.

While this recipe is heavy on the garlic and ginger, I’d call it a perfect fusion of two cuisines. The slaw is, by far, the standout of the dish, and I urge you to double it and stretch it as far as you can.

Vertical top-down image of corn tortillas topped with cooked vegetables and red cabbage slaw next to limes and smashed avocados on a wooden table.

I bet if you keep reading all the way to the end of this article, you’ll find suggestions for what else to do with it… Just sayin’!

The combination of red and green cabbage makes a vibrant mix on its own, but once everything is tossed with the tart honey-yogurt dressing, the hue of the slaw’s liquid is tinted pink.

If that doesn’t get your dinner guests’ attention, I don’t know what will. Prepare yourself for the “oohs” and “ahhs.”

And I may have stuffed sweet peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli into my tortillas, but this is one of those recipes I urge you to use as a guide for whatever you have on hand. Vegetables that stay crisp-tender when lightly cooked like bok choy, or that already have a unique texture like mushrooms, are ideal sub-ins.

Speaking of ‘shrooms, if you can swing the extra couple of bucks for shiitakes, look for larger ones you can thinly slice into strips.

Vertical image of corn tortillas topped with cooked vegetables and red cabbage slaw next to limes, ginger, and smashed avocados on a wooden table.

Pro tip: Bake those earthy shiitake beauties in a high-temp oven (about 400°F) with olive oil and salt for a few minutes, and you’ll end up with a crunchy, french fry-like garnish you’ll definitely dig on these tacos, or practically anywhere else.

Try throwing in some thick slices of red onion and rich, smoky poblanos instead of the sweet bell peppers. The veggies are simply seasoned with the fresh garlic, ginger, and a hot hit of crushed red pepper flakes, but feel free to take them in a more Mexican direction with a chili powder seasoning blend, or a dusting of cumin.

The avocado adds a creamy layer that cools down the sharpness of the ginger, and since it’s mashed rather than being served in slippery slices, it sticks to the tortillas like glue and keeps everyone intact.

It’s always good to have one friend in charge of putting the others in line, after all.

Vertical image of a flat corn tortilla topped with mashed avocado and a cabbage slaw next lime wedges on a wooden plate.

There’s nothing like a tasty hodge-podge, and these vegetarian handhelds are simple and refreshing in the best possible way. Since this isn’t your typical meat-and-cheese-packed Mexican meal, for more bulk, you can use this as an opportunity to whip out that sidecar of homemade chips and salsa.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably fill up on queso and need a brief siesta in between helpings.

But don’t do as I do. Do as I say, and combine Meatless Monday and Taco Tuesday into one delicious experience.

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Horizontal image of a hand holding a single taco with garnishes.

Garlic Ginger Vegetarian Tacos with Sweet and Spicy Cabbage Slaw


  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 tacos (2 per person) 1x

Description

For a fun spin on meat-free tacos, try these flavor-packed handhelds loaded with sauteed veggies, avocado mash, and spicy ginger slaw.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, divided
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh garlic, divided
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (plus lime wedges for serving)
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 pinch coarse salt, divided 
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (green, red, or a combination of both)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cups sliced sweet peppers (about 2 medium)
  • 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
  • 2 cups sliced broccoli florets (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup homemade or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 8 small corn or flour tortillas
  • 2 ripe avocados

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, sour cream, 1 tablespoon of the ginger, 1 tablespoon of the garlic, honey, lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the cabbage and toss until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli. Saute, tossing occasionally for about 2 minutes, and then add the remaining tablespoon of ginger and tablespoon of garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the red pepper flakes. 
  3. Continue sauteing until the veggies are softened but crisp-tender, about 3 more minutes. Add the broth and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 3-5 more minutes. Taste and season with additional salt if desired.
  4. Warm the tortillas on a flat-top grill or in a dry pan over medium heat (or hold them over an open flame on a gas grill) until lightly charred around the edges. Mash the avocado with a pinch of salt.
  5. To assemble the tacos, top each warm tortilla with even portions of the mashed avocado, veggies, and a heaping tablespoon of the slaw. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: taco, vegetarian, ginger, garlic, mushroom, broccoli, cabbage

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep the Veggies and Aromatics

Grate the ginger and garlic, juice the lime, and slice the additional limes into wedges for garnish.

