Category Archives: Mexican

Raw Taco Salad

Remember that raw phase I went through? Ya, i’m trying to forget it too. But sometimes I accidentally eat completely raw meals.

This was one of those nights. I had read somewhere about using walnut “taco meat,”but the post I read it in used it to be raw. I immediately closed the window and moved on with my life. Now I know I have talked about my cravings before, but the weirdest habit of mine is craving things that I have never eaten. And well, that happened. I was craving this “raw taco meat” made from walnuts. On my way home from work that day I picked up some walnuts and guacamole to adorn the rest of the salad ingredients that I already had at home.

Another element that I am going to bring into this salad is massaged kale. Every time I told someone I made a massaged kale salad, I was greeted with confused stares. But man oh man, everyone needs to hop on the massaged kale salad train. Basically, it is exactly what is sounds like: you coat it lightly with some olive oil, lemon juice (but tonight I used lime juice, since it was a taco salad), salt, and pepper and then get to massaging. You get the benefits of it being cooked almost, meaning it is much more palatable and you pre-break it down for your digestive system, but you also get the benefits of it being raw, meaning all of the precious nutrients are left untouched.

And finally, I have also been playing a lot with using peaches in savory dishes. Peach or mango or pineapple salsa? Yes, please! I also had some peaches, so onto the salad they were going.

Anyways, this raw taco salad of sorts was phenomenal and an absolute synch to throw together! Literally I was raving about the salad after every bite that I took. And then I made it for lunch each of the following days. It packs really well since you don’t have to worry about the kale wilting. The salad doesn’t need much of a dressing since the walnuts are flavor packed as well as the guacamole brings its Mexican goodness to the party. Raw food, you win this round… in the tastiest of ways.

Raw Kale Salad
Inspired by Roost Blog
Materials:
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup your favorite guacamole
  • 1/2 peach, diced
  • 1/8 cup red onion, diced
  • juice from 1 lime
Methods:
  1. Place walnuts, spices, soy sauce, and lime juice in a food processor and process until the walnuts take on the consistency of taco meat.
  2. Toss kale in lime juice and olive oil with a few shakes of salt and pepper and then massage, as if you were kneading dough, until kale has wilted and taken on a supple texture.
  3. To assemble: Place kale in salad bowl, top with scoop of guacamole, sprinkle walnut taco meat around, top with diced peaches and red onion, and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  4. Enjoy!
    • Probably audibly.

BBQ Eggplant Tacos

Who doesn’t love BBQ and tacos? And who doesn’t love even more when those things are put together? After a bit of change in my plans on Sunday, I was left to fend for myself for dinner. I hemmed and hawed about what to make. I flipped through saved recipes and some cookbooks. Nothing was really jumping out to me. I wanted to crump, but didn’t want to push it. I had the time to make something that was a little more elaborate, but didn’t feel like dirtying my freshly scrubbed kitchen too much. I also really wanted to put BBQ sauce on something/everything.

Ok, a little backstory here. R and I were out running errands on Saturday, when we stumbled into Williams Sonoma. Well, the culinary Gods were smiling upon me that day, for Williams Sonoma had a BBQ sauce tasting bar set up. WHAT?! It had a bowl of tiny spoons next to a line of artisan BBQ sauces. There was a cherry chipotle, smoked vidalia onion, jalapeño-peach… all in squirt bottles just begging to be squirt into my mouth. R said I was embarrassing him as I made us lap back to this magical place multiple times (he is just lucky I was being civil enough to actually use the little spoons and not just squirt it directly into my mouth/all over my body). Whatever. Oh, they also had a bowl of chili-lime corn nuts. I am a sucker for corn nuts. And by the third lap I had the stroke of genius to start squirting the BBQ sauce on the corn nuts. It was truly magical. I want to go to there now.

But I digress. I didn’t feel like doing the standard BBQ tofu (but I will admit, while I am typing this and am woefully out of the BBQ eggplant… I plan on supplementing the leftovers with some BBQ tofu), so I was thinking that the meaty texture of eggplant would hold up nicely to some thick and tasty BBQ sauce. Also, the one thing that had popped out to me from my Millennium cookbook was this peach-lime chutney, which I thought would pair nicely with the BBQ sauce and replace the standard salsa. And instead of a traditional slaw, I topped these bad larries with a super simple fennel slaw.

These tacos were, for lack of a better phrase, stupid good. I will be honest, while I may not make the chutney again, it worked here. But I can’t wait to make the BBQ eggplant again and build some more fun entrees around it!

BBQ Eggplant Tacos

Adapted from The Chubby Vegetarian and The Millennium Cookbook
 
Materials:
  • Tortillas of choice (I like La Tortilla Factory)
  • 2 eggplants (I used 1 and it was just enough for me)
  • olive oil
  • your favorite BBQ sauce
For the Peach-Lime Chutney
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lime, with peel, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced ginger
  • 1 jalapeño, de-seeded and finely diced
  • 2 peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
For the Fennel Slaw
  • 1 head fennel, shaved on mandoline
  • 2 tablespoons vegan mayo
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt
  • pepper
Methods:
To make the BBQ eggplant
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise.
  3. Generously oil a rimmed baking sheet and place eggplants cut side down in olive oil.
  4. Roast in oven for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Remove skin from eggplant and squeeze out the excess moisture.
  7. Lightly tear apart the flesh and then smother it with BBQ sauce, massaging in the BBQ sauce so every bit of eggplant is covered.
    • Lick your hands clean.
  8. Place back in oven for 20 additional minutes.
To make the Peach-Lime Chutney

  1. Bring water to a boil in a small sauce pan.
  2. Add the lime and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the lime and set aside (you may want to give it some more chopping action at this time).
  4. Heat up the vinegar and sugar in a medium skillet until the sugar has dissolved and it takes on a bit of a syrupy consistency.
  5. Add the ginger and jalapeño and sauté until fragrant.
  6. Add the peaches, pepper, and lime.
  7. Saute for additional ~7 minutes.
  8. Transfer to bowl and allow to cool.

To make the fennel slaw

  1. Toss the fennel with the remaining ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble

  1. Warm up your tortillas either in a skillet or quickly in the microwave.
  2. Spoon in the BBQ eggplant and top with the chutney and slaw.
  3. Enjoy!

 

Elote Salad

I will admit, my obsession with corn is getting a little out of control. But what can I say, corn is delicious! A fresh ear of sweet corn in the summer? Doesn’t get any better. Bianca and Gus also really love corn. Like, REALLY love it. So they are happy with this recent obsession.

I’ve had elote on the brain lately, and have been dreaming of making a vegan version of it. I have had this elote recipe flagged for a while now and was building my arsenal to bang this out for dinner one night. The night that I decided to make it, I popped the corn in the oven to roast when I said to myself, “hmm, how can I make this into a main dish?” When alas, I decided to turn this into an elote salad! I had some lettuce and spinach in my garden that I had yet to harvest and some squash left from our last CSA… all of that together with extra of the crumbled tofu topping and we have ourselves a well-balanced winner of a summer dinner. I should note that my meat eating roommate was passing through the kitchen as I was making this… and I told him the tofu was cheese, so he sprinkled some on his sandwich and proclaimed how delicious this “cheese” was.

The dish had a bit of a sweetness to it from the corn, some crazy flavor action from the garlicy squash, a bit of spice from the overkill amount of hot sauce I accidentally poured in, but luckily cooled down by the tofu… and all of this was over some super crispy and fresh lettuce and baby spinach from my garden. Each of these components alone were delicious, but when you put them all together… we are talking something out of this world.

Elote Salad
Materials:
  • 2 ears corn (still in husks)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup cashew cream
  • 1/4 cup nayonnaise (vegan mayo)
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium size summer squash, sliced into rounds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • lettuce of choice
  • hot sauce
Methods:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place ears of corn in the husks in the oven for 30 minutes.
  3. While the corn is roasting:
    1. Combine the tofu, salt, vinegar, lime juice, and nutritional yeast and set aside.
    2. Heat up a swirl of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the garlic and summer squash for about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the corn from the oven, let cool, remove the kernels from the cob, and sprinkle with juice from 1 lime.
  5. Toss the corn with the cashew cream and nayonnaise.
  6. To assemble the salad: lay down the greens, top with the zucchini, then the corn, then the tofu, and finally top off with a dash of your favorite hot sauce.
  7. Enjoy!

 

Nopales, ya’ll

This was going to happen eventually. One of my absolute favorite things about living in the Bay Area is all the wonderful produce, and something I have been eyeing for a while is nopales (cactus). I have enjoyed it in a few burritos in Berkeley, and my tastebuds fancied it so. When I came across these tacos, I immediately knew the fate of the nopale cactus that was soon to make it’s way into my belly (by way of some panko breadcrumbs, the oven, and avocado cream).

Now I’m sure many of you are reading this saying, “but what does cactus taste like, and why would I want to put it on a taco?” Good question. I’m not 100% sure how to describe it, but it is a little bit sour, it has a nice snap to it when you bite it, and has notes of green bean and zucchini and okra? And why wouldn’t you want to put it on a taco? Tacos are delicious! These tacos, specifically, are particularly delicious. I love these La Tortilla Factory homestyle corn tortillas, then the cactus is super crunchy, and then it snaps, and then it is smooth on the inside, plus the cooling avocado cream and the crunchy cabbage. These are a huge winner, and I am craving them hardcore while typing this up. Unfortunately, the leftovers are in my fridge, and I am not currently home. Fortunately, the leftovers are waiting for me at home :-).
I used one cactus paddle in this recipe, and have one more in the fridge that I am excited to play with. Perhaps it will adorn some sort of salad, or make it’s way into a breakfast taquito, or perhaps I will stuff it?! Either way, i’m pumped.
Nopales Tacos
Adapted from Munchin With Munchkin
Materials:
  • 1 nopale cactus paddle
  • 6 tablespoons cashew cream
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons cashew cream
  • 2 tablespoons nayonaise
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • Red cabbage, sliced
  • Corn tortillas
Methods:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Clean the thorns off of the cactus and slice into roughly 1/2 inch by 4 inch strips.
  3. Set up a breading station in 3 shallow bowls:
    1. Cashew cream
    2. Flour, with a few shakes of salt and pepper
    3. Panko bread crumbs with cumin and cayenne
  4. Bring the cactus through the breading station in the following order: cashew cream, flour, cashew cream, and finally bread crumbs.
  5. Once breaded, transfer to oiled baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  6. While the nopales are baking, prepare the avocado cream by placing the avocado, cashew cream, nayonaise, lime juice, and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth and then add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Assemble the tacos with the cactus, cabbage, and drizzle with the avocado cream (I threw on some tomatoes as an after thought too).
  8. Enjoy!

Obligatory Cinco de Mayo post

Seriously though, who doesn’t love Cinco de Mayo at least a little bit? An excuse to eat Mexican food and drink Margs? Deal. In fact, in college, my roommates and I were so fond of Cinco de Mayo, that we also celebrated Doce de Mayo, so we had an excuse to do it all over again the following weekend (a decision I think some of us were regretting the following morning).

I haven’t quite decided how I am going to spend it this year, but I know it started with these tacos. And that it is going to continue with burritos and street beers (Tecate, of course) for lunch tomorrow, per the request of a dear Mexican friend of mine. And these tacos were so good, that it might end with them as well. And since they are filled with only good things, I can eat them to my hearts content!

And then complain about how full I am… :-/

Filled with nutrients, that is! As luck would have it (well there is nothing lucky about it, nature knows exactly what its doing), sweet potatoes are actually the bomb diggity. One of the bomb diggityest, I would dare to say. Let’s work through it. First you see the sweet potato, and how orange it is… that right there is a good sign (the more colorful your vegetable, the better). Underneath that pleasing orange hue resides a great store of vitamin A, which helps your body regulate an innumerable list of important processes (a lab in my department has studied this extensively). Everyone knows how good vitamin A is for your eyes, but it is so much more than that! It literally helps your brain function. Mice that have a vitamin A deficiency are, to use a scientific term, dumb. They have trouble learning, orienting themselves, etc. Oh, and they are overweight too. Now, once your body takes up all the vitamins and cofactors, it is left with fiber, that then goes into the gastrointestinal track to act as fertilizer for your gut micro biome, the forgotten organ that you want to keep happy… but more on that another day.

So put down those french fries, and give the sweet potato a try! Preferably delivered to your mouth in these delicious tacos topped with a fresh mexican succotash (do people even eat succotash anymore?!) 🙂

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

 
Sweet Potato Tacos
Materials:
For the tacos
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
For the succotash
  • 1 cup lima beans, cooked
  • kernels from 1 ear corn
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • juice from 1 lemon (or lime)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoon fresh mint, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Methods:
  1. Heat up some olive oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the taco seasoning and cook for additional minute.
  4. Add the sweet potato and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in the black beans and cook for additional 5 minutes, until the sweet potato is fully cooked.
  6. In the meantime, toss together all the ingredients for the succotash.
  7. To assemble: briefly heat tortilla either in microwave for 30 seconds or in dry skillet, top with sweet potato and beans, and spoon on succotash.
  8. Enjoy!
    • May a suggest with a side of margarita?