Recipe: Plant-based Taco Tuesday 🌮

You definitely don’t need it to be a Tuesday to enjoy these tasty tacos, but “Sunday Tacos” doesn’t exactly have the desired alliteration. We like to call these the Anytime Tacos – the ‘t’ sound is still in there and it’s much more freeing – but social convention is a powerful thing. Regardless, have this crunchy, delicious, and nutrient-dense meal whenever you’d like. Remember the “Got Milk” slogan? Well, this calcium-rich meal actually does a body good. Enjoy!

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Prep time: 10-15 minutes, depending on number of condiments offered

Serves: 3-4 people

Ingredients

1 package of 12 hard taco shells (we used Siete grain-free ones)

1 head of lettuce, romaine or green leaf, chopped

1 can, 15oz of black beans and/or our cauliflower & walnut crumble recipe (if time allows)

1 tsp taco seasoning

2 tomatoes, diced

2 avocados, sliced

1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 jar of salsa to share

2 limes, sliced (optional)

Instructions

Rinse beans from a can and then put in a small pot over low heat. Add taco seasoning and stir; simmer for about 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees for the tacos. While waiting, prep lettuce, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes and limes. Follow directions on hard taco shell box for how long to heat them up in the oven (about 2-3 minutes). Plate tacos and allow each dinner guest or family member to decorate their own tacos with the condiments provided. Lime juice provides a nice splash of flavor and acidity to the meal. Your taste buds might just shout ¡olé!

Recipe: Avocado Egg Salad

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We’re celebrating National Egg Salad Week by sharing two delicious recipes – Avocado Egg Salad (made without mayonnaise!) AND an egg-less, vegan version with chickpeas. Pull those leftover, hard-boiled eggs from the fridge and let’s get started!

Avocado Egg Salad (vegan optional)
Serves 2-3
Prep time: 8 minutes

4 organic large eggs (substitute a 15oz can of drained chickpeas for eggs to make vegan)
1/2 avocado, pitted and chopped
1 tsp mustard
1/8 cup green onions, chopped
1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or lime juice (helps prevent browning of avocado)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dill weed
Pinch of paprika
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Mash avocado in a medium bowl then repeat mashing when you add the hard-boiled eggs (or chickpeas) to the bowl. Mix all other ingredients into the bowl, except paprika.

Egg salad is best served chilled. Stick mixture in the fridge for at least 1/2 hr before garnishing with paprika and enjoying on your favorite bread, on top of a bed of greens, or in a wrap.

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Recipe: Spicy Cowgirl Salsa

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Hot and spicy foods can kick winter’s coldness to the curb as well as help with weight loss endeavors and provide health benefits. In this Spicy Cowgirl Salsa, you will feel the heat of the jalapeño and enjoy the freshness of the avocado, lime, cilantro and other ingredients. Olé!

For other hot & spicy food demos, check out our WBNS 10tv news segment!

Ingredients

1 red onion, diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 jar or 16oz of salsa (unless you want to double the heat of the jalapeño, stick with mild)
1 tsp cumin
1 slice of lime, juiced
(Optional) Slices of avocado

Instructions

Combine all ingredients into a medium bowl and mix until combined. Feel free to top with slices of avocado and enjoy with some organic blue corn chips. For a tasty meal, consider topping brown rice with the salsa mix.

Simple Sushi: DIY California Roll

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The word ‘sushi’ was a bit scary for a number of years growing up. What kind of weird sea creature (or their eggs) would be placed on top of rice during this dining experience? Luckily, the years of becoming a adult (and traveling!) tend to provide us with friends from many cultures who expose us to formerly unfamiliar foods such as tahini, mochi, falafel, sashimi, kimchi, navrattan korma, Shepherd’s pie, Marmite, or Hanuta.

Fortunately, if you love sushi and don’t want to unload your wallet for a nice Japanese meal, we have a solution. Roll up your sleeves; it’s time to DIY some easy, fresh California rolls.

Ingredients

2 cups short-grain brown rice, uncooked
2 carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 cucumber, sliced lengthwise into strips
1 carton of mushrooms, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
2-3 nori sheets
1/2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari

Instructions

First, cook the rice according to the instructions on the package; it will take about 40 minutes until finished. In the meantime, wash all veggies and start slicing. Put mushrooms in a saucepan and cook on medium-low heat, adding soy or tamari and simmering for about 15 minutes.

Lay out your bamboo mat on a cutting board and put about a 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice in the middle, spreading out to the sides. In the middle, place a strip of carrot, cucumber, a few avocado slices and then add mushrooms as a layer. Using the bamboo mat, carefully fold over on end of nori wrap until it meets the other. Squeeze the roll, then remove it from the bamboo mat and slice into pieces. Use some chopsticks, pickled ginger, or wasabi (for those of you who are brave!) for a more authentic dining experience.

Recipe: Celebrity Couple! Choco-cado Cookies

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When celebrities get together, the press loves to dub them with a cute and catchy portmanteau; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s ‘Brangelina’ being one of the most well-known. Well they need to move over because chocolate and avocado or ‘Choco-cado’ have once again proven themselves a yummy pairing, deserving of the spotlight. We’ve already seen them come together for a delectable pudding and we’re starting to think these two are suited for a long-term, possibly exclusive, relationship.

Do you know what this means? In less than 15 minutes, this recipe makes it possible to fully enjoy some dark, rich cacao along with some creamy, (healthy) fatty avocado in a fudgy cookie form. It doesn’t even have flour!

“Incroyable!” say the French readers. “Ausgezeichnet!” say the Germans. And you? Well, you may have your mouth too full of cookies to exclaim anything. That’s okay, we can all envision the look of bliss crossing your face.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Prep time: < 5 minutes
Baking time: about 8-10 minutes
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dark cacao or cocoa powder (we used Nativas Naturals cacao powder)
  • 2/3 cup ripened avocado flesh, mashed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut sugar, depending on your desired sweetness
  • 2/3 of bar dark chocolate, cut into small chunks (we used a chocolate bar with 88% cocoa content)
  • 1 egg (or 1 tbsp ground flaxseed and 2.5 tbsp water mixed together as vegan egg-less option)
  • ½ tsp. baking soda

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°. With a hand mixer/food processor/vivacious Vitamix blend avocado and coconut sugar, then egg. Add cacao powder and baking soda to mix and then stir in dark chocolate chunks. Try not to salivate over the bowl. Use coconut oil to grease baking pan; dollop cookie dough mix on pan and flatten with spoon. Bake for 8-10 minutes and then cool them down; unlike most cookies, these taste better after 30 minutes or so in the fridge. Makes 10-12 cookies.

P.S. Not gonna lie, we made these babies into ice cream (dairy-free) sandwiches. More on that later 🙂

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Southwestern Skillet

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Smoothie. Oatmeal. Rinse & repeat. We know that breakfasts can get a bit repetitive and unimaginative so we’re going to shake it up with this inspired southwestern dish.

Whether you’re looking to fuel up for a busy day of hiking or for back-to-back meetings, this dish is a delicious & satisfying breakfast with great macronutrient content. Let the culinary adventure begin!

Servings: 2-4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Ingredients
2-3 medium sweet potatoes
1 can black beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp cumin
olive oil
sea salt & black pepper to taste

Instructions
Cut sweet potatoes in 1/4 inch pieces. Chop red pepper and rinse canned black beans. Drizzle olive oil in a large pan and heat sweet potatoes on medium for 3-5 minutes, then add black beans, red pepper, and cumin. Add water to cover bottom of pan and cover to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often.

We topped the skillet with a cooked egg and a few slices of avocado. Add fresh lime juice, hot sauce, or salsa for a unique meal that fits your needs.

Nori Veggie Wraps

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We are about to blow your minds: nori isn’t just for making sushi. In fact this seaweed can be used to make what is arguably one of the best wraps. Ever. Someone here loves this so much she ate it for lunch every single day last week and then again today. There is something about the blending of all these flavors and yet still being able to taste them separately that drives our taste buds wild. Hopefully it does the same for you.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4  (or two hungry people)

Ingredients
4 sheets of dried nori (typically found in the ethnic section of the grocery, or pick some up at your local Asian market)
4 big romaine or red leaf lettuce leaves
1.5 cups mung bean sprouts (we advise against canned; go for the fresh ones- we found some at Raisin Rack)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 radishes, sliced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/2 cucumber sliced
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup peanuts (optional)
Dressing:
2 Tbsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce, or use regular if you’re not gluten-sensitive)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tsp toasted sesame seed oil

Instructions

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Chop all your veggies. Put each leaf of lettuce on a place and place nori sheet on top before filling with all the vegetables listed. For your dressing, mix the tamari, apple cider vineger, and toasted sesame seed oil all together in a small container and then pour over each open-faced veggie pile. Keep as-is to eat or roll up into a wrap. Caution: it’s a bit messy (mainly because we were devouring it) so keep a napkin or paper towel handy.

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This is before we put even more veggies in!

Fight Free Radicals with a Rainbow Punch!

Antioxidants are phytochemicals, vitamins and other nutrients which protect our cells from free radical damage. Studies show antioxidants help prevent the oxidative damage that is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. So where are these superheroes found? Check out your local garden patch – most fruits, vegetables, and culinary & medicinal herbs can contain high levels of antioxidants.

A study in recent years found that botanical diversity plays a role in determining the bioactivity of antioxidant phytochemicals. Also, and this is exciting, smaller quantities of many different phytochemicals may have greater health effects than larger amounts of fewer phytochemicals. This is why we inspire people to ‘eat a rainbow’ (and we’re not talking about Skittles candy). Here’s how to form a rainbow of protection against free radical damage:

Red, Purple, and Blue

  • Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, apples, cherries, pomegranates, red grapes, beets, red cabbage, black rice
  • Contains anthocyanin, betacyanin, and proanthocyanidins
  • Functions: protect cells from aging, reduce cholesterol and may reduce breast cancer risk

Yellow-Orange

  • Carrots, squashes, lemons, apricots, cantaloupe, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, papaya, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, passion fruit, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and yellow & orange peppers
  • Contains beta-carotene and alpha carotene; often also cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin
  • Functions: protects against some cancers, supports immune system, healthy skin, and good vision

Green Fruits and Vegetables

  • Spinach, kale, avocado, broccoli, swisschard, brussel sprouts, as well as dandelion, mustard, and collard greens
  • Contains lutein, beta carotene, and chlorophyll
  • Functions: builds resistance to certain cancers, protects eyes from oxidative damage that could lead to diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts

Recipe: Tilapia with Avocado-Pineapple Salsa and Quinoa

photo source: kristineskitchenblog.com

photo source: kristineskitchenblog.com

Time: 20 min
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced (or use canned pineapple chunks)
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (for a bit of spice/heat!)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tilapia fillets (substitute halibut or most fish, if desired)
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach

Preheat broiler. In a medium bowl, combine avocado, pineapple, jalapeno pepper, onion, cilantro, lime juice with salt and pepper to taste.

Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or use coconut oil.  Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper and place on the baking sheet and broil until all areas are opaque, about 6-7 minutes. Fish will flake easily with a fork when ready – don’t over cook it!

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa until done (little ‘tail’ will emerge). Season with salt and/or butter, if desired. Add in baby spinach so it wilts. Serve fish with the salsa on top and add as side of the quinoa with spinach for a delicious & healthy dinner!