Grilled Summer Vegetable Tacos

We’ve hit that mid-to-late summer sweet spot when all the things I eagerly await year-round are finally here. Sweetcorn, courgettes, berries, summer squash, and tomatoes. Warm nights, beers on the porch, sunburnt shoulders, coconut soft serve, and sweaty bike rides. As much as I love these days, I also feel a mild anxiety as each one passes, not wanting to let summer go yet.

This blog post is for more of an idea than a recipe, but it’s a delicious one that’s worthy of your time nonetheless, and especially good if you’re a bit tired of simply grilling vegetables for salads or whatnot. Warmed corn tortillas are filled with seasoned pinto beans, zingy grilled corn salsa, slices of creamy avocado, grilled summer vegetables, and a spoonful of hot tomato salsa.

Summer Vegetable and Bean Tacos

If you haven’t made this grilled corn salsa before then you’re in for a treat. It has a gorgeous charred-sweet flavour with a pick-me-up from the fresh cilantro and lime juice, and a little kick of cumin. It’s excellent and so simple.

If you follow the instructions below you’ll have more corn salsa and beans than you need for tacos but that is personally how I prefer to cook and both are so versatile and delicious that you’ll want to use them in many other ways. Add leftover beans to a bowl of rice, topped with a fried egg, avocado, cilantro, and hot sauce for a delicious dinner. Scoop up the corn salsa with tortilla chips or add it to green salads. Or…make more tacos! Your choices at this time of year for grilling vegetables are near endless.

Grilled Summer Vegetable and Bean Tacos

These are a stunning way to show off summer vegetables in a simple and easy way. They’re vegan and gluten-free so an excellent option for feeding a group of hungry friends in your sunny backyard, though if you wanted to add some crumbled queso fresco, I bet that would be delicious too. Just add some ice cold beers, and a bowl of tortilla chips with the rest of that corn salsa and you have yourself a seriously good time in the making.

Summer Vegetable Tacos

Grilled Summer Vegetable and Bean Tacos
Makes enough for two people.


  • 8 corn tortillas (I like to double up and use two tortillas for one taco)
  • About half a cup of grilled corn salsa (recipe below)
  • About half a cup of cooked pinto beans (instructions below)
  • Two baby courgettes (zucchini) (or aubergine/eggplant, or summer squash) sliced in half lengthwise
  • Half an avocado, pit removed
  • Fresh tomato salsa, as desired – or – a handful of cherry tomatoes sliced into halves


  1. Heat the grill to high and make the corn salsa per the instructions below.
  2. Grill your courgettes (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), or summer squash until lightly charred but not too soft. Remove from grill and slice into half moons about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Place halved avocado flesh down on the grill and warm through until you have grill marks, a minute or two. Remove and slice into strips, lengthwise.
  4. Meanwhile, heat up corn tortillas on the grill until soft and pliable.
  5. Construct tacos by taking two corn tortillas and filling them with a little grilled corn salsa, some beans, courgette/squash, slices of avocado, some cilantro and a little salsa (or tomatoes).

To make the pinto beans:


  • 1 lb dried pinto beans, picked through
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2 chiles
  • 1-2 tbsp white vinegar
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Place beans in a large pot and cover with about an inch of water. Bring to the boil and then turn heat down and simmer for thirty minutes. Drain the beans. 
  2. Return beans to the pot and cover with about an inch of water again. Add the onion and chiles and bring water to a boil. Turn heat down and let beans simmer for 1 – 2 hours or until tender, stirring every 10-15 minutes. You don’t want tons of water left at the end but you also don’t want the beans to run out of water so keep an eye on them and make sure they’re just simmering the entire time.
  3. About ten minutes before the beans are done, add the vinegar and salt, to taste.
  4. This will make more beans than you need for the tacos – use the leftovers as you wish! (My favourite is to make a batch of rice and eat them with that, avocado slices, and hot sauce. A runny egg on top is super good.)

To make the grilled corn salsa:


  • 2 ears of sweetcorn
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, diced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pinch of cumin


  1. Remove husks from corn and lightly coat in olive oil. Cook on the bbq right over the flames charring the corn slightly as you turn it.
  2. Place onion and cilantro in a bowl. Combine the lime juice, olive oil, cumin and salt in a small jam jar and shake. Set aside.
  3. Once corn has cooled down use a knife to gently slide down the sides of the corn, removing the kernels. Add the corn to the cilantro and onion, pour over dressing to taste, and toss. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  4. This will make more than you need for the tacos – save the rest to enjoy with corn tortilla chips!

Black Bean Burgers

June 18, 2012

The official start of summer according to my calendar is this Wednesday and somehow that date is totally in tune with what I’d decided is my personal “start of summer”. On Thursday my brother and his wife arrive from the U.K. (via Mexico – only slightly envious) for a week and Dan and I are pumped.

I can’t tell you what we’ll be up to because it involves Top Secret Birthday Celebrations for my brother but suffice to say, I’m excited for a few days off (our only real summer holiday this year – sob) and an excuse to kick off summer properly.

The other exciting thing happening this week? I’m celebrating five years of living in this wonderful city. If you’re the sentimental type then you can read my heart-on-sleeve ode to Minneapolis, which I wrote this time last year. I can’t believe it’s been half a bloody decade. Old.

These black bean burgers totally scream summer and they’re the best we’ve ever made at home. They have fantastic flavour and a really good texture, falling apart just a teeny tiny bit (I think that’s because we couldn’t quite get them dark and crispy enough on both sides). They soak up a fair bit of oil while frying so you’ll likely want to douse the pan with some more as you flip ’em.

I love that they’re studded with sweetcorn and doubly love the spices added to the mix. It adds some great flavour without making them spicy at all. If you want them hot you’ll need to up the quantities of spices. We added a smear of chipotle sweet and hot sauce to our buns which brought the heat.

Black Bean Burgers
from Spoon Fork Bacon


  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, drained
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1 ear yellow corn, kernels and milk removed from husk
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 whole wheat burger buns


  1. Place onion, jalapeno and garlic in a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times.
  2. Add beans, oats, corn, green onion, cumin, curry powder, and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper and pulse 8 times. Scrape downs sides of the bowl and pulse an additional 5 to 8 times (depending on desired texture).
  3. Place mixture into a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
  4. Remove chilled mixture from refrigerator and stir in breadcrumbs. Adjust seasonings.
  5. Pour oil into a heavy bottom skillet and place over medium. Form mixture into four equal patties. Cook patties for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until a crust develops and the patties are heated through.
  6. Remove patties from heat and place onto burger buns. Assemble burger with toppings and condiments of your choice and serve.

Today I wanted to share a healthy, simple lunch idea with you guys: baked quinoa and millet patties. They taste so good inside a warmed pita bread alongside a simple salad with lemony vinaigrette.

I had a very virtuous Sunday this weekend. My plans to spend all day at the May Day Parade were scuppered when it got cancelled due to weather (we’re having April showers in May…) and so I was left with not a single plan for the day.

First, I made up a batch of Warm Breakfast Quinoa for the week. Halo shining, I decided while I was at it I’d prepare some healthy lunches too. This never happens – instead everyday I scramble around my kitchen trying to find something that my co-workers won’t judge me for eating as I rush out of the door (side note: bringing a LOT of cookies to work helps avoid the squinty-eyed weird looks from happening too often; being the Bringer of Baked Goods is a good thing).

I made up half of the recipe below, adapting Heidi Swanson’s original to use millet as well as quinoa and parsley instead of dill (which I hate). They taste excellent with a healthy dash of sriracha sauce and a couple of them would go down a treat at breakfast time with a fried egg and some wilted greens.

Baked Quinoa and Millet Patties
adapted from 101 Cookbooks


  • 1 1/4 cups / 6 oz /170 g cooked quinoa, at room temperature*
  • 1 1/4 cups / 6 oz/ 170 g cooked millet at room temperature*
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup/ .5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/3 cup /.5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup / 1.5 oz /45 g finely chopped kale
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup / 3.5 oz /100 g bread crumbs, plus more if needed
  • water or a bit of flour, if needed
  • 1/3 cup / .5 oz / 15 g crumbled feta cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400F / 200C.
  2. Combine the quinoa, millet, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, parsley, kale, onion, garlic, and cumin. Stir well.
  3. Add the baking powder and bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture.
  4. Gently stir in the feta.
  5. Form mixture into twelve 1-inch / 2.5cm thick patties with your hands. It seems best to err on the very moist side to avoid a not-overly-dry patty, but you can add more bread crumbs, a bit at a time, to firm up the mixture, if you need to. If the mixture is too dry then add a bit more beaten egg or water to moisten it.
  6. Arrange the patties with a bit of space between each on a Silpat-lined (or greased) baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are brown. Flip and bake for another 5 minutes.
  7. Enjoy hot, or allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Makes about a dozen patties.

*To cook a batch of quinoa and millet: Combine 1 cups/ 6 oz/1700 g each of well-rinsed uncooked quinoa and millet with 3 cups / 700 ml water and 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, decrease the heat, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the quinoa and millet mixture is tender and you can see the little quinoa curlicues.