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Seared Vegetables with Tortilla Chip Crumbs

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Makes 4 Sides 1x

Time 40 Minutes

Units Scale


  • 2 cups store-bought tortilla chips
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 2 or 3 scallions
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tequila or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Crushed dried chiles to taste (I used chipotles)
  • Salt and pepper (or maybe not)


  1. Crush the chips as fine or coarse as you want them. (I used the chip bag and meat pounder for an uneven grind; a food processor or blender will deliver finer, more even crumbs.) You should have about 1 cup and, as a bonus, they’ll be seasoned, especially if you use the shake from the bottom of the bag.
  2. Trim and scrub the carrots and peel them if you’d like. Slice them on the bias about 1/2-inch thick. Trim the scallions, separate the green and white parts and cut them the same way. Peel the garlic and slice thinly. Tear as many cilantro tender stems and leaves as you’d like for garnish and cut the limes into wedges.
  3. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. When it’s hot, add the carrots and cook, undisturbed until you start to smell them getting toasty, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the scallion whites and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until they sizzle and start to color in places, just a minute or so.
  4. Add the tequila (or water) and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are easy to pierce with a fork and the liquid has bubbled away, 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the scallion greens, cumin, and chiles and stir until fragrant, less than a minute. Remove from the heat and toss as many of the chip crumbs as you want with the carrots. (Save any leftovers for later, but no judgment if you use all of them.) Taste and add salt and pepper if you’d like. Garnish with the cilantro and lime wedges and serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled like salad.


Recipe developed by Kerri Conan

Recipe variations

To make this recipe more of a meal:

Cook a pound or so of shrimp, or sliced squid or chicken on its own first; remove it from the pan; then follow the recipe and stir it back in with the crumbs at the end. Or add 4 to 8 ounces chopped smoked chorizo with the carrots and brown along with them. Or toss in 2 cups cooked (or 1 small can) drained giant limas or black beans along with the crumbs.