Tag Archives: Cashews

Native Foods Yo Amigo taco salad copycat

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Springtime is just a great time for those of us that hate pants. Seriously, who came up with the idea to wear straightjackets on our legs?! It’s torture. Unfortunately, for about 8 months out of the year the city of Chicago tries to make me a more flexible person by essentially requiring I wear pants everywhere. This makes me crabby. Kind of like when a social situation calls for drinking beer (I’m not a fan). Worst thing ever: drinking a beer in pants. Kill me now.

Luckily, it’s getting warmer here in Chicago, which means I wear skirts exclusively, AND during lunch I can walk the 3/4 mile to my favorite lunch place, Native Foods. I almost always get the Yo Amigo Taco Salad, which is amazing. If the worst thing ever is drinking a beer in jeans, then this salad is drinking a margarita in a skirt.

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Yo Amigo Taco Salad Copycat, serves 2

Salad:
-1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-2 cloves garlic
-1/2 cup cashews
-1 T taco seasoning
-1 T olive oil
-1 head romaine, roughly chopped
-1/2 c salsa (I love Pioneer Woman salsa!)
-1 avocado
-1 scallion, chopped
-1/2 cup corn tortilla chips, crushed

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Chipotle dressing:
-3/4 cup vegan mayo (I used Nasoya since they sent me some to try!)
-3 chipotle chilis in adobe sauce
-2 cloves garlic
-1/4 c loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
-1/2 t salt
-1/4 t pepper

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First the dressing: Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

For the salad, first we need to make the taco “meat”. Add your chickpeas, cashews, taco seasoning, and garlic cloves to a food processor and process about 15-20 seconds. Drizzle oil through the top spout to keep everything moving.

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It will look like this when you are done.

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Now add your chopped romaine to a salad bowl and top with half of the taco “meat”.
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Add about 1/4 cup of salsa.
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Slice about half of the avocado and add it on top, with a sprinkle of scallion.
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Top with your dressing and the crushed corn chips.
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If you don’t like this salad, you must be one of those “jeans and t-shirt” people. And we’ll just have to agree to disagree on both fronts.
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Blueberry Coconut Larabars

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The blueberry muffin Larabars are my favorite. Therefore, they can’t be found at any grocery store within a 5 mile radius. We saw some in LA last time we were there and I contemplated buying another suitcase to get them home. But then I bought a pair of shoes and a cake stand. So, I have priorities.

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So I set out to make my own Larabars. And I have to say, with a few tweaks to the ingredient list, they are not bad at all. I’m calling them Mollybars since they are just different enough from the original. Now, if I could just find dried blueberries on the cheap, I’d be all set… Better stick my favorite deal-finder Erica on the case.

Blueberry Larabars Mollybars, makes 10 bars

-2 cups raw cashews
-1 cup dried blueberries
-1 1/4 cup medjool dates
-1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
-zest of one lemon
-1 vanilla bean (pretty sure the extract won’t work in this case)
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Start removing the pit from your dates, zesting your lemon and taking the vanilla seeds out of your vanilla bean.
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Next add the cashews to a food processor and give them a whirl.
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You want a few chunks in there.
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Add the cashews to a bowl and put the blueberries into the food processor. Process for about 30 seconds. They won’t really do much, but I was telling myself they got softer. Who knows.
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Add the dates to the blueberries and proces for about 20-30 seconds, until a large ball forms.
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Add the date/blueberry mixture to the bowl with the cashews.
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Add the coconut, vanilla, and lemon zest. Mash with your hands for a while. Really use the old elbow grease.

At some point, you will be thinking that there are too many cashews and they are not going to mix in. Have patience little grasshopper; it will work. Tah-dah!
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Line a baking dish (I used 8×8) with parchment paper and press the mixture into the dish. Cut into bars or squares.
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Enjoy!
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Buffalo cauliflower bites with ranch (vegan and gluten-free!)

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It’s Super Bowl time, folks! Why do I feel the need to root for the Ravens because that guy from the Blind Side is on the team? I didn’t even really like that movie. Chances you’ll find me crying like Ray Lewis if they win: 100%.

Aside from the fact that I’m a complete sucker, I don’t care who wins. It’s all about the food. Before we get started, here’s a tip: Don’t make this recipe while wearing a white sweatshirt. Trust.

Vegan and gluten-free buffalo cauliflower bites, serves 6-8 as an appetizer. Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

-1 head cauliflower
-1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened coconut milk)
-1/2 cup brown rice flour
-1 T garlic powder
-1/2 t salt
-1 1/2 T Earth Balance butter
-1 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
-celery for serving
-ranch dressing for serving (see my vegan recipe below)

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Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Chop up your cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.

