This sauce makes a great filling for tacos, as well as brilliant topping for nachos. You can also serve it as a chilli con carne with rice. What I love about it is that it is packed full of hidden vegetables – great for tricking those who don’t like to eat their greens!
I’ve been using my food processor to finely chop vegetables to make pasta sauce “secretly” healthier for years, but this my first recipe for Mexican food. The vegetables add a lot of bulk so you aren’t eating as much red meat and they also add tons of texture and flavour. You can mix and match your vegetables to use up whatever is in the fridge – just chuck it in the blender! For this reason, I haven’t specified a particular type of onion or colour of pepper – just use what you have.
Don’t buy a jar of salsa to serve with this – they are usually packed with sugar. For a delicious, healthy side, mix together quartered cherry tomatoes with finely chopped red onion and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Season to taste.
If you serve your hidden vegetable sauce with this salsa and some shredded lettuce, you can easily have six separate fruit and vegetables on just one plate! (So you can sprinkle on extra cheese, guilt free!)
You can also make your own tacos or nachos from a corn tortilla – click here for very simple steps.
Ingredients (serves 4)
– 400 g beef mince
– 1 large onion, peeled
– 3 cloves garlic, peeled
– 2 carrots, peeled
– 1 pepper, deseeded
– 1 leek
– 3 tomatoes
– 200 g tomato puree
– 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander
– 1 teaspoon chipotle paste (or more if you like heat)
200 g bag of nachos and 200 g grated cheese OR taco shells
cherry tomato salsa (see above)
shredded lettuce, soured cream, jalapenos
1. Place the onion, garlic, carrots, pepper, leek and tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until the vegetables are all very finely chopped.
2. Heat a little oil in a large pan and cook the vegetables for 2-3 minutes until beginning to soften.
3. Add the mince, spices, chipotle paste and puree. Cook until the beef is cooked through, stirring well.
4. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and season before stirring.
To cook the nachos, preheat the grill to medium-high. Scatter a layer of nachos over a baking tray then cover with a layer of grated cheese. Repeat with layers until you have used up the nachos and cheese. Cook under the grill until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Alternatively, heat the tacos according to the packet.
Serve the hidden vegetable sauce.
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