Menu Innovations | November 2016

Freebirds' Plant-Based Spin on Traditional Tex-Mex

Freebirds’ replaced pork with fermented tempeh in its Calabacitas.
Freebirds/ William Pruyn

“The inspiration comes from a recipe that has been made in my family by both my grandmothers. The dish is a traditional Tex-Mex recipe that contains braised pork, squash, zucchini, and fresh corn with tomato sauce. I was inspired to replace the pork with the fermented tempeh to offer a full plant-based dish.

“The majority of the aromatic flavor comes from toasted cumin, followed up with the roasted tomato and chipotle salsa and a hint of cilantro. The best part is the crunchy texture of the squash balanced with the tempeh.

“This dish pairs well with our cilantro lime rice and black beans. I like it in a burrito with mixed greens and guacamole. Some guests prefer our Tempeh Calabacitas in a burrito bowl, as it is perfect for any post-workout routine.

The Players:

• Tempeh

• Squash

• Zucchini

• Pepper and onions

• Cilantro

• Roasted tomato

• Chipotle sauce

“My favorite thing about this recipe is the variation of colors from the squash, zucchini, red bell pepper, cilantro, and tomato sauce. The texture is crunchy from the vegetable and creamy from the tempeh. The best part is the layers of flavors, especially the cumin and the smoky flavor that the hint of chipotle brings. Lastly, the dish is popular and well received by both vegans and meat eaters.”

—James Sanchez

Culinary Director, Freebirds World Burrito

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