Edible Insects Recipe: Mango Salsa Taco with Waxworms
Larvae blend with corn kernels in a spicy-sweet salsa
June 17, 2018
May 12, 2019
May contain affiliate links.
This salsa is good enough to eat with a spoon, and incredibly versatile. Eat it by itself and it'll be a fresh and spicy summer salad; dip chips in it and it's a salsa; put it inside a shell and voilà—tacos! The strength of this recipe is in teamwork: the tart of the mango, the hearty corny sweetness, citrus from the lime, and bite from the onions, garlic, and chile powder. Roasted waxworms arrive fashionably late to this party, sprinkled on top for some extra crisp texture and protein. If you bring this to a barbecue or potluck it likely won't last the night; it's that good. But if you make it on your own and for just yourself, it should last a week refrigerated in several jars.
Total 40 mins; Serves 12
- 15 ounces frozen yellow corn, drained
- 15 ounces frozen white corn, drained
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 bunches finely chopped cilantro
- 5 green onions, finely sliced
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup lime juice (plus a few squirts)
- 1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
- 2-3 mangoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 Tablespoon or more of hot chile powder, to taste
- 1 Teaspoon of salt, to taste
- 1/4 cup roasted waxworms
- 12 6-inch fresh corn tortillas or taco shells
1. Combine the robust ingredients first: corn, beans, onions, garlic, cilantro, peppers (fresh and ground), lemon juice, olive oil. Mix vigorously, then add soft ingredients (mangos, tomatoes, avocados) and stir in more caringly. Adjust salt, pepper, and lemon juice, to taste.
2. Euthanize, boil, and roast waxworms, if you haven't already. If you have raised your own waxworms, you will need to euthanize them in the freezer a day ahead of time, then boil for 3-5 minutes to kill any parasites, and drain. The easiest way to boil something small like waxworms is to bring water in a small pot to a rolling boil, then place waxworms in a fine mesh stainless steel strainer, and lower into boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Then, all you need to do it lift the strainer out of the boiling water, and rinse the waxworms, still in the strainer, with cool water, then spread out to dry. To roast, preheat oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit (160 Celsius), and spread waxworms over a pan or piece of tin foil. You don't need any oil, they are fatty enough. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they are fragrant, and lightly crispy and dry to the touch. Set aside.
3. If you are not using hard taco shells, warm the tortillas in your favorite manner. This can be as easy as popping them in the microwave, or using tongs to hold them over something steaming, tossing them in the oven with the roasting waxworms, or my favorite method: flash in the pan. I like to heat up some oil in a pan over medium heat, then toss each tortilla in just long enough for it to brown, flipping it once. When tortillas are warm and pliable, keep in a tortilla warmer, or stack between napkins and keep under a large bowl, to preserve heat, until ready to eat.
4. Fill each tortilla with as much mango salsa as will fit without bursting out, and then top with crispy roasted waxworms. Serve approximately 2 or 3 tacos per person, or allow them to serve themselves.
This recipe is included in Bugs for Beginners, a cookbook which teaches Westerners how to prepare and safely eat insects. Text may include affiliate links
I'm Mic. I love reading about, writing about, thinking about, photographing, and especially eating, food. Especially bug food. Enough talk, let's eat!