Vegan Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos with Cashew Sour Cream and Pickled Red Onion

I’ve had a few different takes on the jackfruit taco.  When shredded, jackfruit takes on a meaty texture that is perfect for absorbing whatever flavours you want to add.  I’ve had a traditional dry jackfruit mix on a taco, and a pulled pork style version as well.  I’ve seen recipes for jerk seasoned jackfruit mix, too.  After finding some jackfruit at a grocery store, I decided it was time to try my own.  I don’t know what took me so long!Image

The main part of this recipe is the jackfruit mix, but I also made some cashew sour cream, homemade chickpea flour tortillas and pickled onions.  If you are in more of a rush, you could certainly take the jackfruit and put it into corn shells with premade toppings.

Ingredients:

Cashew Sour Cream

  • 1 c cashews
  • 1/4 c raw hulled sunflower seeds
  • juice of 1 lime (my lime wasn’t very juicy, so start at 1/2 and add more after tasting)
  • 1 t tamarind juice (could use agave or other sweetener)
  • 1/8th t of cumin
  • 2 t of apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • water (start with 1/2 cup and keep adding until desired consistency)

Jackfruit Carnitas

  • 2 cans of young jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed with seeds removed (don’t get the mature jackfruit in syrup!)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of half a lime
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 T tamarind juice (or other sweetener)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2-3 drops of liquid smoke

Directions

For the cashew cream, soak the cashews and sunflower seeds with enough water to cover them and let them soak for several hours, or over night.  If you are lazy like me, you can cover them with boiling water and let them sit while you make the jackfruit filling.

Heat a bit of oil in a large pan and add the onions.  Let the onions soften and then add the chili powder and cumin.  Next,add the chipotle pepper and garlic.  Add the lime juice, diced tomatoes, tamarind, salt and liquid smoke.  Let this cook on medium heat for about ten minutes.  Add the jackfruit and mash with a potato masher until it is shredded.  Let this heat through and then cover and cook on low heat for an hour, stirring occasionally.  I wanted my mixture to be a bit dryer, so I took the lid off of my pot and cooked it for an additional 15 minutes.

Once the jackfruit is close to being ready, you can make the cashew cream.  Use a blender to blend all of the ingredients, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times, until it is creamy and smooth.

For the pickled onions, I thinly sliced a red onion and put it in a bowl with apple cider vinegar, a bit of agave nectar and some salt.  I let it sit for an hour, although the longer the better for pickled onions.  There are lots of more specific recipes around on the internet.

For the tortillas, I made small chickpea flatbreads using this recipe as a nice replacement to corn tortillas.  I also added a bit of salsa.

I’m looking forward to my lunch leftovers tomorrow!

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The Lazy Woman’s Eggplant Parm

I love a good eggplant parmesan, but I don’t love the time it takes to make it and I don’t like the amount of oil involved in a traditional recipe.  I often make a version of this dish that is lighter in calories and time, and is gluten-free and vegan.

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To make this version, I first peel and slice an eggplant and precook the slices on a cookie sheet in a 450 degree oven until they are slightly browned and shrunken.  I also do the same with a zucchini.  Once these are done, I usually have enough for two layers of eggplant, with a layer of zucchini in between.  I put a layer of pasta sauce on the bottom, add a layer of eggplant, then add more sauce.  I then sprinkle some bread crumbs, homemade parmesan (recipe to follow), and optionally some vegan cheese, like Daiya.  I repeat the process until all of my slices are used up, and bake in a 450 degree oven.  To spruce up my store-bought pasta sauce, I add some fresh basil and oregano.

I love that this satisfies my cravings for a casserole or lasagna, without having any fried ingredients or pasta!

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Vegan parmesan recipe:

In a food processor combine 1/4 t of salt, 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, and 1 cup of almonds.  Pulse until finely crumbled.  I like to store this in the fridge or freezer.

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Potato, Potahto, Frittata, Frittahto

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I eat a lot of chickpeas. I also eat a lot of chickpea flour. It is naturally gluten-free, being made from chickpeas, and it is pretty versatile. Plus, it is cheap, which always wins with me. I actually made this awhile ago and am just getting around to posting about it now. This frittata is made primarily of chickpea flour, with a few seasonings, and you can add whatever veggies you happen to have on hand.

Before I get to the chickpea frittata recipe, I also have some exciting news! The newest issue of T.O.F.U. magazine recently came out, and I have two articles in this issue. One article is all about canning your own fruits and vegetables. The other is a recipe for gluten-free and vegan nanaimo bars. I am obviously biased, but to me, these taste amazing and very much like the sickeningly sweet bar I grew up with. You can download the newest issue here. Enjoy!

Now on to the Frittata.
Ingredients:
– 2.5 c of chickpea flour
– 3 c of water
– pepper, to taste
– 1/2 t salt
– 2 T olive oil
– 1 t fresh minced rosemary
– 3 T nutritional yeast
– 1 to 1 1/2 c of diced veggies (peppers, zucchini, onions, asparagus, etc.)
– 1 clove of garlic, minced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the chickpea flour, water, pepper, salt, oil, rosemary and nutritional yeast together. I like to use a whisk to make sure it is well combined. Let it sit while you heat up a frying pan. Slightly cook your vegetables and garlic until softened. Mix the vegetables into the chickpea mixture. Pour the mixture into a greased pie plate. Optional: slice a tomato and place on top. Bake in middle of oven for about 30 minutes, until set in middle. You could really bake this less or more, depending on how firm you prefer the frittata. I wouldn’t go less than 20 minutes so that you cook out the raw taste of the chickpea flour. I used a shallow 9 inch glass pie plate, and had a bit left over, so I just poured the rest into a ramekin. Let cool for a few minutes and then slice!

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Banana Blueberry Muffins

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Some of the easiest kinds of recipes to make gluten-free are those that contain plenty of bananas.  The bananas add sweetness, moisture and serve as a binder in the recipe.  I saw a recipe on My New Roots for a banana bread that was vegan and low in sweeteners, but it wasn’t gluten-free.  I decided to adapt the recipe by substituting some flours for the regular flour and also by adding a few extras.  I also keep forgetting to buy a bread pan, so I made them into muffins.

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Here is my version of the recipe.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup almond milk
6 T coconut oil, in liquid form
6 T maple syrup
1 T vanilla
2 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (my bananas were small, so I needed about 8!)
1 cup of gluten-free bisquit baking mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand, the regular all purpose blend should also work)
2/3 cup chickpea flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
1 t pumpkin pie spice blend (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, etc.)
1 t xantham gum
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
1/2 cup of sliced almonds (I think chopped walnuts or pecans would be better!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas. Add the oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Add the wet to the dry and mix until well combined. Then stir in the blueberries and almonds. Pile high in muffin cups. Bake for about 30 minutes. Recipe makes about 12 large muffins.

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Spring is in the Air! – Tatziki Dip

The weather has been amazing this weekend, and I can’t wait for summer!  My food preferences tend to change from less heavy, hot meals, to lighter, “fresher,” meals.  I had a craving for tatziki sauce, so I decided to make my own.  It is pretty easy to make it yourself, and the results are worth it.  It is great with veggies and rice, dolmades, as a salad dressing, or even falafel.

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Here is how I made mine:

Ingredients:

  • 1 454g tub of plain coconut yogurt (not the single serve size, the bigger one)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • about 2/3 rds of an english cucumber
  • 1 T of fresh dill (optional)
  • pepper and salt, to taste
  • half of a fresh squeezed lemon

Directions

Peel and seed the cucumber.  Roughly chop it until you have a cup.  Put in a colander and salt with a couple of generous pinches of salt.  Let it drain for about 20 minutes (This takes out the extra moisture in the cucumber, so the resulting dip is thicker).  Once the cucumber is ready, combine in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and process until desired consistency.  For some reason, my yogurt was super thick in the container, so my dip came out incredibly thick and I had to thin it out with a bit of water.  If you are using a regular non-dairy yogurt but you want a very thick dip, you could experiment with draining the yogurt in a fine colander lined with a couple of layers of cheesecloth over a bowl until it thickens.

I served my dip with a feta that I made out of extra firm tofu, crumbled and marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, lots of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  I also made a salad with the feta, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and parsley.  I bought some black olives to put in the salad but completely forgot about them until now.  I also grilled some eggplant, red peppers and onions.  I made some of my baked falafel as well.