Horizontal image of sliced mushrooms, broccoli, and peppers and minced garlic and ginger.

Slice the peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli. Mash the avocados with a fork, and mix in a pinch of salt.

The cabbage can be shredded with a long, sharp knife, or if you’re making a big batch, using the slicing disc attachment on your food processor is quick and efficient.

Horizontal image of thinly sliced green and red cabbage on a wooden cutting board.

If you’re using a food processor, first lay the cabbage flat on your cutting board, slice it in half vertically, and then remove the core. Cut the halves diagonally into narrow slices, and feed them into the tube opening of your food processor.

Step 2 – Make and Marinate the Slaw

In a large bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, sour cream, 1 tablespoon of the ginger, 1 tablespoon of the garlic, honey, lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Horizontal image of a creamy mixture with thinly sliced red and green cabbage in a metal bowl.

Add the cabbage and toss until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the cabbage to marinate in the dressing.

Step 3 – Saute the Veggies and Heat the Tortillas

Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli. Tossing occasionally, saute for about 2 minutes.

Stir in the remaining tablespoon of ginger and tablespoon of garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes.

Continue sauteing until the veggies are softened but crisp-tender, about 3 more minutes.

Horizontal image of broccoli, peppers, and mushrooms cooking in a pan with broth being poured on top of them.

Add the broth and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 to 5 more minutes.

For an extra spicy kick, add a few splashes of hot sauce along with the broth.

You can also use water or even a few glugs of beer instead of the broth. Use a light lager with a fresh, clean taste instead of a bitter ale like an IPA. You can sub in non-alcoholic beer or wine here too.

Warm the tortillas on a flat-top grill or in a dry pan over medium heat until lightly charred around the edges. You could also hold them over an open flame on a gas grill. Just be sure to keep an eye on them!

Step 4 – Assemble the Tacos

To assemble the tacos, top each warm tortilla with even portions of the mashed avocado, veggies, and a heaping tablespoon of the slaw.

Horizontal image of a green plate with three corn tortillas filled with slaw and other assorted vegetables next to two bowls.

Serve with the lime wedges and additional hot sauce on the side.

Mexi-Asian Flavors Unite

Hey, you stuck with me until the end. Congratulations! Your prize is three additional ideas for where to stick that sweet and spicy slaw (other than in these tacos and then in your mouth).

Horizontal image of a hand holding a single taco with garnishes.

Tangle cooked and chilled shrimp into the cabbage combo, and all you need is a fork for a fantastic and filling beach snack.

Wondering what kind of bright salad to serve alongside savory pan-fried chicken pot stickers? The garlic and ginger in the dumplings will mimic the flavors of the slaw.

Creamy cabbage is right at home at a cookout, and I recommend using these Korean-inspired burgers as another landing pad. The original recipe features a briny fish sauce and gochujang slaw, so swap in this lighter creation for less adventurous palates.

Keep your taste buds spinning with these other tasty meat-free taco recipes:

Fluffy fistfuls of cilantro steer this recipe more towards the Mexican border, while toasted sesame seeds and sriracha pull it back towards its Asian roots.

Which direction will you take these tacos in? Share your flavor perspective in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.

Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on February 5, 2015. Last updated on June 29, 2021.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”

8 thoughts on “Garlic Ginger Vegetarian Tacos with Sweet and Spicy Cabbage Slaw”

  1. These were wonderful! I made them last night while attempting to use up what was in the refrigerator before grocery shopping this morning and they were perfect – with a few substitutions for what I had on hand. My husband was even licking out the pan after I was finished. I think we’ll have a re-run stir fry this evening.

    Reply
    • Yay! This makes me so happy! Thanks for trying them, Bethany, and thanks for coming back here to let us know you made them!

      Reply
  2. I love the spicy kick that ginger gives food, but I always seem to forget to use it. This recipe looks so good and I might have to give it a try.

    Reply

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