Mexican Street Corn Chopped Salad

Mexican Street Corn Chopped Salad

My favorite summer salad! This Mexican street corn chopped salad is inspired by my favorite food truck snack. And, it’s made entirely on the grill so you don’t have to heat to house up by turning on the oven. Top crunchy romaine with grilled bacon, peppers, corn, and scallion, add pinto beans and cotija cheese, and drizzle with a chili lime vinaigrette!

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Grilled Vegetable and Quinoa Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

Grilled Vegetable and Quinoa Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

Fire up the grill to make these grilled vegetable and quinoa tacos with cilantro pesto! Smoky grilled spears of zucchini and mushrooms are served in corn tortillas with quinoa and a spicy cilantro and pepita pesto. Garnish with crumbled goat cheese! These vegetarian tacos are going to become a favorite!

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Vegetarian Baked Sopes with Salsa Verde

These vegetarian baked sopes are a lighter take on a traditional Mexican dish of deep fried masa dough. Filled with black beans, avocado, feta cheese and drizzled with salsa verde! 

Finally getting off my Asian and grilled recipe kick, I present these adorable little Mexican appetizers, mini corn cakes called sopes!

Sidebar: Typing that last sentence made me wonder, if I could only eat Mexican food or any kind of Asian food for the rest of my life, which would it be? I'm torn! You?

Sopes are a traditional Mexican dish made from deep fried rounds of dough made from masa, a flour made from corn treated with lime (aka hominy). Masa is what's used to create tortillas. So basically, sopes are fried fresh tortillas cakes. How can you not be excited about that?

My recipe for sopes is baked rather than fried. No, not because frying is "bad" or "unhealthy." Actually, from a nutrition standpoint, frying is no where near as awful as it's made out to be. When the oil is a hot enough temperature, it instantly creates a super crisp crust rather than absorbing all the oil. I just don't deep fry because it makes a huge mess in the kitchen! While my husband and I have worked out a nice working relationship where I cook, he cleans, I didn't want to push it with oil splattered all over the place.

You can find masa harina flour at most well stocked grocery stores or order it online. I had some leftover from my recent (successful!) attempt at making my own tortillas to see if it would be easy for some of my food sensitivity clients. Since I've started doing MRT food sensitivity testing, one of the hardest things is finding substitutes for bread. Again, bread is not "bad" or "unhealthy", but when I do food sensitivity testing, an individualized healing diet based on foods that aren't reactive is a necessity for a short(ish) period of time to allow the gut to heal. It sucks, especially because I loathe restriction, but when someone is really sick and struggling with chronic health issues, it's definitely worth it to feel better. And at least homemade corn tortillas are a yummy option for those who aren't reactive to corn! If you're wondering, I used The Lean Green Beans recipe.

Now, back to sopes, which are even easier than tortillas! I filled these sopes with a vegetarian filling of black beans, avocado, a sprinkle of feta, and a drizzle of salsa verde. Once you've mastered making these mini sopes, you could fill them with lots of other fillings:

Vegetarian Baked Sopes with Salsa Verde

Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons masa flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 avocado, thinly sliced and chopped into 1 inch slices
  • 1-2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salsa verde
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Mix masa, wheat flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in warm water and mix thoroughly with a spoon until well combined. Cover with a towel and let sit 15 minutes.
  2. When ready to make masa cakes, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a mini muffin tin thoroughly with olive oil. Pinch off small golf ball sized balls of dough and press into the bottom of the mini-muffin tin wells. Press the center and even out the dough to make a "cup". Spray the tops evenly with olive oil, place in the hot oven and bake 20-25 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before removing sopes to a serving dish.
  3. Fill each cup with a spoonful of black beans, crumble over a bit of feta, top with a slice of avocado. Drizzle with salsa verde and garnish with fresh cilantro.

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Chicken Burrito Brown Rice Bowl Bowl with Homemade Guacamole

This chicken burrito brown rice bowl with easy homemade guacamole is the perfect clean out the fridge meal, made with frozen corn and peppers, salsa, and a little leftover cheese!

