Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Raw Tacos

I love tacos.  I love them pretty much any way, but usually I make them with about half ground beef and half beans (red or black).  I was skeptical of being able to recreate one of my favorite comfort foods as a raw dish, but I finally took the plunge....and loved them!

Raw walnut "tacos" with parsnip "rice" and chipotle-cashew "cheese" sauce

Here, I've used raw walnuts mixed with taco seasonings.  For the rice, I modified Ani Phyo's recipe for "Sushi Rice" (from her book: Ani's Raw Food Essentials) using parsnips with a bit of apple cider vinegar and macadamia nuts.  For the Chipotle "Cheese" Sauce, I pureed soaked cashews with a bit of water, lemon juice, a canned chipotle (not raw), and some nutritional yeast to make it "cheesy".  I also threw together a quick Cherry Tomato Salsa/pico de gallo to put over the top.  Served in Romaine lettuce boats, they were delicious, but I look forward to eventually having a dehydrator to make chips or wraps to make it more of a true "taco".  So much fun with raw food!

Raw Walnut "Tacos" with Parsnip "Rice" and Spicy Chipotle "Cheese" Sauce

Serves: 2 people (or at least two people my size.  I had this for lunch two days in a row.)

NOTE: The cashews for the "cheese" sauce need to be soaked 5 or 6 hours (or overnight) before making this, to plan that into your timeline.  If you have a high-speed blender, you might be able to forgo the soak time, but I have not tried this since I have a "regular" KitchenAid blender.

Taco meat
3/4 cup raw walnuts
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Braggs Liquid Aminos, Nama Shoyu, or soy sauce (not raw)
Salt to taste

Pulse nuts, chili powder and cumin in food processor.  Add olive oil and Braggs and pulse until the nuts are in crumbles and resemble taco meat.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

1-1/2 cups peeled and diced parsnips (alternately turnips or jicama can be used, although I have not tried either -- if you use jicama you will probably have to squeeze it out [after processing it] with cheese cloth, through a strainer, or with a nutmilk bag to get rid of some excess moisture before adding seasoning)
1/2 cup macadamia (or pine nuts, sunflower seeds, etc.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Combine parsnips, macadamia nuts and salt in food processor.  Pulse into rice sized fluffy bits.  Add vinegar and pulse one or two more times to combine.

Spicy Chipotle Cheese Sauce
1/2 cup cashews
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons water (or as needed)
1 canned chipotle chili (to make this completely raw, soak 1 dried chipotle in water at room temperature for 1 hour.  Reserve soaking water and use in place of the 2 tablespoons of water in this recipe)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or as needed for "cheesiness")

Soak cashews for 5-6 hours or overnight.  Drain and add to blender along with lemon juice, water, and chipotle chili.  Blend until the sauce has become creamy (you may have to stop the blender several times to scrape down the sides, but keep at it -- it will all come together!)  Add water as needed.  Once it has become a creamy sauce, add nutritional yeast and blend to combine.  Taste and add salt and/or more yeast to taste.  If you are chilling this to use later, it will thicken up considerably.  I added a little water to the amount I intended to eat when I was ready to use it so that I could make an attractive "drizzle".  This is also delicious left thick and used as a dip for crudités.

Cherry Tomato Pico De Gallo
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion (or white or yellow or scallions....)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
chopped fresh jalapeno to taste
salt to taste
cubed 1/4 of an avocado (optional)

Combine all in a small bowl.

Arrange your meal on large Romaine lettuce leaves.  Enjoy!

Raw walnut "tacos" with parsnip "rice" and chipotle-cashew "cheese" sauce

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