Frito Tacos with Daiya Cheddar Sauce

Friday I stopped at Harvest Health on my way home from work and bought all kinds of fun stuff! Including a couple different kinds of Daiya cheese since I hadn’t had any since Cheesefare Week. Some of you may remember the amazing Frito Burrito I got from the Vegan Yacht in Austin last summer. Well, I had a little snack size bag of Fritos and I HAD to make Frito tacos. And guess what? They’re vegan & gluten free!

2015-4-20 Vegan Frito Tacos
First we need cheddar sauce, something you can whip up in minutes melting 1/2 C Daiya shreds in 1/4 – 1/2 C of heated plain unsweetened almond milk (and perhaps a little salt and pepper).

2015-4-20 Vegan Frito Tacos2
I also cooked up canned jackfruit in Magic Vegan Bacon Grease and seasoned it like you would taco meat, and mixed canned refried beans with Frank’s Redhot Sauce and Just Mayo. Heat a couple soft corn tortillas.

2015-4-20 Vegan Frito Tacos3
I used two shells for one taco. The outer shell just has refried beans and cheddar sauce spread on one side. I spread refried beans on the inner shell, sprinkled it with fresh onion, added the jackfruit and a bunch more cheddar sauce…

2015-4-20 Vegan Frito Tacos4
And the feature attraction: FRITOS. Fold it over. You have Fritos Tacos, and you are very lucky.
Now don’t worry if you forgot to buy taco shells. I have a plan for you, too.

2015-4-20 Vegan Frito Tacos5
After cooking the jackfruit, mix it right into the cheddar sauce. Put it in a bowl, add refried beans, onions, and Fritos. Eat it. That’s it!

The Fritos add a great texture, similar to using a regular old hard taco shell but with the added bonus of way more salt. They’re also thicker than a taco shell, and bit airier. And soft tacos are way easier to eat! And putting it in a bowl = easiest.

For the Cheddar Sauce
1/4 – 1/2 C plain unsweetened almond milk
1/2 C Daiya Cheddar Shreds
optional: salt & pepper to taste

Heat 1/4 C almond milk in a small saucepan until it is hot, but NOT boiling. Add Daiya shreds and stir until melted, add a little more milk as necessary to make a sauce with Cheez Whiz-like consistency. If desired, add salt and pepper to taste.

For the Jackfruit Filling
1 20oz can young/green jackfruit, in brine
1 Tbsp Magic Vegan Bacon Grease (or plain coconut oil, but you’ll miss out on the smoky flavor and soy bacony bits!)
To taste:
salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin,
or whatever other spices you like for taco meat

Drain jackfruit, squeeze out brine, and shred as you would pulled pork. Heat Magic Vegan Bacon Grease (or plain coconut oil) over medium heat. Add jackfruit to pan, stir to coat in oil. Season to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another five minutes or so to give spices a chance to cook in.

For the Beans
1/2 C prepared refried beans
1 Tbsp Just Mayo
Frank’s Redhot Sauce, to taste

Heat beans. Stir in mayo and hot sauce.

Other Fillings
Fritos

Optional:
Finely chopped onion, chives, bell pepper, tomato
Shredded lettuce

Assemble in soft taco shells (corn tortillas to keep them gluten free) prepared according to package, or skip the tortillas and simply layer in individual serving bowls. Serves 2 to 3.

Roasted Veggie & Mushroom Tacos

Okay, I’m finally getting back into cooking, I’ve been doing pretty well the last few days. I’m on a tight budget, but I figured $1.33 for a huge pack of corn tortillas wouldn’t break the bank. Everything else I had at home already. So…let’s make tacos! Preheat the oven to 425. You will also want to have some sort of bean dip on hand. I humbly recommend:

Bean Dip #3
Bean Dip #2
Tahini Bean Dip

Or any bean dip of your choosing. I always just throw something together.

IMG_5243.JPG
Slice three medium potatoes not quite all the way through, chop a couple carrots and as much onion as you want. Put everything in a baking dish and drizzle with oil of your choice – make sure there’s enough oil so you’ll be able to baste the veggies. Season with sea salt, black pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove foil and baste veggies with oil. Then place uncovered baking dish back in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until veggies begin to brown.

IMG_5251.JPG
Everything should be nice and tender. Meanwhile…

IMG_5248.JPG
Heat some oil in a pan, and cook onion, bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, and fresh garlic. I simply seasoned mine with salt & pepper. Stir occasionally until veggies are soft.

IMG_5252.JPG
I like to scooch the veggies over to one side of the pan and cook my tortillas in the oil, a minute or two on each side.

IMG_5253.JPG
While the tortillas are heating, add a squeeze or two or three of lime juice to the veggies. 1/2 to 1 whole lime should do it.

IMG_5255.JPG
Now, spread some bean dip on the tortillas, and arrange veggies on one half. I added a bit of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce to one, and Just Mayo brand Srircha mayo to another.

IMG_5258.JPG
Fold like so.

IMG_5259.JPG
I had four wonderful tacos and still had lots of the roasted veggies leftover because I used more of the sauteed veggies and mushrooms than I did potato & carrots. If the veggies are distributed evenly, you should be able to get 8 tacos (although the potatoes are great leftover!!!).

I don’t know why, but tacos are so satisfying…what are your favorite taco fillings?

Lenten taco dinner

Last Tuesday was Lenten Taco Night with friends. I posted the cashew cream earlier, I also made my tahini nacho cheez sauce and, of course, walnut taco “meat” filling.

20140329 taco meat
I’ve made this before. This time I just used 1 1/4 C walnuts, soaked overnight and drained, with a couple cloves of garlic and seasoned with smoked paprika, chili powder, salt & pepper.

20140329 taco meat2
Ground in the food processor until it becomes crumbly and meaty in consistency. You may need to add a tablespoon or so of water to get it just right.

20140329 taco dinner
We fried the tortilla shells in oil because everything is better with fat. Other toppings were guacamole, veggies, refried beans, and cactus.

20140329 taco dinner3
Who doesn’t love a good taco? These can be gluten free if you use corn tortillas, and oil free if you don’t fry them. AND they’re raw aside from the shells. I guess you could use a big lettuce leaf or Swiss chard or kale instead if that’s your thing.

20140329 taco dinner4
One of my hosts also cut a couple tortillas and fried them into chips. Pretty awesome.

What are your favorite vegan taco toppings?

fresh salsa bean dip tacos

20131203 veggie tacos

Just a quick one here, this is another meal I threw together when I was going through my taco phase a week or two ago. I had some refried beans to use up, so…

20131203 veggie tacos
I made a fresh salsa with finely diced tomato, onion, green pepper, lemon juice, dill, and salt.

20131203 veggie tacos2
Add it to the beans (you may season the beans as you please with Mexican-ish spices)…

20131203 veggie tacos3
stir it up…

20131203 veggie tacos4
taco it. I used soft corn tortillas warmed in a hot, dry skillet. I heated the beans just until warm so the veggies in the salsa wouldn’t cook, but you can cook them if you’d like.

Unless you’re using beans with oil, this is oil-free and perfect for a strict fasting day. On on non-strict fasting day, you can add olive oil to the salsa for a little extra somethin’.

other stuff I put in tacos

20131111 tacos2

As I said this morning, I’m trying to use up a package of 30 corn tortillas. I ate a lot of tacos over the weekend. For example…

20131111 tacos
Qrunch burger, vegan sausage, veggies (tomato, onion, chopped garlic, romaine) & tahini cheez sauce.

20131111 tacos3
A Qrunchy, gluten free taco.

20131111 tacos4
A soft, chewy, gluten-ful taco.

20131111 tacos5
This time I left out the tahini sauce, piled sauteed onion & bell pepper on a vegan sausage, and added a fair amount of ketchup. These were all very good. Sometimes I heat the tortillas in oil until they’re crispy, sometimes I heat them briefly, with or without oil, just until they’re soft. I like it both ways.

What’s your favorite thing to put in a taco?

bombay tacos

2013112 bombay tacos9

2013112 bombay tacos
I needed to use up the microwave Indian meal I got from my Foodie PenPal back in September. I’m not really into microwaving my food, so things got a little more complicated than 1 Step 1 Minute. I decided to make tacos because I have a huge package of corn tortillas and, well, I just want to use them up.

