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Taco Pie: Gluten-free, dairy-free and meat-free (if you want)

I love love love mexican food and so does the rest of my family (the hubby only likes it sometimes). I enjoy finding new mexican dishes and new spins on old recipes. Recently I found a recipe for Taco pie and I was ecstatic!tacopie
The first time I made it (as you see in the picture) it wasn’t with a restrictive diet in mind — I just wanted it to taste good.
After Dad found out that he couldn’t have gluten, dairy or red meat, I starting thinking of ways to tweak my current recipes.
Taco pie is pretty easy, but it does require a little effort…
To make the crust:
Ingredients
•    1/2 cup butter
•    1 1/2 cups of milk (for dairy-free use Almond Milk – make sure it’s plain and NOT vanilla or it’ll taste funny)
•    Mashed potato flakes
•    4 Tbs of Taco seasoning
Preheat your oven to 425. In a sauce pan melt the butter and add milk and seasoning. Once everything is heated up and melted, put mashed potato flakes in a bowl and start adding the liquid. Make sure you put all of the liquid in there. Add more flakes to get your “crust” to a manipulative texture (soft, but not crumbly — it should go into a ball shape using a spatula). Once you’re done with that, put the crust in the pie pan (spray with oil first — canola or olive or another natural/organic oil — vegetable is too fatty). Put it in the oven until it hardens. Leave in longer for a crisp crust or take out soon for a mushy crust. Remember, it’s mashed potato flakes not flour so doughy is OK.
To make the inside:
•    Refried beans
•    Hamburger meat OR black beans
•    Cheese (not for dairy-free obviously)
•    Rice
•    Salsa
•    Anything else you like cooked with your tacos
I try to make my own refried beans. Sometimes I cheat and use the canned kind, but the only way to guarantee the organic/naturalness of it is to make it yourself.
First thing I do is pour the refried beans into the bottom of the fully cooked crust. After that I put mexican rice in the bottom (I have a recipe for that, but if you don’t want rice it’s not a big deal). Then I put the cooked taco meat on top of the beans. This should make up the majority of your pie. If you’re doing vegetarian or no red meat then take your black beans and heat them up and add taco seasoning the way you do to hamburger meat. Surprisingly it tastes NO DIFFERENT than the taco meat. The awesome thing is it’s cheaper and it still has the protein without the negatives of red meat.
Because I can have cheese, I sprinkle a ton of cheese on top — pretty much as if I were making a pizza. When I made this for Dad (who can’t have dairy) I put salsa on top of the beans and then sprinkled rice on top to give it a different color.
The gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free taco pie was a big hit! We all liked it and it didn’t feel like we were being “deprived” of anything delicious.
To top off our pie we put tomatoes, fresh organic spinach (I prefer spinach to regular lettuce because it lasts longer and has a bolder taste), and organic guacamole. None of us went hungry that night!
–Erica

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