Mushroom-Walnut Tacos with Queso

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January 29, 2015 By

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

Click here for a print-out version of this recipe!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10-20 minutes

Yield: 8 tacos

 

Ingredients

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

Additional Ingredients/Toppings:

  • Taco shells/tortillas (I used mini corn tortillas to keep it gluten-free)
  • tomatoes
  • red onion
  • spinach
  • avocado

 

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!

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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.

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After that, throw the mushrooms in the food processor until the mushrooms are in tiny pieces.

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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.

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Mix the spices, mushrooms, and walnuts together in a bowl. There’s your meat!

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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.

No, you're not looking at poop in a ramekin. It's deliciousness in a ramekin.

No, you’re not looking at poop in a ramekin. It’s deliciousness in a ramekin.

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.

 

Post milling

Post milling

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.

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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!

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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!

 

¡Olé!

thisvegangirllogo

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Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Bowl

Mine

October 13, 2014 By

I’ve made a smoothie bowl entry in the past, which was the Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl. Okay okay, I’ve made two, if you count the Peach Pie Quinoa Porridge, which essentially is a smoothie bowl with quinoa in it. I figured that those would be my only smoothie bowl entries, as how different can it all get?

How wrong I was. I started making smoothie bowls in the summertime, once teaching ended. It never occurred to me that my smoothie bowls would change with the seasons, but sure enough, fall came, and I found that my bowls looked drastically different. Instead of bowls full of berries and mangoes, I have bowls full of apples and pears.

Check out this side-by-side smoothie bowl comparison of summer vs. fall, taken from my Instagram account:
summer fall

I realized that now that it’s fall, I must start using pumpkin. I avoided it completely last year, and once I  finally started craving it, the “fad” passed, and it was onto winter fruits. I was overcome with pumpkin regret. I pride myself on not jumping onto bandwagons often, but dammit, I want to enjoy pumpkin. So here is the fall-inspired Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Bowl. Until winter, enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Bowl

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 smoothie bowls

 

Ingredients

For the Blender/Food Processor:

  • 3 bananas (frozen or fresh)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tbs almond butter
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp coriander

Toppings:

  • 1 apple, diced (I used a Red Delicious Apple)
  • walnuts
  • chia seeds (optional)

 

Step 1: Mix the blender/food processor ingredients.

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Heaping tablespoon.

Heaping tablespoon.

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Mix until the ingredients are completely liquified.

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I like to set my bowls in the freezer while I prepare the toppings. Hopefully, you have room in your freezer to do this. If not, perhaps the fridge?

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Step 2: Prepare the toppings.

Take this time to chop your apple and your walnuts. I like my walnuts to be cut into halves and thirds, as a full-sized walnut is a bit much.

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Step 3: Decorate!

Once you have prepared the toppings, take your bowls out of the freezer. You might need to take a spoon or a whisk and give the smoothie bowl a quick stir if you think your bowl is icy or stiff.

I like to decorate my bowl. Matt likes to, well, just throw his toppings on top with no plan of action whatsoever. Different creative styles, I guess.

Mine

Mine

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Matt’s (and Fleegle’s, apparently)

Oh, Fleegle! Stop! You know walnuts are bad for your little boy body!

Smoothie bowls are great for company. Most people have never had a smoothie bowl before, so it’s fun to introduce them to something awesome. Every time I’ve invited a guest to try one, they’ve been pleasantly surprised as to how delicious, healthy, and easy they are. Make them for your friends, relatives, and in-laws today!

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DSC_0112Oh, by the way, after my bowl gets dolled up for the picture, I always end up mixing my bowl together before eating. That’s what it really ends up looking like.

If you make this bowl, I’d love to see how it turned out. On Instagram, take a picture and tag me @thisvegangirl or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl. Add me while you’re there. For updates, add me on Facebook, too. Oh, and of course I’m on Pinterest.

 

Happy blending,

thisvegangirllogo

 

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Peach Pie Quinoa Porridge

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August 7, 2014 By

The word “porridge” makes me think of something I’d hate. Lumpy, tasteless nast. Perhaps a mix between grits (which I’ve never liked) and bland oatmeal, which sounds absolutely awful, doesn’t it?

I’m pleased to say that my quinoa porridge tastes nothing like that! It’s delightfully sweet, a hearty texture, and pleasantly filling.

So, what’s the difference between this and, say, the Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl? Not much, actually! If you want something more light, go with the smoothie bowl. If you want something more substantial and pie-tasting, then try the quinoa porridge.

Using vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in this recipe make you feel like you’re enjoying a decadent pie.  This is the perfect breakfast for someone who wants protein, has a sweet tooth, and wants something that won’t do damage on your figure.

 

Peach Pie Quinoa Porridge

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes (can be done during prep time)

Yield: 4 bowls (adjust measurements accordingly)

 

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 6 bananas, frozen or ripe
  • 4 peaches, pitted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • coconut milk or almond milk
  • 2-3 handfuls of dark leafy greens (optional)

Toppings:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 peaches, pitted and diced
  • hemp hearts
  • chia seeds
  • walnuts

 

Step 1: Start cooking the quinoa.

Start by gathering one cup of uncooked quinoa and two cups of water. Pour these items together in a pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

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I prefer cold porridge (like Mama Bear), so when my quinoa is done cooking, I’ll place my quinoa into the freezer for a few minutes to cool down. You might prefer hot porridge, in which case you would scoop your quinoa directly into your porridge bowl.

 

Step 2: Prepare the base.

In essence, the base is a smoothie. A mock-dessert smoothie, that is. Thankfully, only spices create the illusion that you’re indulging in a pie, so you don’t need to worry about added sugar.

First, add all the “base” contents EXCEPT COCONUT/ALMOND MILK into your blender or food processor. I personally use a NutriBullet for my smoothie needs. Add the milk last, filling it up until it almost reaches the top of the rest of the contents. You don’t want to add too little (too lumpy) or too much (too watery).

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Pre-blend

Post-blend

Post-blend

As I mentioned before, I like my porridge cold, so I’ll use frozen bananas and frozen dark leafy greens to make the base a little icy. If you’d prefer your porridge to be warm/hot, you might opt for non-refrigerated fruit and milk as your base.

The dark leafy greens are optional because they don’t do anything for the taste or texture. I throw in these greens to create the most nutritious breakfast I can. If that’s not your style, leave it out! The base will turn out a beautiful peach color instead of a deep green, which might look more appealing to the dubious guest.

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Once the base is ready, I place my porridge bowls in the freezer to keep cold until everything is ready. Otherwise, pour your base in bowls and set aside.

 

Step 3: Prepare toppings.

Cut up your peaches and gather all your nuts and things. I didn’t have walnuts this day, so I opted to use chopped almonds instead. Personally, the almonds failed in comparison, as they were a bit too crunchy next to the other contents in the bowl. It’s all about preference, though. Use whatever nuts/seeds you have on-hand. Don’t be stressed if you don’t have everything, as all the added nuts and seeds are optional.

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Step 4: Create your bowl and serve.

Each smoothie bowl should receive roughly 1/4 cup of quinoa, 1 sliced peach, 1 tbs hemp hearts, 2 tbs walnuts, and 1 tsp chia seeds.

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I like to decorate my bowl to make it look as pretty as possible. Ultimately, you end up mixing everything together to get the full “porridge” effect, so the beauty is a fleeting moment in time. That’s why I take pictures of all my decorated bowls on Instagram. 🙂

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Pretty and pristine.

Pretty and pristine.

All mixed up.

All mixed up.

By the way, the peach route isn’t the only way you can take this bowl. In fact, I’ve made this exact bowl with strawberries, blueberries, mango, pineapple, and raspberries. See what’s in-season and go for it! You can see my day-to-day bowls on my Instagram account. Follow me there and see what I’m eating for the day. Also, I’d love to get inspired by you. If you use one of my recipes, take a picture and use #thisvegangirl so I can see your creations!

Don’t forget to friend me on Facebook, follow me on Pinterest, too!

 

Happy blending,

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

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Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl

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July 14, 2014 By

I have been more active on the This Vegan Girl account on Instagram recently.

Being on IG, I had no problem finding people to follow. Gorgeous photos, vibrant colors, exotic fruit, and ideas made to inspire filled my feed.

There was one recipe that seemed to be appearing time and time again: the smoothie bowl. In Buddha bowls or mason jars, these bowls were fruity, colorful, and versatile. The term “nana ice cream” also became a new word in my vocabulary.

I decided to try it myself. Not only was it incredibly easy, but the results have been superb time and time again. It is a fabulous breakfast or snack that can fill you up with healthy, wholesome ingredients.

The main things you’ll need to make Nana Ice Cream, or the base of any smoothie bowl, must contain the following:

  • frozen banana
  • non-dairy milk (I use coconut milk, as it is thick and sweet)
  • a blender/food processor

I bought three bunches of bananas, sliced them, placed them in a plastic storage ziplock bag, and put the bag in the freezer. Do this the day or night before you intend to make your smoothie bowl. These bananas will definitely be gone in the next week or so.


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When you’re ready to make the smoothie bowl, place 2-3 handfuls of frozen banana in your food processor. Fill with milk near the top of the fruit, almost covering the top frozen banana (but not quite). Mix and serve. It’s that simple.

Of course, there are so many ways to get creative with it. Here is one of my favorite smoothie bowls to make.

 

Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Yield: as little, or as much, as you need

 

Ingredients

Base: (to go in the food processor)

  • frozen banana
  • frozen dark leafy greens
  • coconut milk
  • 2 tbs almond butter
  • a splash of vanilla
  • flax seed (optional)

Toppings:

  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • walnuts
  • hemp hearts
  • chia seed

 

STEP 1: Gather your base ingredients and place them in your food processor or blender. 

The day before, I cut up frozen banana and placed them in the freezer in a plastic ziplock storage bag.

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As far as the frozen dark leafy greens go, I make my own plastic ziplock storage bag containing a medley of my three favorites: kale, spinach, and swiss chard.

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My baby Fleegle loves to help in the kitchen! Here he is singing to the bag of frozen dark leafy greens.

When placing the items in the food processor, put in all ingredients except the coconut milk. You want to pour in the milk last in order to fill in gaps and see exactly how much you need. The milk should be filled near the top of the pile, but don’t have it cover the ingredients. You want enough milk so the contents will stir, but you don’t want so much that you’ll be left with watery soup. You’ll want it to be the consistency of frozen yogurt (or frozen yogurt juuuust as its starting to melt).

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STEP 2: Pour the base into a bowl.

I usually end up putting the bowl in the freezer as I prepare the toppings. This keeps the base cold, along with the bowl.

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Or, you guys could be professional chefs and have everything ready before you begin. Whatever, all you organized people out there. Again, I’m the epitome of amateur hour.

 

STEP 3: Prepare the toppings.

I have all my seeds and nuts in mason jars. I’ll set them out in a row, kind of like an assembly line.

In this case, I needed to cut the strawberries. I sliced up a handful.

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STEP 4: DECORATE!

This is the fun part!

Remove your smoothie bowl from the freezer. Stir it up before dressing it up, as the top and edges may be slightly solid from being in the freezer. After that, have fun!

Matt likes to just sprinkle and pile his toppings in no particular order or fashion. I, on the other hand, treat each bowl like a blank canvas. I try to make each bowl a different work of art.

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To check out all of my smoothie bowl art, go to my Instagram account. Don’t forget to add me while you’re there. I’m trying to update the blog once per week, but I upload something on IG almost every day.

 

 

Happy blending,

thisvegangirllogo

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Gluten-Free Coconut Curry Wrap

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August 25, 2013 By

I’m back after a two-week hiatus! It’s been a crazy time for me: BACK TO SCHOOL!

For teachers, back to school week can be a whirlwind of never-ending to do lists that never seem to get finished, questions without answers, and yawn-induced trainings/meetings.

It’s not all bad, though. It’s also an exciting time to get creative, get organized, and start anew!

 

Speaking of starting anew, I am in need of fresh, cutting-edge lunch ideas. Canned soup and PB&J’s should NOT be on my lunch menu everyday this school year. Being vegan means I mostly take leftovers from the night before, but sometimes, no leftovers are to be had. I need an easy lunch that is nutritious, will fill me up, and most importantly, can be made in a snap.

I decided to remake a restaurant favorite: Coconut Curry Wrap.

Matt, my gluten-free boyfriend, and I both indulged in this flavor-packed wrap! His wrap contained egg, so I enjoyed a spinach wrap. This wrap can be enjoyed hot or cold, which is perfect for a great lunch for work.

 

Coconut Curry Wrap

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Yield: 2 wraps

 

Ingredients:

  • wrap (Goodbye Gluten! wraps are a yummy GF option, however, not vegan)
  • about 10oz of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 handful of leafy greens
  • 1/2 cup Veganaise
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened coconut shreds
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

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STEP 1: Cut up your tofu into cubes.

I cooked my tofu cubes on a tabletop George Foreman grill. I sprayed the grill with olive oil and cooked the cubes for about 8 minutes, flipping the cubes occasionally.

Since my George Foreman acts like a giant panini press, it helped drain out some of the inner tofu juices while cooking. If you plan on pan-frying your tofu, I suggest lightly pressing your tofu with a paper towel before cooking in order to infuse it with olive oil instead.

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STEP 2: While your tofu snaps, crackles, and pops, combine your glorious creamy mixture of Veganaise, a garlic clove, coconut shreds, curry powder, agave nectar, and salt. When the tofu is finished grilling, add it to your Veganaise bowl and mix it all together. Set aside.

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STEP 3: Cut up your celery, walnuts, and dried cranberries.

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What a beautiful color combination.

 

STEP 4: Begin to build your tasty creation! Lay out your wrap and add your tofu, celery, walnuts, and cranberries, while topping it all of with your leafy greens. (I topped mine with kale, my personal favorite.)

Matt's GF wrap to the left, my spinach wrap to the right.

Matt’s GF wrap to the left, my spinach wrap to the right.

 

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Wrap it all up tightly and cut in half so you can enjoy the satisfying visual of the inner contents!

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Happy lunch-packing!

thisvegangirllogo

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Gluten-Free Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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August 1, 2013 By

Orlando has an, uh, unique farmer’s market scene. It seems that the produce stands at Orlando farmer’s markets sell products that aren’t even cultivated in Florida. Huh? Needless to say, I do not support these phony farmers.

Luckily, there was local farmer’s market in our Mississippi town that we were excited to visit. It wasn’t a large one, but there were several produce stands that would fulfill our daily/weekly nutritional needs, amongst other things.

We purchased blueberries from a woman whose teeth implied that she had been dabbling with methamphetamines for quite some time. We also purchased some delicious jams that I’m determined to duplicate when they run out. We also couldn’t resist buying a watermelon the size of both of our heads, along with a small box full of juicy peaches. Mmmmm!

There’s always a small wish I make to myself when I go to a place like this: “Pleeeeease let there be a vegan and/or gluten-free stand!” At the very end of the lot, sure enough, there was a small, discreet stand with an elementary sign that read Gluten-Free Cakes. It was so unnoticeable that Matt walked right by. I pulled him back and said, “What are you doing?! LOOK!”

Long story short, Matt tried a banana cake with cream cheese frosting that he HAD to buy after 1 bite. During his heavenly bite, his eyes rolled back, he started nodded his head, and then looked at me with urgency in his eyes. So now, there’s a massive $35 cake in our fridge. It was quite a splurge, but worth it; how often does this boy get to buy a delicious treat like this? J

Unfortunately, it contained eggs and cream cheese, so I didn’t partake. I was determined to make this cake myself, though, and to veganize it. Here was my best shot at it.

Oh, and it was a damn good shot.

 

Gluten-Free Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30-60 minutes

Yield: 72 mini cupcakes

 

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 teff flour
  • 1/4 millet flour
  • 1/4 potato starch
  • 1/4 tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • chopped walnuts, optional

 

Wet Ingredients:

  • 7 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup evaporated cane juice

 

Icing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Cinnamon Earth Balance
  • Powdered sugar

 

STEP 1: I used 7 ripe bananas for this recipe. The browner, the better. In fact, you want them NAST. I wish my bananas had been more ripe, but it takes too much patience! Peel them, place them in a bowl, and squish them between your fingers until it’s a liquid form.

After that, place the rest of the wet ingredients in the bowl and whisk it up.

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STEP 2: In a different bowl, combine and whisk your dry ingredients together. After that, slowly add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients bowl, continuing to mix until all of the ingredients are fully blended.

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STEP 3: I just bought an adorable mini heart-shaped silicone cupcake mold! Place these in the oven at 350°F for 15-17 minutes.

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I filled these up a little too high, just an FYI.

 

A good picture of my awesome cupcake mold!

A good picture of my awesome cupcake mold!

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STEP 4: While the cupcakes are baking, start whipping your icing. In Tallahassee, I found this AMAZING Sweet Cinnamon Earth Balance butter, perfect for baking! If this gem is not in your town, I’d use the original Earth Balance and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Mix the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl. Using a mixer, add a little bit of powdered sugar at a time until you have reached your desired taste.

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STEP 6: Wait until the cupcakes cool, frost those babies, top with a walnut, and enjoy!

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Happy baking!

thisvegangirllogo

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