2013112 bombay tacos2
I put the contents of the package in a pan and let it cook slowly over low medium heat. I wanted the sauce to cook down and dry out so the tacos wouldn’t be too messy, and also to bring out the spices in the mix. Meanwhile,

2013112 bombay tacos3
I made a garlic mayo sauce with 1 Tbsp Vegenaise, 1 Tbsp tahini, 1 minced clove of garlic, salt, pepper & cumin to taste. Stir it up and add water a little at a time to thin it down.

2013112 bombay tacos4
It turned an unglamorous grayish color, so

2013112 bombay tacos5
I added turmeric. You may do likewise.

I sauteed onions & bell pepper in oil, sprinkled with a little salt, until they were soft. You can use whatever toppings you like. Then I put them aside and used the same little skillet to heat my tortilla,

2013112 bombay tacos6
and started building my taco,

2013112 bombay tacos7
like this. You can see the sauce isn’t really sauce anymore.

2013112 bombay tacos8
But we have another prettier, thicker sauce.

The packaged mix was good, but adding freshly cooked veggies makes a huge difference. It needs a boost after sitting in that plastic bag for however long! And adding a fattening garlic sauce makes everything better. I don’t like the idea of buying packaged Indian food like this, but it’ll do in a pinch. I’ll probably just keep this recipe in the back of my mind until the next time I make too much curry and need to use up leftovers.

breaking the spending freeze at Marie’s

20131027 Marie's tacos5

Sorry for all the restaurant posts instead of recipes, but I guess if you’re trying to eat vegan near Grand Rapids or Chicago, you’ll have a few ideas. But I do have some recipes coming soon!
Z is home for a couple weeks with the girls, and I thought that was a good enough reason to break my spending freeze. We got lunch at Marie’s.

20131027 Marie's tacos
Since we got our meals to-go, it meant we had to face the deli once again. These glistening cake stands are actually filled with giant cookies! And some were vegan. I caved and added a cookie to my order, and Z added a muffin to hers.

20131027 Marie's tacos2
I wanted to add a couple cupcakes,

20131027 Marie's tacos3
or maybe a fancy vegan (and gluten free) mac ‘n cheese concoction. But I refrained. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy!

20131027 Marie's tacos4
So I ended up with the lunch special + one huge cookie. Would you like to see last Friday’s lunch special?

20131027 Marie's tacos6
Roasted pumpkin & black bean tacos with cabbage & apple slaw, and cranberry salsa on corn tortillas. And of course the infamous garlic mayo. I wasn’t sure if all the flavors would work together, and truth be told, I’m still not sure how I felt about the raw apples. But…I ate all three tacos. And I have no regrets.

20131027 Marie's tacos7
Chili-roasted tomato & quinoa soup,

20131027 Marie's tacos8
it was extra thick with big chunks of tomato and onion, and fresh cilantro throughout. It had a nice kick to it.

20131027 Marie's tacos9
And then there was that cookie. I chose classic peanut butter.

20131027 Marie's tacos10
In case you can’t tell how big it was, it large enough to hold two packs of Orbit gum, with a little room to spare. I should’ve cut it into four servings, but instead I kind of ate the whole entire thing all at once. It felt good.

chocolate coconut oatmeal, tacos & junk food

I can’t remember the last time I got the flu, but…I have it now. Well, I had it this weekend without really realizing it, and now I think (hope) it’s on its way out. I know you’re supposed to “starve a fever, feed a cold,” but I get hungry. And I like to eat. So I’ve been eating.

2013212 oatmeal9
At first I ate whatever I felt like. I told myself, “It doesn’t count. I’m sick.” So I ate lots of nachos. At least I sprinkled them with lots of nutritional yeast…

But today I was home from work most of the day, and I decided maybe I should actually take care of myself. I decided to experiment with oatmeal again since I didn’t have my beloved GreenMax. Btw, it’s oil free, perfect for a strict fasting day.

2013212 oatmeal
So, you can just cook your oatmeal according to the instructions. I started mine by heating a cup of flax milk.

flax milk
In case you haven’t seen it, this is flax milk. 50 calories a serving, 2.5g of fat, and lots of vitamins and minerals. Plus, of course, Omega 3 (and 6 & 9). You can tell a lot of hippies frequent the health food store I bought it from because…the container smelled like patchouli.

2013212 oatmeal2
Anyway. I tossed in some chocolate chips and let them get all melty. And I added a bit of kosher salt.

2013212 oatmeal3
Keep stirring…

2013212 oatmeal4
I ground 1/2 C of oatmeal (figured I’d change up the texture)…

2013212 oatmeal6
more stirring. You’ll probably get some lumps.

2013212 oatmeal7
Then I added 2 Tbsps of unsweetened coconut. I also added more chocolate chips, but if you don’t want it too sweet, you could always just use cocoa powder and sweeten it as much or as little as you like.

2013212 oatmeal8
I love chocolate and coconut for breakfast!

2013212 sick
For lunch, I flipped through an old book while toasting some corn tortillas…

2013212 sick2
and cooked up some beans with onion, garlic, carrots, tomatoes and TONS of spices. For tacos.

2013212 sick3
Really awesome tacos.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to break the rules (as long as you can keep your food down).

Vegan Super Bowl Sunday aka Puppy Bowl!!!! (also: Day of Eating)

I’ll be real honest with you. I’m not a huge football fan, and I don’t get excited about the Super Bowl or even the supposedly awesome commercials. Or the halftime show. I would rather watch the Puppy Bowl and Kitty Halftime Show on Animal Planet. But one thing I like about Super Bowl Sunday is…the food. Super Bowl Sunday is the 2nd biggest eating day in the US, second only to Thanksgiving. Seriously! And I did my part.

Let’s go through each item…

201323 cashew
Soaking some cashews overnight for a cashew “cheese” spread.

201323 cashew3
After draining them, I put them in the food processor with fresh lemon juice, a few tablespoons of leftover liquid from fermented sauerkraut, and salt.

201323 cashew4
Get it nice and smooth, adding more lemon juice and water as necessary. You can see the rest of the instructions here.
Next…

201323 beans
I cooked up some peruano beans (nevermind the photo bombing lime).

201323 beans2
I did a quick soak (thanks, BFF), bringing them to a boil and then removing them from the heat, covered, and letting them sit for an hour. Then I simmered them for about 2 hours.

201323 beans3
When the beans were nice and soft, I drained them…

201323 beans4
and added them to a pan where I had onions & garlic sauteing in olive oil.

201323 beans5
Added a little salt, then mashed about half the beans…

201323 beans6
added a little water…

201323 beans7
stirred and cooked the water down until it had a nice “sauce” to it.

201323 beans8
Then added some orange bell pepper, paprika and pepper.
Next:

201323 buffolo
Buffalo tofu. I started by freezing this water packed tofu, then thawing it in the fridge (it does take a long time to thaw in the fridge, give it a couple days). Drain the tofu.

201323 buffolo2
Freezing water packed tofu changes the texture and gives it a spongy, somewhat meaty texture instead of the usual mushiness. You can kind of see in the picture here, the edges are no longer shiny and smooth.

201323 buffolo3
Press as much water out of the tofu as possible. I do it by pressing each piece between two small plates over the sink. It’s okay if the tofu breaks a little, but try not to smash it flat.

201323 buffolo4
Another thing about the spongy texture, it actually soaks up liquids – and flavor – like a sponge. Of course I use a tahini sauce for mine. This is the basic sauce: tahini, lemon, salt, garlic & water. Then I added Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, and turmeric for color. Make it as hot as you like. I kept the sauce pretty thin.

201323 buffolo5
Pour the sauce over the tofu…

201323 buffolo6
enough to cover. I let mine marinate for a few hours, but even if you only have 15 minutes or so it should be okay.

201323 buffolo7
Pop it in the oven around 400. Keep an eye on it and turn it every so often to it can get crispy around the edges, and preferably a nice crust all around. This stuck to the pan like crazy, so you may want to use parchment paper. Either way, it’s going to be a bit of a mess.
And then…

201323 coconut
I found a wonderful recipe for coconut bacon on FettleVegan.com.

201323 coconut2
2 Tbsp liquid smoke, 1 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce (I used soy sauce), 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup, 1 Tbsp water. Pepper optional.

201323 coconut3
Add 3 1/2 C flaked coconut, and toss lightly with a wooden spoon to coat. I accidentally only used 3 cups, but I’m glad because the flavor turned out just right, in my opinion.

201323 coconut4
I also used my hands to mix it, the spoon is just for show. I love sticking my hands in food.
Spread the coconut on a non-stick baking sheet and bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes, turning with a spatula about every five minutes to keep it from burning. She says in the original recipe it will burn fast if you don’t watch it – she’s right!

201323 coconut5
The first bite I wasn’t sure if I liked it. The second bite, I thought, “Okay, it’s not so bad.” By the 10th or 12 time I caught myself picking in it, I realized…I really like this stuff. A lot.
And now:

201323 dip
Time to get into the hardcore faux stuff. The original recipe is my dad’s, and is not vegan at all. He calls it Mexican dip, but I don’t think it’s really Mexican. And…we all call it Mickey dip (he hates that!).
I usually use Tofutti cream cheese for this, but I decided to try Follow Your Heart. I got one of each in case the Follow Your Heart wasn’t as good. Guess what? It wasn’t.

201323 dip2
You can kind of see in this picture there is a difference in color and texture. The Follow Your Heart brand is on the left, much softer in texture and darker in color. It has the sort of slight graininess and “off” aftertaste that give vegan dairy subs a bad name. The Tofutti brand has the same thick texture as “real” cream cheese, is nice and smooth, and a lot closer to the real deal. I used most of the cream cheese from each container, but saved a little to have on toast or whatever later.

201323 dip3
Tofutti brand sour cream. I think the cashew cream could also be used here, but I didn’t have enough cashews for all that. Again, I used most of the container, except a couple spoonfuls for a snack.

201323 dip4
You can mix it by hand, but I used the hand mixer because I was in a hurry.

201323 dip5
Add salt, pepper and garlic, to taste. I use A LOT. You can play around with other spices, but everyone I serve this to is used to it this way, and I’m afraid to change it.

201323 dip6
Spoon the mixture into your serving dish and smooth it out. I like to use a glass dish so you can see the layers.

201323 dip8
My dad makes a hot sauce with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and tomato paste, but…I just use Frank’s. Use whatever hot sauce you want, and as much as you’d like.

201323 dip7
Finely chop onion, tomato and bell pepper. Again, pretty much as much as you want…

201323 dip9
Enough to cover.

201323 dip10
Vegan cheddar by Follow Your Heart. This is something the brand does get right.

201323 dip11
Shred enough cheese to cover the veggie layer.

201323 dip12
The Layers.
Next…

201323 kale
Kale. For kale chips.

201323 kale2
Tear the cleaned kale into pieces (not too small, they really shrink!), toss them in a very light drizzling of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, to taste.

201323 kale3
Spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 325, turning them about every 10 minutes, until they are nice and crispy.

Okay, we’re almost finished. Here’s what we’ve made so far:

201323 finished
Oooh, I forgot to mention, Z was kind enough to make the guacamole for us.

201323 finished2
Here is our dip…

201323 finished3
barely enough time to get a picture of it before we started to dig in.

201323 finished4
We had corn tortillas (hidden under the paper towel) for the guacamole, beans and walnut taco filling. Where was the walnut taco filling recipe??? Take a look at this post from Worldwide Vegan Taco Day 2012.

201323 finished5
Here’s my little guy.

201323 finished6
The buffalo tofu, a favorite.

201323 finished7
And beautiful, shiny green kale chips.

So, that was great. But the meal isn’t complete without a dessert, right?

201323 smoothie
I chopped and froze three bananas.

201323 smoothie2
This was my first time trying Amande Cultured Almondmilk.

201323 smoothie3
I liked it.

201323 smoothie4
I added about 3 Tbsps to the frozen bananas, along with a few Tbsps of plain unsweetened almond milk.
Why yes, that is a Blendtec. Isn’t it nice when friends let you use their fancy stuff???

201323 smoothie5
After I started blending it, I thought of one more thing I wanted to add. Carob syrup! Add to taste.

201323 smoothie6
You could also use a food processor for this, maybe it won’t be as fast or as awesome or as expensive, but it will do the trick. Just get everything nice and smooth.

201323 smoothie7
I divided the mixture between three glasses. Each glass got a nice thick layer of banana smoothie, topped with a spoonful of the savory cashew cream, and sprinkled with the coconut bacon. Then I drizzled a little extra carob syrup over it. I was nervous about the flavor combinations, but it worked!!

What is your favorite vegan Super Bowl snack?