Dear Taco Scientists: Dinner is too stressful



Dear Taco Scientists,

Every night at 6:30 I have a panic attack. I need to make dinner, and make it fast. But when I try to solve this problem, I freeze. Maybe I should eat frozen burritos? But wait, does a frozen burrito count as a vegetable? Is it gluten-free? Paleo? Can I juice a burrito?

I turn to the internet looking for answers. I stare blank faced at Pinterest and blogs, frozen with indecision. What if one day I never figure out what’s for dinner and waste away from starvation?

Too Stressed to Eat

Dear Stressed,

A Taco Cleanse is your answer. We recommend a week-long HOT cleanse, though a FUEGO cleanse would be even better. On the Taco Cleanse, what’s for dinner is easy. It’s a taco.

If you’re still anxious, it can be even easier. Buy flour tortillas, because they last longer. Get a few avocados and your favorite salsa. Check for a salsa bar or for fresh salsa in the produce section of your grocery store. Though any salsa will do.

Now you’re 2/3 of the way to a taco. Add one more ingredient, and you’re done. Here are five easy fillings you can keep around the house: whole or refried beans, potatoes of any kind (baked, mashed, tots), scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, or hummus. Yes, really hummus. Hummus and avocado makes a great taco.

Don’t feel like you need to eat a different taco every night. It’s OK to repeat. If you’re up for it, you can mix things up with two fillings in the same taco. But don’t push yourself too hard.

Most important of all, remember that it’s just food. It’s just dinner. Nothing depends on eating a perfect dinner. Don’t let anyone make you feel inferior because your diet doesn’t match society’s expectations. In other words, screw paleo.


Have a question for the Taco Scientists? Send it to tacocleanse (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject line “Dear Taco Scientists.”


Mexican Smashed Potatoes


Smashed PotatoesI’ve always preferred smashed potatoes to mashed potatoes. Maybe it’s because I’m too lazy busy to deal with peeling potatoes and bothering with an electric mixer. But honestly, I think I like the chunky texture of smashed potatoes better and it seems a little less like baby food.

There is a popular Tex-Mex dish of “Mexican Mashed Potatoes” which usually involves a ton of velveeta and heavy cream. I wanted something a bit less gloopy but still with a spicy kick, and so these potatoes were created.

They were perfect with the tempeh picadillo from the upcoming Taco Cleanse book, but they’d be great as a base in any saucy taco. You could easily size down this recipe. I really wanted to have leftovers for a few days so this yielded quite a bit. You could also add vegan cheddar or a pepper jack mix if that’s how you roll.

Mexican Smashed Potatoes
3 pounds of red potatoes, quartered
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup of vegan blue cheese (or Vegenaise)
1/4 cup of pickled jalapenos, chopped
1/4 cup green onions
3 tablespoons Tofutti cream cheese
1 tablespoon of Earth Balance
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large pot cover the potatoes with water and boil for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Remove the potatoes to a strainer, draining off all the water. In the same pot, but with the heat off, mix remaining ingredients. Add potatoes back to the pot and, using a fork or potato masher, smash into desired consistency. Channel any rage you may have at the world during this step so your mind is clear before you eat your tacos. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

We weren’t compensated by any of the mentioned brands. We just love them.


The “Westagram” taco featured at Vida Vegan Conference


Westagram Taco

The last weekend of May 2015 the Taco Scientists presented some of their research at the Vida Vegan Conference in Austin, Texas. Many attendees from all over the world embarked on their first Taco Cleanse. We were all thrilled that the conference organizers took our dietary needs seriously and integrated tacos into most of the meals at the conference including the Bazaar and after parties. So many people over the weekend were moved by how consuming tacos can elevate your mood, lead to more social interaction, and improve many of your levels. Excitement over the cleanse was so fierce that the “Westagram” named after Taco Scientist Wes Allison was even suggested at lunch. Mac & Cheese, Seitan Bacon, BBQ sauce, and Fresh Kale were indeed a winning combination and similar recipes are featured in our upcoming book “The Taco Cleanse“.

Westagram Taco

If you can’t wait or you want to recreate the version we had at Vida Vegan Conference, Chef Brad has shared his very simple, but very delicious for vegan mac and cheese.

Chef Brad’s Mac & Cheese Sauce


2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups hemp milk
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sriracha (vegan-Sky Valley)
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt coconut oil over medium heat, then add flour and mix to make a roux
  2. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, then add milk and stir well to keep mixture smooth
  3. Allow to cook for a few minutes, until sauce comes to a simmer
  4. Add nutritional yeast, dijon, sriracha, and spices
  5. Add additional milk if the sauce is too thick for your taste
  6. Adjust flavor with more salt or pepper if you desire
  7. Boil vegan pasta and mix with cheese sauce