I’m slowly but surely making my way back into school (and soon work), so that means easy-peasy meals are the go-to choice. Rules of easy-peasy meals?
1. No shopping for specific ingredients, must make do with what is already in the kitchen. (I usually live by this rule, helps me be creative!)
2. There should be as few steps as possible: Chop, saute, plate!
3. Utilize already-cooked items (such as rice from last night’s dinner or beans I simmered on Sunday)
4. If something has to cook for a while, it should not have to be watched or stirred or pampered. Stick it in the oven and let it do its thang.
5. Prep time should be less than ten minutes and cook time less than an hour… aka “I’m hungry now, where’s my fooood???”
To be honest, these are rules I generally always follow for my own sanity in the kitchen. Yes, of course sometimes I get that cooking bug and spend an entire evening or afternoon in that little space, but for the most part I’m not the world’s most involved cook. I’m utilitarian and I’m busy busy busy.
So today I want to share a delicious, but definitely easy-peasy meal idea. It’s not radical, but this version of a taco salad makes use of one particular component that was new to me. I had seen in the past that Averie of Love Veggies and Yoga had a nut “meat” that she used in tacos. I’ve never had the chance to try it, so I figured that this taco salad would be a perfect opportunity. I urge you to check it out with your next taco or taco salad.
|Spicy Vegetarian Taco Salad
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Bring some easy components together to make a perfect, filling meal after a tiring day.
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- olive oil, enough to bring the ingredients together in the food processor
- Rest of Filling
- 1 onion
- black pepper
- chili powder
- 2 cups lettuce, chopped
- 1 cup cooked beans
- First, put your uncooked rice in your rice cooker, add water and spices and set to “on.”
- For Averie’s “meat,” add all ingredients to your food processor or blender and blend until you get a thick, “meaty” mixture that somewhat (but not too closely) resembles the kind of ground beef taco meat you might make in for a traditional taco salad. Don’t over-process, you still want it to be chunky.
- Dice your onion and 3/4 of it to a pan with a drizzle of oil and a dash of salt, black pepper, and chili powder. You can also add your beans at this point so that they can get some flavor.
- You want to keep the heat on medium and cover until the onions become glassy.
- Finally layer your chopped lettuce in a bowl, add the bean/onion mix, the taco “meat,” and the rice.
- Add some uncooked pieces of diced onion on top, and decorate with tortilla chips (which you can also pan fry yourself!)
So if you’ll notice, I made pretty good on my promise to follow the 5 rules of easy-peasy meals. (Yeah, the prep time is a bit longer than 10 minutes, but it’s an estimate! Maybe your chopping is faster than mine.) In Averie’s original recipe the meat called for both almonds and walnuts. However, I only had walnuts, so I adapted the recipe to my kitchen. Also, I didn’t have sundried tomatoes. I stuck some in my dehydrator, then realized that I didn’t want to wait that long, so I just added them to my “meat” as they were and worked with a new, wetter texture than was initially intended. I still think it tastes wonderful, but I left “sundried tomatoes” in the recipe above because I think it could be EVEN BETTER with them.
In short, the easy-peasy rules just illustrate the different ways that you can be an adaptive (and lazy) cook. And they work pretty well for me
Posted in CSA, Dinner
Tagged "Meat", Beans, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Lettuce, Onion, Rice, Taco, Taco Salad, Tomatoes, Turmeric, Walnuts
I am so excited to share this recipe with you, it is soooo good! When I saw my newest stash of CSA goodies, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to use everything, but I knew that I wanted to really take advantage of the mini watermelon and the heirloom tomatoes. They were so colorful and delicious looking, so I started thinking about salsas and salads. Then, through Foodgawker I found these two blog posts, one on Fresh From Eva’s Kitchen and the other on Citron et Vanille. Each one has a recipe for a watermelon-tomato gazpacho. It was kind of the direction I was going in, but even better!
I’m a huge soup lover, though usually during the winter months. I love the way the flavors mingle together and create an easy-to-eat warming meal. I love creamy soups and water-based soups, I love soups that are pureed and ones that have big chunks of food. I love ‘em all, any way they’re simply divine.
Gazpacho, is a wonderful summer treat. It has the benefits of all of those intermingled flavors, yet it cools you off in the heat! Perfect! I loved the idea of mixing tomato and watermelon and taking advantage of all of the juiciness both fruits have. I also thought that the sweetness in the watermelon would balance well against the acidity in the tomato.
Then, however, I remembered all of the peppers that came in the box. I decided to roast some peppers and add those into the gazpacho as well to add some depth to the soup.
In the end, the recipe turned out easy and delicious. I topped the soup with a little bit of goat cheese and then slurped it all up. It’s definitely a rich, sweet gazpacho, so I would suggest pairing it with some bread. Enjoy!
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 30 mins
A rich, sweet gazpacho- the perfect way to cool off on a warm afternoon.