The other day, I used my leftover beanballs with some spinach and brown rice pasta, tomato sauce and garlic bread.

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I am really looking forward to the spring and summer, and the accompanying fresh fruits and vegetables that come with it!

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Beanball Sub!

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Dinner tonight was a delicious beanball sub.  The bean balls were made from random things in my fridge and pantry: walnuts, chickpeas, brown rice, green onions, garlic, chickpea flour, oregano, basil, chia seeds and hot sauce.  I blended everything together in my food processor and rolled them into balls, which I brushed with olive oil and baked in the oven at 350.  The cheese was a can of coconut milk, simmered on the stove with some vinegar, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, hot sauce, salt and agar agar.  I then cooled it in a container until it was set.  The bread was a piece of Aidan’s baguette.  And thus concludes my annual veggie meatball sub craving!

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Baked Falafel, Lentils and Rice and Caramelized Onions

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I absolutely love falafel, but since being unable to eat wheat, I’ve found it challenging to find out whether or not the falafel in restaurants is truly gluten-free.  The fact that they are deep fried also makes them more of a rare meal for me.  Fortunately, it is pretty easy to make your own! You can make them fried or baked, but I prefer to bake them.  I was hoping to have kale with my falafel, but my grocery store rarely has kale.  Instead, I made lentils and rice and caramelized onions.

Baked Falafel

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 c of parsley
  • 2-3 T of chickpea flour
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil, for brushing

Directions

Preheat oven to 375.  In a food processor, blend onion, garlic and parsley until finely minced.  Add the chickpeas, flour and salt and pepper and pulse until mixed.  There should still be chunks of chickpeas left for texture.  Role the mixture into balls (I used about 2T of falafel mix per ball).  Flatten slightly and brush with olive oil.  Bake at 350 until lightly browned on the outside, for about 20 minutes, flipping after 10 minutes.

To make the lentils and rice, I rinsed and drained 2 cups of rice and 2 cups of lentils and put them in a pot with 8 cups of water.  I added some coriander and cinnamon, and prepared the mixture like I would normally do so for regular rice.  I covered the pot, brought it to a boil, stirred it once, and then simmered it until the rice and lentils were soft.  I then stirred in some minced parsley.

For the caramelized onions, I sliced four small onions and cooked them in a frying pan on medium heat until softened.  I then turned the heat down, stirring them every few minutes and adding a bit of water to prevent them from drying out.

I wanted to make a tahini sauce, but tahini is another thing my grocery store rarely has.  Instead, I made a lemon garlic sauce.  In a blender, I blended a couple of cloves of garlic with a cup of lemon juice.  I then added 2 cups of olive oil while the blender was running. It was an ok sauce, but I still wish it was tahini!

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Avocado Chocolate Pie

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When Costco gives you avocados, make pie!  The crust consisted mostly of some failed graham crackers, which I mentioned a couple of days ago.   I saved them and ground them into crumbs, and mixed with a little Earth Balance and agave, they made a good crust.  The filling was 3 avocados blended with some cocoa powder, agave and some baking spices (cinnamon, cloves, lemon, etc.).

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Tofu, Quinoa and Grilled Mushrooms With a Tahini Miso Sauce

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Dinner! – Baby spinach, leftover quinoa, leftover jerk tofu, grilled mushrooms and a tahini miso sauce.  To make the mushrooms, I marinated them in a mix of olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and various spices and let them sit for about 15 minutes.  I then grilled them on my cast iron grill pan.  The sauce consisted of about 2 parts tahini, to 1 part miso and 1 part lemon juice, whisked together and thinned with water.  The tofu was pressed and then baked in the oven with jerk sauce.  I bought a giant container of mushrooms from Costco the other day, so I anticipate mushrooms making their way into every meal for the next little while.

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Burrito Bowl

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Dinner tonight was a bowl consisting of quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips, lettuce, guacamole, Tofutti sour cream and lentil taco filling.  Have you tried lentil tacos before?  I love making lentils this way.  It is healthy, cheap and tastes great, so it is my kind of thing.

Here are three recipes I’ve tried with good results:

I’ve been making bowls, but these would be good in a wrap or taco shell, too!

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