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|
- 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