Hi guys! Apologies for no new post on Monday. I'm kinda a scatter brain with all the travel I'm doing this month. Also, after 8 hours driving back home from Virginia after being away for over a week, quality time with the hubs > glancing at my to do list.

Anyway, thought it would be fun to share a recap of my week up in Virginia/DC with you all, since I packed a lot of friends, good food and work into the trip. My trip to Virginia was half social/half work. The first weekend was my little brother's finance's bachelorette, then the end of the week, AlexAnne and I were getting together to wrap up work on our Joyful Eating program. Since my dad and stepmom live outside DC, I packed up the pups, hit the road and used that as an excuse to work remotely for the week!

The bachelorette party was an absolute blast! I didn't know any of my future sister-in-law's friends before this trip and I had such a blast getting to know them and hanging out with my SIL more, since we've never been in the same city. We rented a row house in Capitol Hill and there was a ton of fun places to go out nearby. Friday we had really tasty dinner at Smith Commons (lobster fried quinoa for the win...) before going out. Saturday, we attempted to be mature and do a walking tour of DC, but really we just ended up taking dorky pictures with the souvenir vans, waiting in a really long line to pee at Washington Monument then giving up and getting bottles of Cava with strawberries at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Hey, we tried!

Dinner at Smith Commons
Dinner at Smith Commons
Touring DC!
Touring DC!

Before heading to my parents in Virginia, I visited two of my friends to see the new house they bought in DC just a couple days before. We ate breakfast at The Royal, this really cute coffee shop with latin inspired breakfast options. Their egg arepa with avocado and chimichurri was super tasty but super messy - glad my friends don't judge! Afterwards, we walked around their neighborhood and they indulged my love of historic homes by dropping in an open house, where we pretended to be the kind of people who could afford a 1.9 million dollar home (ahem, we can't). Also, stumbled across this clearly haunted stunner - anyone want to invest a few million into my opening a B&B in the city? Anyone??

The rest of the week was pretty packed with work. Was hoping to see a bunch of my friends from home, but I completely lost my voice over the weekend. Wish I could say it was from having too much fun but I had a sore throat from allergies on Friday and it just got worse and worse all weekend! Since we were recording the audio lectures for our online intuitive eating program, I ended up having to cancel a few virtual appointments, which I felt awful about since I've never canceled appointments before, but I needed the voice rest. Still, I managed to squeeze in a visit with one of my two best friends from high school and her curly headed cutie! Can you get over these ringlets??

One Wednesday, Anne, Alex and I launched our 6-week online intuitive eating program, Joyful Eating, Nourished Life then spent Thursday and Friday wrapping up the program. It was so great to see each other in person again versus google hangout. Thursday we worked from my parents house so my dad could play instagram dad and take pictures of us for the website - poor guy was a trooper! Then Thursday we worked from Anne's house in Arlington, stopping for an extended lunch break with a really tough yoga class at Edge Yoga followed by salads at Sweetgreen. If only they would come to Columbia!

After a TOUGH yoga class
After a TOUGH yoga class
Salads at Sweetgreen! Mine was the umami bowl with baked tofu, quinoa, spicy sunflower seeds and more!
Salads at Sweetgreen! Mine was the umami bowl with baked tofu, quinoa, spicy sunflower seeds and more!

As we were going through last edits of our program, I couldn't help but get SO very excited for how wonderful it's turned out! We were able to squeeze in so much information about intuitive/mindful eating, sustainable nutrition strategies and enjoyable fitness in a usable, but not overwhelming way. We're really pumped about the number of signups so far, so if you're hoping to join the first group starting June 20th, be sure to sign up soon because we might actually reach our cap (knock on wood!).

Here's a sneak peek at our photo shoot:

Over the weekend I took it easy since it had been a pretty hectic week. I visited with one of my best friends from high school who was also my roommate for a couple years at Clemson for a walking date. She had just gotten engaged a couple weeks before so it was fun to celebrate! She's one of the absolute kindest people I know so was thrilled to see her so happy! Then for Mother's Day, went out to brunch at Silver Diner with my dad and stepmom. We used to hangout there in high school and get burgers and fries, so I was really impressed that the menu had become so locally focused with a ton of flexitarian options, like my roasted vegetable huevos rancheros.

Now on to the recipe. This burrito bowl was (obviously) inspired by the bowls at Chipotle. People always ask me what food I get when I'm on the road and if there's a Chipotle nearby, it's always a brown rice bowl, usually with their sofritas (tofu) or chicken. But it's such an easy dinner to make at home too. While this one took a bit longer with the marinated meat and homemade guac, it can be super simple. Just top precooked brown rice with canned black beans, salsa, cheese, sautéed frozen peppers or spinach and a dollop of store bought guac. If you know how to prepare plantains, that's also a really delish topping!

Chicken Burrito Brown Rice Bowl Bowl with Homemade Guacamole

Serves 4

Ingredients

Chicken: 

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Guacamole:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

Burrito Bowl:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 1-lb bag frozen peppers and onions
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • Cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, first prepare rice. Bring 2 cups water and 1 cup rice to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook 40-50 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes, then stir in chopped scallion and fluff with a fork.
  3. Next prepare guacamole. Scoop fresh out of the avocado and into a bowl. Add lime juice, cilantro, and red onion. Add salt and mash with a fork to combine.
  4. Heat grill on medium high. Place chicken cubes on a skewer. Grill about 4 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium skillet. Add corn and cook until corn is lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from skillet, wipe clean, and add 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet and heat. Add peppers and cook until tender and lightly charred, about 7-9 minutes. Remove from skillet. Season both with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide rice between bowls. Top with chicken, corn, peppers, a healthy scoop of guacamole. Top with cheddar, cilantro and drizzle with salsa verde.

Epic Vegetarian Nachos

These epic vegetarian nachos are topped with pantry friendly ingredients - frozen corn, canned black beans, extra sharp cheddar and shredded zucchini. 

Going along with last week's guest post by Anne on meal planning for people who hate to meal plan, I thought I'd share one of my favorite TST (throw s*** together) meals - nachos!

One thing I've learned in my years of cooking: everything tastes good on tortilla chips. Well, maybe not chocolate. Or But you get it.

I've made these nachos a bazillion times (okay five or six), and they truly are as easy as it comes. For veggies, I use either squash or zucchini, grated on the large holes of the cheese grater. I'm not sure why, but this is my favorite way of cutting squash. I swear it tastes better and different than chopped or half-mooned but maybe it's just me. Anyone else here?

Speaking of nachos, remember when fancy nachos were the thing? I think it was my high school/college years. Growing up in Atlanta, but there was one restaurant in Phipps Plaza (the fancy mall) called The Tavern and I used to LOVE to go there with friends and order fancy nachos. Salmon with tomatoes, dill and lobster cream veloute...thai chicken with peanut sauce and sprouts...yum! Plus, there was the feeling of being fancy because even though you're just eating nachos, its next to Neiman Marcus and sometimes you'd see rappers or Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Anyhoo, these aren't very fancy. Just black beans, corn, zucchini and (obviously) cheese. But they're still pretty epic. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Epic Vegetarian Nachos

Serves 6

Get a good block of extra sharp cheddar instead of pre-shredded cheese. It has a lot more flavor so you can get away with using a little less.

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, grated on the large holes of a cheese grater
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 ounces tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • Guacamole, for serving
  • Salsa verde, for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
  • Hot sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil on medium-high heat in a large sided skillet Add red onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add grated zucchini, season with salt and pepper and saute until zucchini is tender, about 5 more minutes.
  3. Place zucchini in a bowl, wipe skillet clean and add 1 teaspoon oil on medium-high heat. Add corn and saute until lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Spread tortilla chips evenly on a baking sheet. Top with zucchini, corn, black beans and shredded cheese. Place in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and chips are crispy.
  5. Serve topped with dollops of guacamole, salsa, cilantro and hot sauce.

