My roomies and I decided that we would do our best to try to eat a clean, raw and vegan diet for a few weeks. Of course, life happens and this week has proven no different and although there have been a few "cheats" they were still healthier than alternatives available. There are work schedule changes, lunch dates and homes that are filled with the air equivalent to the inside of a hot oven that sucks all energy out of you at the end of the day.
Last night, however, we tackled a new recipe and with a few personal touches the results were far beyond expectations. Inspiration for the dinner came via Pinterest and a recipe found on Eating Vibrantly. Since we have big appetites in this house we doubled the recipe and it worked out really well for four hearty portions plus two lunches! There were some tweaks so here is how we ended up making this delicious dinner:
Raw Taco Salad
Walnut Taco Meat
1.5 packed cups sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 2 hours (up to 8 hours) and drained
2 cups walnuts
1 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 tbsp olive oil
⅛-1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
¾ tsp each chili, cayenne and/or chipotle pepper (more or less how you like it)
Cashew Sour Cream
1 cup cashews, soaked 2 hours (up to 8 hours) and drained
¼ cup lemon juice
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup filtered water
⅔ cup ice
1 tsp smoky spice blend (we had a Caribbean flavour variety)
1 tsp garam masala spice blend
1-3 tsp Sambal Oelek chili paste or any kind of hot sauce on hand (more of less how you like it)
2-3 Ripe avocadoes, diced and scooped from shells
¼-1/2 red onion, chopped finely
1 lime, zested and juiced
1-2 small tomatoes, diced
½ sweet pepper (colour – your choice), diced
Salt & pepper to taste
1 jalapeno, finely diced (more or less how you like it)
Salad Assembly (1 serving)
1-2 cups mixed greens (whatever you like best)
½ to ¾ cup Walnut Taco Meat
¼ to ½ cup guacamole
1-3 tbsp Cashew Sour Cream
2-4 crumbled raw tomato chips (we pick up ours at the Healthy Delights Living Foods vendor from the Calgary Farmer’s Market)
In two separate bowls place sun-dried tomatoes and cashews in water and leave to soak for at least 2 hours (the more the better). Drain.
Combine all guacamole ingredients in a bowl, stir gently and thoroughly and let flavours blend by putting in fridge until ready to use for serving assembly.
Make the walnut taco meat by combining drained sun-dried tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse, scrape down the sides of processor bowl and continue processing until well combined, but still chunky.
Make the cashew sour cream by combining the drained cashews with all the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the spices in a blender until smooth and creamy. If you don’t have a high-powered blender (Vitamix or Blendtec) this process will take a few extra minutes of pulsing/blending and using a spatula to scrape down the sides and continue blending until it gets as smooth as your machine will make it. The cream will at first look really thin but not to worry it does thicken as it sits blends. Once blended to your preference, pour in to bowl and stir spices and chili paste.
Assemble salad ingredients on individual plates or in bowls. Eat and be amazed.
If any leftovers of the walnut taco meat or cashew sour cream survive the meal keep in the fridge for up to a week. Also, the cashew sour cream will really thicken in the fridge so if you will be using it for another recipe, remove from fridge at least 20-30 minutes prior to using so it can soften and be more workable.
And that's it! I highly recommend trying this out. Each component of the meal brings so much flavour and we were coming up with other ways to change them up for breakfast burritos, lunch wraps and all sorts of other ideas. I wouldn't want to eat this more than once a week since it's so nut laden but will certainly be keeping this in the rotation.
Leave me a comment below if you give this a go! I'd love to hear how you made this your own.