These Creamy Kale and Potato Tacos are inspired by those served the classic Washington, D.C. restaurant Chaia! This version uses a cashew cream sauce base to cook crispy potatoes and kale for the perfect tortilla filling. Topped with salsa verde, pickled onions, and micro greens, they’re a delicious and easy plant-based dinner option ready in 20 minutes!
What is Chaia?
Chaia is a restaurant in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., that specializes in gourmet vegetarian tacos. I used to live within walking distance and can attest that it serves the best tacos I have ever had (I live in Southern California now). Granted, part of the appeal here is just how well they’re able to transform staple vegetables into truly crave-able meals. If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy eating plant-based, this recipe is a wonderful place to start.
Details on these Creamy Kale and Potato Tacos
At Chaia, these tacos are served with poblano cheese, which adds a definitive richness to the entire dish. To keep today’s recipe dairy-free, we’re substituting cashew cream. Pairing this with crisped potatoes and hearty kale equals a satisfying and hearty final result.
Toppings take this recipe from good to great. We’re mirroring the Chaia technique by serving with salsa verde, pickled onions, and micro greens.
How to Make Quick Pickled Onions
First, peel a red onion or shallot and slice into thin rounds. Add to a sealable jar or container and pour apple cider vinegar over to cover. Add a few teaspoons of sugar and a pinch of salt, then stir. That’s it! These will stay preserved for a while in the fridge and add a great pop of flavor to many dishes, particularly bowl meals and salads. This is a cheater’s method but I find it works very well.
How long do quick pickled onions last?
Pickled onions will last 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. You’ll find that as they sit, their structure will begin to break down as they soften (so they will take up less space in the jar). To ensure they stay fresh, always maintain the level of cider vinegar above the level of the onions themselves.
Do you need to pour the liquid out before eating pickled onions?
Nope! The liquid is just a vinegar mixture so it’s best to just pick your onions of of the jar with a fork without removing the liquid. This helps the remaining stay “preserved.”
Ingredients Needed for this Recipe:
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 2 golden potatoes, medium in size, washed
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
- 2 cups curly kale, washed and de-stemmed
- Juice of half of a lime
- Toppings: Salsa verde, Picked onions (outlined above), micro greens, corn tortillas, lime wedges
How to Make Creamy Kale and Potato Tacos
- Begin by preparing your cashew cream – add cashews to a heatproof bowl and top with one cup boiling water. Let soak for at least 10 minutes to soften. Add to a blender and make a cream sauce.
- Slice potatoes into thin rounds, place on a heatproof plate, and microwave for 5 minutes to soften.
- Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add potatoes in a thin layer and sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit for about 5 minutes until the bottoms begin to get crispy and browned. Stir and flip as needed to prevent burning, but make sure not to agitate them too much as you want a crust to begin to develop. Sprinkle with cumin and chili powder. Add a bit more oil if things begin to stick.
- Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds more.
- Add kale to skillet along with one half cup water. Cover the skillet to let kale steam and soften for about three minutes. Remove lid and stir. Cook over medium low for a few more minutes until water is evaporated.
- Pour cashew cream over entire mixture and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
- To serve, add kale potato mixture to a corn tortilla with a spoonful of salsa verde, some pickled onions, and a few sprigs of micro greens.
What is salsa verde?
Salsa verde (“green sauce” in Spanish) is a type of sauce from Mexican cuisine that is made primarily with tomatillos and green chili peppers. Its origins date back to the Aztec empire, and it can be prepared raw of cooked to enhance certain flavors. I rarely make my own (for convenience’s sake) and instead buy a jar o of it pre-made. It will last for a while in the fridge and is delicious with chips or in many other Mexican-inspired dishes.
Ideas to Customize These Tacos
- Add cilantro in place of microgreens
- Swap in your favorite kind of salsa in place of salsa verde
- Use shallots in place of red onion