- 1 large tomato
- 1 medium tomato (I used an heirloom and a plum tomato)
- 1 mini watermelon (or 1/2 medium watermelon)
- 2 Flamingo Peppers (or bell peppers? I don’t know the difference)
- Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds, then place them skin-up on a baking sheet and roast them until their skins turn black.
- In the meantime, you can de-skin the tomatoes (or leave them with their skins on) and cut them into chunks..
- Also, cut out chunks of watermelon, remove the seeds, and add them to the tomatoes in a bowl.
- At this point you can add about a tablespoon of olive oil and pepper, salt, and dill to taste. Let all of the flavors sit.
- When the peppers’ skins have turned black, remove them from an oven and place them in a sealed plastic bag to build up steam.
- When the peppers have cooled to the touch, remove the skins and cut into chunks. Add to the tomatoes and watermelon.
- Either with an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the majority of the soup. Leave about 1/4 of the total amount chunky so that your soup will have some texture.
- When you serve the gazpacho, sprinkle the top of the bowl or cup with goat cheese.
Posted in CSA, Dinner, Lunch, Recipe, Soup
Tagged Baby Watermelon, Bell Pepper, Flamingo Peppers, Gazpacho, Heirloom Tomatoes, Plum Tomatoes, Soup, Tomatoes, Watermelon
Ah here we are again on a lovely Thursday, ready to check out the THURSDAY STASH. I got back to Oakland after a great vacation just in time to pick up my latest CSA box.
I was so extremely excited when I opened the box and unwrapped these goodies. It might be the most colorful box I’ve gotten this year, what with the rich purple, shades of red and orange, and stripey greens. A vegetable rainbow!
How these all fit into my fridge I will never know… I got a little bit creative with my organizing. We’ve got: 3 white onions, 2 baby watermelons, a basket of Santa Rosa plums, a basket of cherry tomatoes, 3 full size heirloom tomatoes, 4 flamingo peppers, and 3 Armenian cucumbers. Whew.
And I’m so excited to share what I did with some of those tomatoes, peppers, and a baby watermelon tonight… Soon enough, soon enough.
Anybody have some good ideas for using up those Armenian Cucumbers?? I’ve never seen this kind of cucumber before, although I’m assuming it tastes much like the ones I’m used to? They are very long, not very stiff, and (as you can see) have ridges that create dark and light green stripes. I’m excited to do something with them.
Posted in CSA
Tagged Armenian Cucumber, Baby Watermelon, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumber, Flamingo Peppers, Green Bell Pepper, Heirloom Tomatoes, Onion, Plums, Santa Rosa Plums, Tomatoes, Watermelon
I realized that I briefly mentioned a salad in the last Thursday Stash, but then never followed up about it! For shame!
It may be three weeks late, but this recipe is definitely worth it. You probably don’t remember, but I described this salad as “heartstopping,” and I was not exaggerating. But the thing is, it definitely isn’t an intense recipe. Instead, this salad relies on the quality of its ingredients. I used my corn, basil, and tomatoes straight from the CSA box. They were basically just out of the ground.
That’s something I struggle with sometimes, actually. Because I only get the CSA box every two weeks, I worry sometimes about evenly balancing everything. I don’t want to cook everything up the first few days (although realistically, that’s never going to happen), but I also don’t want everything sitting around aging for the next two weeks. If I was more organized I would make some meal plans… but let’s be real, that’s probably not going to happen.
So I’m really glad that this time I busted a move with the corn, basil, and tomatoes. They deserved to be devoured immediately and they really made this salad into something special. So here she is:
|Corn, Lentil, and Tomato Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Prep time: 3 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 13 mins
A simple salad that relies on the freshness of basic, yet flavorful ingredients.
- 1 corn cob
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
- handful of fresh basil
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 2 tsp barbecue sauce
- olive oil
- black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Cut the corn off the cob, and slice the tomatoes down their middles.
- Lay the corn and tomatoes in a pan or on a baking sheet and then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Place the corn and tomatoes in the oven for about ten minutes.
- In the meantime, mix your lentils with the barbecue sauce (lentils can either be hot or cold).
- In a bowl, add the basil and lentils together.
- After ten minutes mix the corn and tomatoes along with the basil and lentil mixture and serve.
If you don’t have pre-cooked lentils, you can either add the time to cook some up or just leave them out of the recipe- personally I think they add an important nutty flavor though.
There’s something about that combination of sweetness and acidity (and even smokiness) that makes this recipe extremely gobble-up-able. So get yourself some fresh vegetables (CSA box? Farmer’s Market? Straight from the farm? The down-low on your local grocery store?) and try it
Posted in CSA, Dinner, Lunch, Recipe, Ten-Minute Meal
Tagged Barbecue Sauce, Basil, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Lentils, Olive Oil, Salad, Thyme, Tomatoes