More ooey, gooey, melty cheese: 

Whole Grain Potato, Corn and Goat Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Chimichurri
Whole Grain Potato, Corn and Goat Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Chimichurri
Mexican Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Mexican Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Polenta Vegetarian Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Kale
Polenta Vegetarian Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Kale

Vegan Mole Chilaquiles

Vegan mole chilaquiles are a delicious way to use up extra tortilla chips! Try this vegan version made with homemade mole or keep it easy with my timesaving tricks! 

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You thought you had your Mexican food down pat, with your steamy bowl of posole and your overstuffed torta, but little did you know, you're probably missing out on the most delicious Mexican food of all.

Chilaquiles.

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Chilaquiles are an authentic Mexican dish of stale tortillas simmered in sauce. I know, I'm not really making the case for the whole 'most delicious Mexican food of all' statement. But hear me out here! Think nachos, but the emphasis is more on the delicious sauce and less on the chip (and not at all on weird neon orange cheese). You can either simmer the chips in sauce, creating an almost polenta-like texture, or pour the sauce over the chips at the last minute, retaining crunch. Either is cool by me. There are a million and one ways to make chilaquiles and I guarantee every single one is delicious.

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The dish was basically designed to use up leftovers. Throw some torn up day old tortillas or tortilla chips in a flavorful sauce. Add any other random leftovers - tomatoes, grilled zucchini, shredded chicken, a fried egg...there's no rules! And while this recipe is made with a homemade mole sauce, which admittedly, is a bit complicated and has a lengthy ingredient list, you could easily swap jarred salsa verde, a basic tomato sauce spiked with canned chipotle chiles, jarred enchilada sauce or even a store bought mole sauce.

Speaking of mole sauce, if you've never tried it, the ingredients list probably sounds a little crazy. Chocolate? In Mexican food? Just go with it.

Vegan Mole Chilaquiles

Serves 5

This recipe will make extra mole sauce, which you can freeze and use for later. It would also be delicious in slow cooker chicken, over grilled tofu or with enchiladas. I used sweet potato tortilla chips, but feel free to use any kind you like.

Ingredients

Mole Sauce: 

  • 3 poblano chiles
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 3 dried chipotle chiles
  • 2 dried New Mexico chiles or ancho chiles
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil, avocado oil, or other neutral flavored oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or add a pinch of cinnamon with the other spices)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons masa or cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Chilaquiles: 

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, avocado oil or other neutral tasting oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 ounces tortilla chips
  • For garnish: avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, salsa, cilantro

Instructions

  1. Set the oven to boil. Place the poblanos and jalapenos on a large baking sheet and broil for 3 minutes per side until skin is blackened. Place in a bowl and top with plastic wrap or a plate to trap steam. When peppers are cool enough to handle, remove and discard charred skin, stem, seeds and chop remaining flesh.
  2. Warm about 2 cups of water in a pot or glass measuring cup until almost boiling. Add dried chiles and raisins and let sit to soften while you prepare the other ingredients. Once softened, remove the chiles from the water, reserving the remaining chile 'broth', then stem, seed and chop.
  3. Heat oil in a medium pot. Add onion and garlic, saute 5 minutes until tender. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are softened, another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add oregano, cumin and thyme and saute 1 minute until fragrant. Add peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and cinnamon stick. Saute another couple of minutes. Add reserved chili 'broth' plus enough water to make 2 1/2 cups, chopped poblanos and jalapeno, chopped dried chiles, raisins and cocoa powder. Simmer 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend sauce until smooth. Stir in masa/cornmeal and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a large sided skillet, heat oil on medium high heat. Add onion and corn and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add black beans, cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add tortilla chips and stir to combine. Pour in about 2 cups of mole sauce and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Serve with desired garnishes

More Mexican food from the archives: 

Grilled Pork Tacos with Charred Eggplant and Tomatoes
Grilled Pork Tacos with Charred Eggplant and Tomatoes
Classic Migas
Classic Migas

Pumpkin Chipotle Chili

Pumpkin chipotle chili is the perfect fall chili for tailgating. Plus, it's orange to celebrate my Clemson Tigers! Keep it vegan with tempeh or add ground turkey. 

Keeping this short because jet lag (yes, still) is kicking in and I was that girl who did everything last minute! I made this yummy pumpkin chili and you should too. Head over to Healthy Aperture for the recipe!

Vegan Tempeh Taco Salad with Cashew Sour Cream

A vegan take on taco salad made with tempeh and cashew sour cream. The whole family will love this plant based meal! 

Just a quickie post for you today, sharing a tasty little vegan salad I whipped up a few months ago. My kitchen creativity has been waning the past couple weeks, so I had to dig through the archives for an awesome recipe with pictures to match.

Even though I passed over this recipe the first time around doesn’t make it any less worthy of being shared. However, because I did have a full weekend of work, plans to celebrate one of my best friends 30th birthdays Sunday night, and an early morning class I'm teaching on Monday, it isn’t worthy of me chatting about it more than this! 

Enjoy!

Vegan Tempeh Taco Salad with Cashew Sour Cream

Serves 4

Ingredients

Tempeh Taco Meat: 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces tempeh, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt free taco seasoning

Salad: 

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives
  • 2 ounces tortilla chips, roughly broken
  • Salsa

Cashew Sour Cream:

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water at least 2 hours
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 5-7 minutes until tender. Add tempeh, taco seasoning, and saute 5 minutes until lightly browned.
  2. While tempeh is sauteing, blend soaked cashews, water, apple cider vinegar and salt in a food processor until smooth, about 5 minutes, scraping down sides as needed.
  3. In a large salad bowl, toss together lettuce, radishes, black olives and tortilla chips. Top with tempeh meat, cashew sour cream, and salsa and serve.

Grilled Pork Tacos with Charred Eggplant and Tomatoes

These grilled pork tacos with charred eggplant and tomatoes are pretty epic, definitely worth a little extra work on a weekend! Enjoy with a cold local brew and good friends! 

A couple weeks ago was the week of the taco. It was awesome.

It all started when we spent the day sailing with friends on the lake. While we were out on the boat, my friend Chelsea told us her grand idea of opening a taco stand at our local farmers market. Environmental lawyer by week, taco connoisseur by weekend? I doubt she'll ever go through with it, but we still had fun dreaming up taco combinations! After a day in the sun, drinking and talking about Mexican food, what did we end up getting for dinner? Tacos and fresh margs. No big surprise.

Later that week, I took the day off to go wedding dress shopping with my family for my sister-in-laws wedding. When appointments ran late and our stomachs were rumbling, you know what they asked for? More tacos! BBQ shrimp and veggie tacos with extra guac for the win!

You would think at this point I would be sick of tacos. But apparently that's not physically possible, because what did I cook for dinner the next night? These pork tacos.

This recipe was adapted from one in Smoke, a James Beard award winning cookbook that teaches the art of cooking with fire. Like, real fire. As in, lets build a firepit in our backyard. It's legit. It's also one of the prettiest cookbooks I own. Most of the recipes aren't exactly weeknight friendly (grilled creole shrimp cocktail with pickled relish vinaigrette made from a combination of four different homemade relishes and a homemade horseradish Tejano red sauce anyone?). But they're beautiful, inspirational and most can be easily be simplified. It's a great gift for any grill lovers in your family - I know the hubs was set on building a pit for oyster roasts in our backyard after thumbing through it!

The original recipe called for waaaay more oil, like three cups (!!!). The pork was essentially confit. I love a good confit, but I'm also more than happy to let a real chef do it for me. I also used a leaner cut of pork. If you prefer shredded pork over cubed, I would use a fattier cut, like a pork shoulder. Also, I know the eggplant and tomato may seem like an odd choice for a tacos, but trust me on it. If you're really not into it or you want to save time, serve it with preshredded cabbage instead.

Because I'm a wuss, I cooked this on the grill instead of a backyard firepit. But, I did it in a cast iron skillet on the grill, so maybe that earns me a couple bad ass points?? If you're a bigger weenie than me, you could also cook this indoors with a Dutch oven or make life even easier with a crockpot! Simply sear the pork, add the citrus-beer mixture and let it simmer until tender! It might be missing some of that smoky flavor, but I bet the citrus-beer flavor would be more pronounced.

