Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Vegans Go Nuts! Barbecue Pecans

book cover
Vegans Go Nuts! Celine's and my new book is now available!
I am super excited to announce the arrival of our new book! Celine and I were at it again, together, to create an entire book full of recipes that bring our favorite ingredient (NUTS!) to the forefront. No longer are they relegated to a sprinkle on top of salads. Nope. Nuts take center stage in this book, with recipes for basics, like nut milks, butters, cheeses, and mayos to entrees like the slow-cooked barbecue pecans in the Texas Hold 'Ems (on page 100) that I am excited to share with you below!

Last weekend I was one of the featured chefs at the LA Vegan Underground Supper Club (The BBQ Edition!) at Green's Center for Plant Based Education. I figured it was the perfect opportunity to show off one of the recipes from the book. So I showcased these slow-cooked barbecue pecans on tacos and in bowls. I was so excited to hear folks tell me how much they liked them, and how original it was to use pecans instead of jackfruit or seitan.

Texas Hold Ems
As a taco! 2 street sized grilled corn tortillas, ranch slaw, BBQ pecans, spicy aioli, and a pinch of cilantro. 

Texas Hold ‘Ems 
(Savory BBQ Pecans)

If Texas is known for one thing, it’s BBQ. But did you know Texas is also known for its pecans? Here we smother and simmer pecans in a sassy barbecue sauce then stuff them into a handhold (a pita, tortilla, French roll, or even tacos) along with some chopped salad. As written, this recipe makes a bunch, but it keeps well in the fridge. If you make a big batch of the pecans, you can definitely use them in all sorts of ways, like the BBQ Pecan Bowl pictured below! 

For the Barbecue Pecans:
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 cup (160 g) diced red onion
2 tablespoons (20 g) minced garlic
1 1/2 cups (366 g) tomato sauce
1 cup (235 ml) pineapple juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) sriracha sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons (44 g) molasses
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegan
Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
4 cups (396 g) pecans, soaked overnight and drained*
Salt and pepper

For the Almond Buttermilk Ranch Dressing:
3/4 cup (180 ml) unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons (10 ml) lemon juice
2 teaspoons (10 ml) apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup (120 ml) mild flavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (15 g) Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons (3 g) onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried dill, or 1 tablespoon (4 g) fresh
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

For the Chopped Salad:
1 pound (454 g) romaine lettuce, chopped into small pieces
1 medium red onion (about 6 ounces, or 170 g) peeled and finely diced
1 bunch (2 ounces, or 56 g) cilantro, chopped

For the Handholds:
Bread, rolls, pita, or tortillas

To make the Barbecue Pecans: Add the olive oil to the bottom of a pan and heat over medium heat. Add the diced onions and saute until fragrant and translucent, and edges are browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to saute 2 to 3 more minutes. 
Add in the remaining ingredients except the pecans, salt, and pepper.
Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, add in the pecans, stir to combine, cover, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes, returning to stir halfway through.

To make the Almond Buttermilk Ranch Dressing: Add the almond milk, lemon juice, and vinegar to your blender. (If you have an immersion blender this works perfectly here.) Let the mixture sit for a few minutes. It will curdle and become like buttermilk. Add in the remaining ingredients,
and blend until combined and thickened. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the chopped salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss together the romaine, onion, and cilantro. Toss with dressing. If preparing in advance, do not toss with dressing until ready to serve. 
Assemble your handholds by layering the chopped salad and Barbecue Pecans in the handheld delivery method of your choice.

Yield: 8 servings of pecans and salad, and 1 1/2 cups (455 ml) dressing

BBQ Pecan Bowl
As a bowl! Dirty rice, garlicky greens, BBQ pecans, ranch slaw, fire roasted corn, and green onions.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Purple Cauliflower Tacos with Quick Pickled Radish Relish

Sorry for posting two taco posts in a row. But, for the first time in my entire life, I am working a schedule which allows me to be home for dinner with my husband pretty much every night. Coming up with dinners that satisfy my need to experiment in the kitchen, and Dan's need for something "yummy" (I swear he eats like a 14 year old!) has proven to be a challenge, lol. But there is one thing we both can agree on, and that's tacos.

I am a real sucker for a good taco. And I pretty much make sure we have them every Taco Tuesday. And even if my eats-like-a-teenager other half isn't keen on the idea of substituting the protein portion of his tacos with anything other than TVP or Gardein, that doesn't mean I can't have some fun with my tacos!

And, boy! Were these fun! Beautiful purple cauliflower was calling my name at the farm, and I really wanted to do something special with it. And since it happened to be Tuesday, it seemed like the perfect time to try out a new recipe I had been thinking about...cauliflower tacos! 

I am so happy with the way these came out, the texture of the savory-and-just-a-little-bit-spicy cauliflower was a perfect component for tacos. And the quick pickled radish relish has the perfect tang and saltiness to balance it all out. The best part is, If you make the relish ahead of time, these come together in under 30 minutes!

Purple Cauliflower Tacos with Quick Pickled Radish Relish
This simple recipe packs a lot of flavor. They are naturally gluten free, and if you use soy-free vegan mayo for the Cilantro Mayo, they can easily be made soy free, too. This recipe also works well using water instead of oil to steam fry for those of you looking for an oil-free option.

