This is a sponsored post.
Refried Black Bean and Halloumi Tacos are my tweaked version of the Hello Fresh one. Both are full of fibre, flavour and make a terrific family dinner.
Who doesn’t love tacos? When I was a teenager I liked the crunchy kind, not minding that they would inevitably fall apart and tumble into my lap. But, since my coordination has not improved with age, a less bothersome soft taco suits me better.
I have a few Mexico-inspired recipes here on the blog. But, to be honest, since Rachel moved to Chicago, we have not had – nor made – tacos in ages. Which is a shame. Especially seeing that she and her boyfriend Dan, like the good millennials that they are, seem to have tacos every Tuesday. So I was happy when premium recipe box delivery company Hello Fresh asked me to make and review one of their recipes.
The Hello Fresh selection of recipes to choose from is expansive, with meals to suit almost every taste. I notice that they even have some for low-carbers like me. All of the recipes looked fab of course, but the Refried Black Bean and Halloumi Tacos recipe jumped out. As I said, who doesn’t love tacos? And who doesn’t fancy a night off from thinking about what to make?
Recipe boxes, delivered
The popularity of recipe boxes – or meal kits, if you prefer – has only increased as lockdown and Covid19 restrictions have gone on. Even before lockdown, meal kit delivery was on an upward trajectory, going up 36% more from 2018-2019. Even outstripping takeaway delivery growth.
It doesn’t take much imagination to predict that this year will be even higher than last. Although things are getting semi back to normal, people are still taking fewer trips to the supermarkets. But they are still wanting to eat well. And eat adventurously. Hello Fresh is filling a hungry gap with its ever-changing but easy and impressive recipe kits.
Eating at home: the new going out?
I know that many restaurants are now opening up, but I really think making food at home will be a trend that will continue. Hopefully most of us have gained a few more skills in the kitchen. And have a number of dishes that we can practically make with our eyes shut.
But, as someone who cooks almost all meals from scratch, sometimes I need a break. A recipe box can be just the thing when energy and ideas are at a low ebb. Plus, it’s a helluva a lot less expensive and more nutritious than a takeaway. From what I can see of the recipes and menu options, nutrition, as well as taste of course, are what makes Hello Fresh such a great option.
What Hello Fresh customers say
Doing a little research to write this post, I asked some friends whether they use Hello Fresh and how they like it. Well, the response was genuinely and near-universally positive. Some comments include:
Love the use of spice etc and the recipe cards to keep
We’ve used it in the past and loved it. Just not very practical/economical for a larger family (family of 6).
As someone who isn’t the most confident or creative of cooks HelloFresh is a godsend. The kids love it, too. We also like the amount of choice, although having more meat-free dishes would be great.
Excellent quality fresh ingredients. Very useful to have Hello Fresh as we are still shielding
Advantages are a good range of fresh, quality ingredients and menus to choose from. Ingredients are labelled clearly and herbs and spices are individually portioned for ease. Customer service is excellent.
We chose to do this because we got bored of cooking the same stuff for family meals and having to think about what to cook. Therefore Hello Fresh renewed our enthusiasm for cooking.
The only real negative was about packaging, mainly of the small sachets that hold wet ingredients. Which of course means that the sachets can’t be compostable. Changing delivery dates was mentioned by a couple of people.
Another advantage that I see, and others mentioned, is that Hello Fresh really helps cut down on kitchen food waste. You are given only what you need for the recipe. And you don’t have to spend time pulling out every spice in your cupboard to find just the one to complete a recipe. Or is that just me?
Anyway, to the recipe. They weren’t able to supply me with a kit, so I bought the ingredients and set about re-creating the recipe from the website as best I could. Although the recipe is easy, not needing to go to the store would have been even better. With ingredients all labeled and grouped together, and only needing chopping or adding to a pan, the kits really make for relaxing dinner prep.
Making the Refried Black Bean and Halloumi Tacos
Assuming you have a kit, all you would do is take the pre-measured ingredients from the box and do a bit of chopping, some light mashing of beans, and heating. No getting out scales or cups to measure anything.
1. Preheat your oven to 180℃. Then drain and rinse the black beans in a colander. Pop a third of the beans in a bowl and mash with a fork until broken up. I used my potato masher as it was quicker and mashier. After that you peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press like I did), and zest and halve the lime. Chop the halloumi into 2cm chunks. The halloumi I used was quite rounded so my pieces weren’t as even as they look on the website/recipe card. If you don’t have a zester, use the smallest side of a box grater. Or just pare some of the peel with a knife and very finely slice it.