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Combine the milk, flour, salt, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir until combined.

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Coat each piece of cauliflower in the milk/flour mixture and shake off the excess. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.

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Cook for about 20-25 minutes. You want to make sure the cauliflower is cooked through but not burned. Mine were perfectly toasty after 22 minutes. While the cauliflower is cooking, melt the butter.

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Mix the melted butter and the hot sauce.

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Let the cauliflower cool for about 2-3 minutes.
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Toss with the butter/hot sauce mixture and serve!
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Vegan Ranch Dressing, makes about 2.5 cups. Adapted from Nutiva.

-1 cup water
-juice from one lemon
-3/4 cup hemp seeds
-1 cup raw cashews
-2 cloves garlic
-2 t Herbamare or salt
-1/2 t pepper
-1/4 cup olive oil
-Fresh herbs: I used 1 T parsley, 4 leaves basil, and about 3 fresh chives. I think just about any variation of these will work.

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Add all ingredients to the blender or food processor and blend on high for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Add herbs and pulse to combine. Note this makes a pretty thick recipe – better for dipping. If you want to use this as a salad dressing, I recommend thinning it out with a little water.

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Wilted kale, avocado, tomato, and cashew late summer salad

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Yesterday I picked up a copy of The Onion and almost shot coffee out of my nose when I saw this article:

Ruby eats every meal like she’s a close second in a pie-eating contest. A re-occurring joke in our house involves Ruby sitting in a circle at a Weight Watchers meeting, admitting “I was eating food so fast, I couldn’t even taste it!”

The look she’s giving me right now says she’d like to tell all of you how she’s seen me eat food.

On another note, the Air and Water show scared the sh*t out of Ruby on Friday. Like, literally. Not fun.

Enough crazy dog lady stuff.  Speaking of stuffing faces, I can’t stop making the Vegan Creamy Cilantro dressing I posted a few weeks ago. This is the latest salad pairing for my new fave dressing.

Wilted kale, avocado, tomato, and cashew late summer salad, serves 2
-about 6 cups mixed baby kales (baby kales are key – this just won’t be the same with regular kale – too tough)
-1 cup cherry tomatoes
-1/2 avocado
-1/4 cup raw cashews
-2 T hemp seeds (any seeds will work – sunflower would also be good)
-Dressing of choice (I made Vegan Creamy Cilantro)

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Start with your baby kales. I got mine from Costco, but I’ve seen them in a lot of stores.

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Get a big bowl, grab a handful and twist them to wilt. Like this:

Then grab another handful, and keep going until kale is soft. Top each salad with 1/4 avocado, 1/2 cup tomatoes, 1/8 cup cashews, and a tablespoon of hemp seeds.

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Add dressing and enjoy:

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Curried sweet potato and quinoa wraps

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First things first: A very big birthday shout out to my bestie! True to form, it’s a gazillion degrees out today. In the 25+ years we have been friends, I’m not sure we have a picture from her birthday where my hair isn’t freaking the hell out and my eye makeup isn’t rolling down my cheeks. Que sera, sera.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like every year starting on January 1st the temperature increases a tiny bit each day, reaching a dramatic crescendo on July 7th, when every restaurant/bar’s air conditioning breaks. If I wasn’t so grateful for her friendship, I’d probably hate this day. Love you, Jo!

Curried Sweet Potato & Quinoa Wraps, serves about 4, inspired by Healthy Happy Life
-2 sweet potatoes
-1 T oil (I used coconut, but any oil will work)
-1 c quinoa
-2 t curry powder
-1/2 c frozen peas
-1/2 c raw cashews
-2 T maple syrup
-1 T rice vinegar
-1 avocado
wraps (I’ve used both spinach and plain wraps with success)
salt & pepper to taste

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Measure out your cup of frozen peas and leave them on the counter to thaw.

Cut your sweet potato into cubes. Toss with the oil and spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.
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While the sweet potatoes are baking, add your quinoa to a saucepan and top with 2 cups water. Stir in the curry powder. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the quinoa is cooked (you can tell it is cooked when it’s little tail pops out). Usually takes about 15 minutes.

When the quinoa is done, stir in the peas, cashews, maple syrup, rice vinegar and salt & pepper.
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Now assemble your wraps! First up, add a layer of sweet potato cubes:
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Now add the quinoa mixture:
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Top with avocado:
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Ready to eat!
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