mostly raw vegan taco salad

It was a hot day today. 32 degrees C to be exact. It’s going to be hotter by the end of the week. The last thing I wanted to do was to spend an hour over a hot stove cooking up a meal, especially because our air conditioner isn’t quite working yet – we can use it to cycle air but not cool it until Gary gets on the roof to check it all out.

So I decided on salad. But I needed something filling yet light. I remembered our visit to the Veggie Bar and being intrigued by the “raw taco” on the menu. So I got busy googling.

One of the things I love about cooking is taking ideas from a few different places and putting it all together into one delicious meal.

Following my google quest, I took this recipe and this recipe, combined them with this sour cream and then added a few tweaks of my own to get….

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Once the sour cream was added it didn’t look so bright and colourful.

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see my awesome food presentation/photography skillz?

If I was making a fully raw meal I would have used a cashew cream based sauce but that requires forward planning and soaking cashews from the morning so that wasn’t going to happen. Tofu sour cream is a great substitute and also a good protein boost for the meal that’s already packed full of nutrients.

I used the layered salad idea from the first recipe, combined with the nut mix of the second, and added my own veggie salsa type thing. I’ve made a warm (lightly cooked) corn and zucchini salsa before so I figured there was no reason I couldn’t make a raw one.

salsa
I combined 1 finely chopped zucchini with one can of corn, about half a capsicum (also finely chopped) and a handful of small tomatoes.

I also added some finely chopped red onion, juice of 1 lime, coriander and salt and pepper.

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all the pretty colours…

I let that sit while I got everything else together (including my chunky guacamole)

quick and chunky guacamole

2 avocados, roughly chopped and mixed with lime juice to taste (add a little, tast, add more if needed), and a handful of chopped coriander too. A twist or two each of salt and pepper and mash to desired chunkiness.

Assemble the salad in layers – greens (I used a lettuce mix), nut mix, grated carrot, salsa, guacamole and the sour cream.

Delicious, fresh, colourful, flavorful, and good for you.

Enjoy!

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My favourite vegan dish

I feel compelled to blog about this dish because I just ate it and I realised just how much I love it. If it weren’t for my ambition to eat a wide variety of foods I’m pretty sure I could eat this every day and not get sick of it. I’ve been cooking it pretty much once a week lately.

 

Its simple, cheap, filling and nutritious. Its versatile and holds up well to a night (or two) in the fridge, or freezes for a quick fix meal down the track

 

What is it?

 

lentil bolognaise

Basic lentil Bolognese is what it is!  

The recipe is very much a ‘bit of this, bit of that’ sort of recipe. If you end up with too much it freezes well for later on.

My base recipe uses:

2cans of chopped tomatoes (or a few fresh ones if I have them handy)

1 onion

A few cloves of fresh garlic

About a cup of red lentils

About 4 cups veggie stock (or vegan chicken stock)

A generous handful of fresh parsley

A little olive oil or whatever oil you prefer.

1-2grated carrots, depending on how small they are, or how much you like carrot.

Optional spices to add – cumin, some dried chilli – have both cayenne and Birdseye available so I usually chuck one of each in as the Birdseye we grew were super hot.

Optional extra veggies – this recipe can be ‘beefed up’ with some extra veggies. Given I usually use it as a sauce for veggies on the first night I don’t add them. But I have added the following veggies to great success in the past: broccoli, capsicum, zucchini (also grated), celery, etc. Be creative!

 

How to make:

Chop the onion, press or chop the garlic and lightly fry in a dash of oil till translucent. If youre using other spices – chilli, cumin, etc -you will need to throw that in with it. Once the onion, garlic and spices is ready, add the veggies and give it all a stir.

Throw in the tomatoes, and the lentils. Stir through some of the stock – I don’t measure so I’m guessing one cup of lentils to 4 cups of water. I usually throw in what I think is right and add water as it gets absorbed.

It takes about 20 minutes for the lentils to be cooked through. Keep stirring it now and then and once they are tender you can season with a little salt and pepper, then throw the fresh chopped parsley on and dish it up.

Options: this sauce is great on top of steamed veggies, mashed potato, baked potato (any sort of potatoes really), pasta (its perfect with wholemeal spaghetti for a filling post workout meal), and it makes great lasagne. It’s awesome on its own, and it can be a side dish to meals as needed.

 

Slow cooker soybeans, and more

I am the sort of person who prefers to cook from scratch as much as possible. I’ve never really used much of the dried bean selection from the shops because it seemed way too time consuming (even for me) to have beans ready to go.

But as I’m shying more and more away from processed food, its pretty clear that dried is healthier than canned – with all the salt and extra chemicals canned goods can have I’d rather go for the most natural product and add my own salt etc.

Eating plant based also requires us to branch out and eat a variety of protein sources. So I’ve been experimenting with a few beans lately. The other night I made a really delicious kind-of-Mexican soup, with a tomato base, black eyed beans and plenty of veggies and herbs.

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These beans don’t actually need to be soaked or cooked for a long time, and they were delicious.

As I said dried beans can be time consuming. An overnight (or full day) soak, then a long cook before even adding to your dish. So they require forward planning, including knowing what I want to cook in advance otherwise I end up using canned beans as a last minute decision on what to cook.

Last night I put some dried soybeans on to soak and this morning I threw them into the slow cooker.

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I’m hoping it can quietly simmer away with them all day so they are ready when I get home. I have planned to make a curry with lentils, soybeans and pumpkin, inspired by this recipe.
We have a pumpkin which is immature but was knocked off the vine by accident. I have no idea how, but it came off.

(Ok, I’ll confess. It was hanging on the fence and I poked it. It shifted a little, and I walked away. About 10minutes later we heard a thump and it had fallen)

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Gary and his pumpkin

Anyhow, I’m going to use some for curry and if its orange enough, some for soup. Otherwise I’ll maybe stirfry it for tomorrow nights dinner – we are having friends over for a meal so I want to think of an exciting vegan meal to share, since I’ve already made these friends my pumpkin sage risotto. Hmmm *ponders*…