2. Heat a drizzle of oil – I used 1 teaspoon – in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. To this you add the garlic and tomato purée, stir and cook for 1 minute. I turned down the heat to low-medium to prevent burning in my enamel pan. Pour in a little water and stir in the mashed and whole beans. Leave to cook through for 3-4 mins.
3. Add half the chipotle paste to the beans. I only had a dried chipotle mix so I added this. Then it tells you to mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. I didn’t feel it needed either. Then you simmer until thickened, 2-3 mins.
4. Now it’s time for proper cooking. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the halloumi and fry until golden, 6-7 mins. Turn every 2 mins. This was about the right timing, but does require a bit of dexterity to turn the cubes. I use a small set of tongs, like you would get in a child’s kitchen set. 🙂
5. Meanwhile, mix the remaining chipotle paste (or powder in my case) and half the mayo in a small bowl.
6. You are instructed to pop the tacos (3 per person) directly onto the top shelf of the oven until heated through, 1-2 mins. I put them on trays instead. What I recommend is wrapping them in foil to keep them really soft and steamed. This is handy for when you forget to set the oven timer. 😉 Now mix the remaining mayo with the lime zest. Slice the baby gem lettuce in half lengthways, then thinly slice widthways into little green ribbons.
7. Finally, it’s time to assemble the Refried Black Bean and Halloumi Tacos. Lay the warm tacos on a board or plate. Spread the chipotle mayo on the base of the tacos, followed by a handful of lettuce and a squeeze of lime for each. Then add a couple of spoonfuls of the chipotle bean mix to each taco, topping with equal amounts of halloumi cubes, and a drizzle of the limey mayo. Aaaand, tuck in! And, if you are like me, have lots of napkins to hand. 🙂
What is our verdict?
It was delicious! It’s put me back into the groove of making tacos, albeit my own lower-carb version with homemade flax tortillas! I can imagine that this would be a great way to get kids involved and familiar with cooking. And being introduced to beans other than baked beans. We did find that 3 tacos per person was too much for us. Andrew took the leftovers to work the next day. Bonus! I would say that this would easily serve three adults or two adults and 2 young children, especially with a side of guacamole and salad or sweet potato oven chips.
Below is my own version of this Hello Fresh recipe. And here are my Mexico-inspired recipes to try, too.
Refried Black Bean and Halloumi Tacos
Turn a tin of black beans into a family meal with spicy mayo, soft tortillas and cubes of golden halloumi.
- 400 g tin of black beans
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 lime
- 1 tbsp olive oil divided use
- 2 tbsp tomato puree concentrate
- 100 ml water
- 1 tbsp chipotle paste or powder have more just in case you want to amp the heat!
- 250 g halloumi cheese
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise light or full-fat
- 1 head Little Gem lettuce washed and end trimmed
- 6 mini flour tortillas not the appetiser size ones!
Preheat the oven to 160C fan/350F.
Drain and rinse the black beans. Remove 1/3 to a bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork until well-broken down. Squash and peel the garlic clove then either mince finely or use a garlic press. Now zest the lime and cut in half.
Slice the halloumi into 2 cm cubes, or thereabouts.
Heat a teaspoon of the oil in a saucepan over a low-medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute, then add the tomato puree and stir, chased by the water and the mashed and whole beans. Mix well and heat through for three minutes, until thickened. Stir in half of the chipotle puree or powder. Give it a taste and see if you want to add salt or more chipotle.
Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the halloumi cubes to the hot oil and fry until lightly golden on the bottom, flipping and continuing until it is quite golden - about six minutes. I use small tongs, but you could use a small silicone spatula. Turn off the heat.
Now make the mayos. Scrape half of the mayo into a small bowl and stir in the remaining chipotle. In another bowl, add the rest of the mayo and all fo the lime zest. Go ahead and chop the lettuce now too.
Grab a piece of foil and loosely wrap the tortillas. Pop in the oven for four minutes.
To assemble, lay the tortillas on a serving board or platter, then spread a little of the chipotle may on each tortilla. Follow this with a little lettuce and a squeeze of lime, a spoon of the beans, halloumi cubes and a few dollops of the lime mayo. Eat immediately with plenty of napkins!