Original Recipe: Spicy Marinated Tempeh Tacos

Tacos are one of my favorite foods ever. Well, to be clear, Mexican food is my favorite cuisine, and tacos are way up there on the list. Unfortunately, Mexican food has a reputation for being one of the unhealthiest out there. Fear not! I’m here to change all of that. As my followers know, I love making over foods with a healthy twist, and usually with a vegan spin. Behold — the tempeh taco! Feel free to experiment with different toppings and seasonings. You can even set your dinner up buffet-style and let people build their own taco creations. Endless possibilities!

If you’re not familiar with tempeh, it is a sort of cake made of compressed soybeans. It is gluten-free, cholesterol-free, packed with protein , and has basically no flavor on its own. This makes it incredibly versatile for everything from tacos to vegetarian chili to veggie burgers. The package looks something like this:

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Spicy Marinated Tempeh Tacos

Serves 3 (or two if you’re really hungry!)

Prep time: 10 minutes                Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package tempeh
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 6 small corn tortillas (soft or crunchy; I prefer them soft) or 4 soft taco-size flour tortillas

Toppings

  • Shredded Napa cabbage
  • Guacamole or chopped avocado
  • Sauteed mushrooms, peppers, and/or onions
  • Taco sauce
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro
  • Vegan shredded cheese, such as Daiya
  • Cashew cheese (see my mac n’ cheese recipe for how to make this)

Directions: Cut the tempeh in half lengthwise, then cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Place in a shallow bowl and add the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, and sriracha. Set aside and let it do its thing for a few minutes.

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Heat 1 Tbsp of good olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. While oil is heating, chop cabbage and other desired toppings. When pan is hot, add tempeh in a single layer, stirring every  minute or so. Cook about 5 minutes until most of sauce is absorbed, like so:

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Quickly toast the tortillas in the toaster oven until warm but firm enough to hold your toppings. Add whatever you like and chow down!

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My style: cabbage, sauteed mushrooms and onions, cheddar-style Daiya, and cilantro. I also used flour tortillas because that’s what I had in the house at the time. This is okay 😉 

Perfect winter dinner: salsa verde soup!

I’ve been making this soup for months and haven’t ever posted it, and I’m not really sure why. It’s delicious, one of the easiest recipes I know, and it’s incredibly convenient as it’s made in the slow cooker. When I get home, it’s ready, and no one has to wait, which is good because everyone’s usually starving by then! I usually serve it with something simple like mini vegan quesadillas or corn muffins. (Last night I made my jalapeno corn muffins — yum!)  This is a good one to please the non-vegans in your house, too. My husband’s exact words: “I was skeptical about this, but it’s actually really good!” Future note to self: find more vegan-friendly slow cooker recipes. Meanwhile, here’s this one:

Salsa Verde Soup

Serves 3-4 people

Dump the following into the crock pot:

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups beans (white or pinto work best)
  • 1 cup sweet corn
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup salsa verde*
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt
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Because I forgot to take one this time, this is a screenshot from Instagram, when I first made it over a year ago!

Set slow cooker on low and cook for 7-8 hours. Turn down to warm, then add 2 cups of coarsely chopped spinach or kale. (You can do this in the beginning, but I found that the greens turned an ugly brown and kind of disintegrated, so I prefer to add it at the end.)

*Salsa verde – you can make this yourself by roasting and pureeing tomatillos, which isn’t difficult, but more time-consuming and unnecessary since you can find it at any grocery store. I did this once, but didn’t notice a difference in flavor. You can find it in the Mexican food aisle, and it looks something like this:

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I actually found this one at Big Lots 🙂

Serve with a squirt of lime, chopped avocado, and cilantro. For non-vegans, you can add some shredded cheddar cheese, but I really don’t think it needs it.

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The avocado provides a nice, creamy element and really compliments that little zing from the lime juice. 

Just for kicks, here’s that jalapeno corn bread recipe:

  • 1 7-oz package of corn bread mix
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax mixed in 3 Tbsp water (this replaces the egg)
  • 1 small jalapeno, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray and place in oven to warm up. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Remove muffin pan from the oven and spoon cornbread evenly into 6 wells. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

I would tell you to take the leftovers for lunch the next day, buuuuuut there won’t be any left 😉

 

Spinach enchiladas with spicy corn – original recipe

This is one of my favorite recipes to make, and since I made it tonight, I decided I needed to post it already! Mexican food was always a vice of mine, so I’ve had to find ways to eat it often without facing serious weight gain. Quesadillas, enchiladas, and even taco salads can be loaded with fat and calories, thanks to the cheese and/or fried tortillas. The solution: make it myself and veganize it! These are very easy to make, and go well with a variety of sides.

They got a little messy this time around, but I assure you they tasted amazing!

They got a little messy this time around, but I assure you they tasted amazing!

Makes 8 enchiladas

For the enchiladas:

1 small onion, chopped
2 lbs baby spinach
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp nutmeg
8 corn tortillas
1 can red enchilada sauce
1/2 cup Daiya, any flavor (or other dairy-free cheese)
1/4 cup cashew cheese, optional* (see below)

For the corn:
2 cups frozen or fresh sweet corn
1 tsp vegan butter or olive oil
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Pinch of sea salt

*1 hour before beginning preparation, boil raw cashews in water for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and let soak as long as possible until needed. May also soak overnight in the fridge in an airtight container.
To make cashew cheese: Combine soaked and drained cashews in a food processor with 1/4 cup water, 1 Tbsp dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, and a pinch of sea salt. Process until smooth. Set aside.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400. Saute onions and garlic with a small amount of olive oil. When translucent, add cumin and chili powder and stir to coat. Slowly add in spinach, cooking until wilted. Drain off any remaining water and keep warm. Spray a large skillet and a 9×12 baking dish with non-stick spray. Lightly fry tortillas on both sides until slightly crispy. Pour enchilada sauce into a bowl and stir in nutmeg. One at a time, dip tortillas in enchilada sauce and place in the baking dish. Place some of the spinach mixture in the center and top with Daiya and cashew cheese. Roll up, and repeat this process until all are done. Spoon any remaining enchilada sauce on top, and sprinkle some more Daiya for good measure. Pop ’em in the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbling, about 15-20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, melt vegan butter over medium in a small saucepan. Stir in cumin, then add corn and cayenne and stir to coat. Heat 5 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Serve meal with sliced avocado.
Other great side dishes include pinto or black beans, Mexican-style brown rice, or diced potatoes.

A more attractive attempt, when I made served with pinto beans with tomatoes and Mexican-style brown rice.

A previous, more attractive attempt, served with pinto beans with tomatoes and Mexican-style brown rice.