January 29, 2015 By This Vegan Girl
The idea for these tacos came in bits and pieces. I guess it started a few weeks ago when my soon-to-be brother-in-law was telling me how mushrooms are the umami, or savory part, of vegan dishes. He’s right! Mushrooms have volume, can easily absorb flavors, and ooze juices when cooked just right.
Fast forward to that special time of month when my stomach becomes a dumping ground from all the crap I stuff my face with. Okay, I’m exaggerating a tad, but the cravings were a bit out of control this month. I was obsessed with this Dairy-Free Dorito Popcorn recipe from Whole New Mom.
I thought about that perfect spice blend nonstop that week. Then, it came to me: “This would be a delicious taco seasoning.” That thought, plus the thought of the savoriness of mushrooms, led me conceive this dreamy meal. The “meat” here is full of flavor and has a great consistency!
Don’t get me wrong; I looove black bean tacos. However, it’s difficult to incorporate taco seasoning in black beans. They’re just not the absorbent type.
Try this recipe and you will not be disappointed. In fact, you might be obsessed like I am.
Mushroom-Walnut Tacos with Queso
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10-20 minutes
Yield: 8 tacos
For the Mushroom-Walnut Meat:
- 2 large portobello mushrooms
- 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed (but not minced)
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- a dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
For the Queso:
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, milled in the blender or food processor
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 1/8 cup grape seed oil
- Taco shells/tortillas (I used mini corn tortillas to keep it gluten-free)
- red onion
Step 1: Prepare the toppings.
I’m trying to get more organized in the kitchen by chopping the little stuff first.
I got an EXTREMELY rare, beautiful picture of my cockatiel Fleegle here. I was taking pictures of my chopped fruits and veggies, and Fleegle flew over to see what was going on. As soon as I snapped this picture, he flew away, leaving me with a lovely picture of his wingspan! I’ve never seen the details of his underwing, and it’s so beautiful!
Step 2: Blend/mix/cook the meat.
I like to start with the spices. Since nutritional yeast is made with flakes, I like to put all the spices in the blender together at once. That way, all the spices are evenly distributed and fused together.
After that, throw the mushrooms in the food processor until the mushrooms are in tiny pieces.
Are your walnuts crushed yet? If so, do that now. Make sure your walnuts are decent chunks. I lightly crushed mine with the handle of my cutting knife.
Mix the spices, mushrooms, and walnuts together in a bowl. There’s your meat!
Throw the meat on a skillet set at medium heat. Stir/flip the meat every minute or so for about 10-12 minutes. You’ll start to see the meat become more crumbly; this is jackpot, people.
Step 3: Blend your queso.
The queso can be made in 5 minutes while the taco meat is cooking (as long as you keep stirring the meat every minute or so).
Start by placing only the cashews in the blender/food processor. Blend until the cashews are in tiny bits or like cashew meal.
After that, toss or pour the rest of the cashew cheese ingredients in the blender/food processor and blend until all ingredients turn into liquid gold.
Step 4: Prepare your taco shells.
If you’re using corn tortillas like I did, you’re going to need to fry them on the pan on medium heat. I used a tiny bit of coconut oil for every tortilla I used. The tortillas fried for about 2 minutes on each side.
For those of you that are baking your tortillas in the oven, follow the packaged directions to do that.
For those of you eating soft flour tortillas, you may happily be on your merry way to Step #5… asshole. What? I didn’t say anything. Okay, I’m just super jealous, alright? Sorry.
Step 5: Assemble your tacos.
Oh yay! This is the fun part! Will you put on the leafy greens first, or the meat? Who cares? It’s up to you!
If you like what you see, you might want to do the following:
- Follow me on Instagram @thisvegangirl. I post my day-to-day meals there. If you try one of my recipes, I love when you post a picture and tag me!
- Like me on Facebook for quick updates on new recipes.
- Follow my board on Pinterest to see what’s pinspiring me.
- Comment below!
June 24, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
Who out there can’t live without their food processor? Mine is perpetually in the dishwasher, being that I use it on the daily. Now that I’ve had one, I don’t think I could happily go on without one.
I regularly make hummus, broth, dressings, and drizzles with it. I’ve dabbled with ice cream-making and pie crusts with it, too. Surprisingly enough, this was the first time I’ve made pasta sauce with it, and I feel like I’ve found a key to a door that should’ve been opened a long time ago.
Pasta dishes seem so boring and cliche. Not to mention that the pictures are pretty unstimulating, as well. (Who has the energy to put the oregano leaves on top, and surround the final photo with the raw ingredients used? Hmm… real photographers, I guess. Complaining like a true amateur.) But trust me when I say that despite the dullness these photos may exude, this pasta sauce is easy to make and easy to fall in love with.
Spicy Red Pepper Pasta Sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings
- a heaping cup of tomatoes
- a heaping cup of red bell pepper
- 1/2 lemon, squeezed
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbs fresh oregano, minced
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Other ingredients seen in pictures:
- gluten-free quinoa spaghetti
- 1 1/2 cups baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup baby eggplants, sliced
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
STEP 1: Mince the garlic and oregano.
I use my NutriBullet’s mincing blade to make these two as small as possible. I find that if I throw the garlic and herbs full-sized along with the other ingredients in the food processor, it doesn’t get the ingredients as small as I want it to be. The smaller it is, the more flavor throughout.
By the way, I would like to congratulate my oregano on its first appearance! It’s doing well in the herb garden.
STEP 2: Throw in all ingredients in the food processor.
Make sure it’s a strong food processor, as you want the sauce to be smooth. If not thoroughly mixed, this will not produce the “chunky” sauce you want.
Set aside when smooth.
STEP 3: Chop up other ingredients you wish to feature in your pasta.
I found these adorable baby eggplants at Nelson Family Farms in Fort Pierce, FL! There a bit longer than my palm. I’ve never seen these before! This variety of eggplant is easy to chop, perfect for bite-sized disks, and absorbs flavors like a dream.
I also chose to throw in onion and mushrooms. It was a medley of perfection.
STEP 4: Cook pasta and chopped veggies.
I used two tablespoons of coconut oil to cook the veggies with. It takes about 10 or so minutes to accomplish.
STEP 6: Simmer sauce and strain pasta.
Once the veggies are cooked down, set the stove to a low setting and pour in the spicy red pepper sauce. Mix and let it sit for a few minutes.
Dish out the pasta noodles, pour the sauce on top, and enjoy!