For the Quick Pickled Radish Relish: (Best made ahead of time)
1 cup diced radishes
1 cup diced white or yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup diced jalapeno
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Purple Cauliflower:
3 cups finely chopped purple cauliflower (but you can use any color)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder, or more if you like it extra spicy
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying (optional, see head note)
1/4 cup diced white or yellow onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

For the tacos:
street sized corn tortillas, grilled
shredded cabbage
sliced avocado
Cilantro Mayo

To make the radish relish: Simply add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir until well combined, cover and refrigerate at least two hours before serving. Feel free to make it a day or two ahead of time for extra pickle-y goodness.

To make the cauliflower: Mix together cauliflower, garlic, cumin, chile flakes, and chipotle powder in a mixing bowl until well combined.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
Add onions to the oil and saute until fragrant and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add in Cauliflower mixture and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes, or until cauliflower is slightly soft and beginning to brown.
Stir in cilantro and add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble the tacos: Layer shredded cabbage, purple cauliflower, and a healthy squirt of cilantro mayo on a warm corn tortilla. Top with sliced avocado and a pile of radish relish.


Yield: Varies depending on the size of your tortillas and how much stuff you like to pile in them, If you make them like mine above, you will get at least 8 tacos out of the cauliflower.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Life on the Farm...and Strawberry Salsa!

Ever since I started working at Tanaka Farms, I have wanted to put strawberries on everything!  More on those tacos at the end of the post, but for now, keep reading about this beautiful 30 acres I have been spending a lot of time on lately...

This is my new office! I started working part time at Tanaka Farms in February. And let me tell you, it has been (and continues to be) one of the most rewarding experiences ever! From learning some of the basics about responsible farming techniques, to connecting with people, especially children, helping to educate them about the importance of farming, and eating lots of farm fresh vegetables, I am really thankful to have this unique opportunity.

My official title at the farm in Strawberry Tour Guide. And believe you me, I channel my inner Jungle Boat Cruise voice with each and every tour. It's so much fun to tour the farm with big groups...most of the weekday tours we give are to school groups...and watch the little ones taste farm fresh veggies for the first time. It's also a blast to watch them out in the field picking their own strawberries.

And those strawberries! Before working on the farm, I could give a hoot about strawberries. I'm more of a vegetable girl. But, my goodness, are these the best berries I have ever sunk my teeth into. And lucky for me, I get to eat lots of strawberries while I'm at work! I have become a strawberry snob. If they aren't fresh picked from Tanaka Farms, I am simply not interested. Haha. But seriously, nothing tastes better than a red, juicy, sweet, fresh-picked strawberry warmed by the sun. They literally melt in your mouth.

At the farm, all of the strawberries are grown hydroponically in coconut husk grow bags on raised beds. This keeps the strawberries up off the ground and helps to prevent them from getting spoiled from resting in the soil. It also makes them taste better. The farmers work very hard to keep those berries top notch for the guests, and on every tour I give,  at least one person comments on how these are the best berries they've ever had.

Have you ever wondered why some strawberries have funny shapes? The shape of a strawberry depends on how it gets pollinated.  In the center of each flower on the plant is a baby strawberry waiting to turn into a delicious piece of fruit. Surrounding that center are little hairlike structures known as stamens. If each and every little hair doesn't get pollinated, the strawberry will not grow symmetrically.

I could go on all day about strawberries (there are over 200 seeds on every berry, and technically, strawberries aren't even true berries, rather they are an aggregate accessory fruit, but I digress) but I know you all just want me to get to the recipe, so here you go!

Strawberry Salsa Fresca

2 cups chopped ripe strawberries (from Tanaka Farms)
2 cups diced Maui Onion (from Tanaka Farms)
1 cup chopped green onion (from Tanaka Farms)
1 cup chopped cilantro (from Tanaka Farms)
2 tablespoons minced garlic (from Tanaka Farms)
2 tablespoons lime juice
salt, to taste
optional: chopped fresh jalapeno to taste

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
Keep refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.
Should last up to one week in the refrigerator.

Yield: About 6 cups

Gardein Beefless Tacos with Strawberry Salsa and Cilantro Mayo

For the Gardein Beefless taco meat:
1 package Gardein Beefless Strips, diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely diced Maui Onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

For the Cilantro Mayo:
1 cup vegan mayo (I use  Follow Your Heart Vegenaise)
1/3 cup cilantro (a fistful)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

shredded cabbage
Strawberry Salsa Fresca (recipe above)
street size corn tortillas, grilled

To make the Gardein Beefless taco meat, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent and fragrant. Add garlic and Gardein Beefless Strips and cook, tossing constantly, until browned and heated all the way through.

To make the Cilantro Mayo, add all ingredients to a blender and pulse until well combined, but still a little bit chunky. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. I like to keep it in a squeezy bottle for easy drizzling.

To assemble the tacos, start with two grilled tortillas, layer on a pinch of cabbage, Gardein Beefless taco meat, a generous drizzle of Cilantro Mayo, and then pile on the Strawberry Salsa Fresca.


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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, or remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni