Too Turnt Vegan Tacos

“Nothing was beautiful, and everything hurt.” -Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Fireball

After 25 years on this planet, there are a few crucial life lessons you’d think I would have learned by now but clearly, and very painfully, have not yet mastered:

  • No, idiot, your phone is not broken, and that unreceived text from the person of interest du jour is not floating around somewhere in the aether, so stop texting yourself just to see if it goes through. It always will, and even if it doesn’t, now you have a broken phone and a future trip to the Verizon store. Pick your poison.
  • Googling “how do I buy ‘a stock’ and can I do it next year” is not a solid financial plan. Same goes for “health insurance catastrophic plan cheapest plan” and “do I need health insurance” and “can I pay back my student loans with half-eaten pizzas.”
  • Do not, under any circumstances, utter the phrase “I’m not really drinking tonight,” or any variation on the theme (e.g. “I don’t want to get that drunk tonight,” “It’s going to just be a chill night,” “I’ll probably just have a drink and go home.”). Do not say it out loud. Do not think it to yourself. Do not say it in a house. Do not say it with a mouse. Just, like, opposite Nike strategy. Just don’t do it.

If there were a god, he would definitely be a bro who really wants to rage, so whenever he hears someone say that they’re “not really drinking tonight,” he gets Old Testament levels of vengeful and makes damn well sure you get hammered just out of spite. He’s also always trying to look for drinking buddies, because Bro God hates drinking alone. He also LOVES “Sweet Caroline.” What if God was one of us? Just a bro like one of us? Just a stranger at Town Hall, tryna Lyft his way hooooooome.

TL;DR, I thought I was going out for a glass of wine at a friend’s birthday dinner last night, and ended up taking shots of Fireball at 2 a.m. All was fine and dandy (shout-out to Andy for making my stubborn ass get in an Uber and not letting me bike home) until I woke up this morning and remembered, oh, shoot, I’m a vegan.

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My rough-around-the-edges strategy usually involves forcing myself to get out of bed at 7 a.m. and having a cup of coffee, a giant glass of water, as many Aleve as I can take without rupturing my liver, and two eggs with as much cheese as I have in the apartment, followed by a two-hour mid-morning nap. I think a nap at that point is just sleep, but like, semantics.

Anyways, with egg and cheese no longer an option, I was forced to pull myself up by my hangover bootstraps. “I came to this country with nothing but a throbbing headache after waking up on my couch with my shoes still on and my cat sitting on my chest, but through hard work and the opportunities this great nation offers, I was at Churchkey drinking bourbon-aged Scotch Ales by 4 p.m.” The American dream, really.

Despite churning out 584975576495876 articles a day along the lines of “Can We Guess Your Favorite 90s Boy Band Member Based on Your Astrological Sign,” Buzzfeed has yet to publish a listicle on the best vegan hangover foods, but fortunately PETA had anticipated this very, very desperate need. I usually despise PETA as 1) they give vegetarians a bad name and 2) they haven’t quite figured out how to respect animals and women at the same time, but their advice was pretty solid.

One key element to fighting a hangover (besides not taking shots of Fireball the night before) is cysteine, an amino acid that increases glutathione. Glutathione works to break down acetaldehyde, a super toxic by-product of your liver’s metabolism of alcohol. SCIENCE.

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Eggs are high in cysteine, which is part of the reason, besides being delicious, huevos rancheros are so great after a night on the town. Too Turnt Tacos are a very impaired attempt to deliver the same(ish) nutrient (peppers and onions also contain high levels of cysteine, while nutritional yeast has absurd levels of B6, a vitamin that can aid in recovery efforts) and flavor profile while making sure you consume so many vegetables and legumes that you feel like Superwoman the next day. Also, I’ll find any excuse to make tacos.

These tacos are pretty (okay, scratch that, SUPER) basic, but they are completely manageable to make even if, five hours prior, you were messaging people on OkCupid in the form of Taylor Swift lyrics. The KISS principle very much applies here.

A few variations to keep in mind:

  • I opted for tacos, but cutting the tortillas into wedges and baking them (375º for about 10 minutes, brushed with oil and salt) makes for a great nacho option.
  • I used jalapeño, chipotle Tabasco sauce, and hot salsa, as my recovery strategy is to create so much spice-related pain in my mouth that the rest of my body is distracted. Feel free to tone down the heat accordingly.
  • Vegan cheese is never worth it. Just say no. DARE.
  • As you can see below, these tacos are best served with a touch of the hair of the dog. Vegan tacos can only help so much, let’s be honest.

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Too Turnt Vegan Tacos

(makes ~3 small tacos, third taco not featured because I already ate it, sorry not sorry)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 red onion, sliced or diced, whatever your preference
1/2 bell pepper, see above
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cinnamon*
1/3 a small jalapeño, finely diced
1/2 cup cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained
As much kale has you feel comfortable with, coarsely chopped (I like the stems, but feel free to discard)
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp nutritional yeast
3 small corn tortilla shells (or whatever kind of taco vehicle you prefer/have on hand)

Condiments of choice (see below)
Hair of the dog of choice (only you can make that decision)

In a medium pan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and peppers and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Add beans, garlic, spices (except salt and pepper), and jalapeño, cooking 1-2 minutes until spices are fragrant. Add kale to pan, stirring frequently, ~3-5 minutes. When mixture appears dry, add lime juice, and stir for an additional 2-3 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add nutritional yeast and stir for 1 minute.

Serve in tortilla shells with whatever condiments you fancy. Recommendations: hot sauce, salsa, scallions, avocado, jicama slaw, sour cream and cheese and I promise not to tell anyone, crushed up Advil. Lime juice can be substituted for the tears of regret as you check your texts and Snapchat log.

Best enjoyed on your couch with a Lime-a-rita while binge watching Chopped and/or Dance Moms in your harem pants. Alex Guarnaschelli’s negative resting face has curative powers.

*Not recommended if you had Fireball the night before. Someone has to learn from my mistakes, and it surely isn’t going to be me.

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