Grilled Pork Tacos with Charred Tomatoes and Eggplant

Serves 6 (2 tacos each)

Adapted from Smoke.

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 lbs pork loin roast
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 12 ounce bottle of IPA beer
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 4 sprigs of oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 6 plum tomatoes, halved
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Feta or cotija cheese, crumbled, for serving
  • Salsa verde, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together minced garlic, curry, smoked paprika, chili, brown sugar, cumin, cayenne and salt. Rub the pork all over with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
  2. While pork is marinading, mix lemon juice, orange juice, beer, garlic, shallots, oregano and bay leaves in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. When ready to cook pork, heat the grill to medium-high heat. Place a large cast iron skillet on the grill to heat. When hot, add olive oil. Sear pork in the olive oil, cooking 2-3 minutes per side, until browned all over. Add the citrus-beer mixture, reduce the grill heat to medium-low, and cover grill lid. Cook covered, about 30-45 minutes until pork is tender, cooked through and sauce is reduced. Carefully with an oven mitt, remove and set aside to cool slightly, pork still in the skillet.
  4. While pork is resting, turn the heat up to medium-high. Spray the grates with olive oil. Season the tomatoes and eggplant with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on the grill, tomatoes skin side down, and cook with grill lid covered, about 5-7 minutes until charred on one side. Remove tomatoes from grill to a plate and set aside. Flip eggplant and cook 5 minutes on the other side until charred and tender.
  5. As space becomes available on the grill, lay the tortillas out flat to lightly char. Remove to a clean plate.
  6. When ready to serve, remove pork to a cutting board. Slice into 3/4-inch cubes. Add back to the sauce and toss to combine. Season with salt if needed.
  7. Divide eggplant and tomatoes between the tortillas. Top with pork then garnish with cheese and salsa verde.

Classic Migas

Classic migas, a Tex-Mex dish of eggs cooked with tortillas and vegetables, is my favorite 15 minute meal! 

In yesterday's Wellness Wednesday post, I mentioned there are some nights I feel tempted order pizza rather than cook a homemade meal. Yes, us dietitians are human. The strategy I shared for temptation bundling, which has turned cook time into my downtime, is definitely the main thing that keeps me from dialing in an order of Kung Pao, but I also have another trick up my sleeve.

Meet migas, my favorite 15 minute meal.

Migas is a Tex-Mex dish made of scrambled eggs cooked with tortillas, onions, chiles, tomatoes and topped with cheese. Not much of a looker, but it makes up for that in taste and hearty satisfaction. Oh, and the fact that it takes hardly any time and is made with ingredients that 87% of the time I already have on hand.

Feel free to dress this recipe up with chorizo and red peppers. Or, you could swap out the cheddar for feta, queso fresco or pepper jack. You could also simplify the recipe to the essentials - eggs, tortillas and onion. If I make this for breakfast I'll serve it with fresh fruit. For dinner, it's either a side salad dressed with lime juice and sea salt, or canned refried beans, depending on my hunger level.

Classic Migas

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 3 ounces tortilla chips, lightly crushed
  • 8 large eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, preferably organic

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion, jalapeno and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato and saute until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add tortilla chips, stir to combine and cook until slightly crisped, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Push the vegetables and tortillas to one half of the skillet. Pour the eggs into the other half. Cook, pushing the outside of the eggs towards the center until cooked about halfway, then stir the entire mixture to combine and cook all of the way through.
  3. Top with cheese and serve.

You Might Also Like: 

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
Fried Black Rice with Bok Choy & Eggs
Fried Black Rice with Bok Choy & Eggs
Chickpea Pancake with Fried Egg and Avocado
Chickpea Pancake with Fried Egg and Avocado

Vegan Millet Fajita Bowl with Avocado Cream Sauce

A gluten free and vegan millet fajita bowl, drizzled with creamy avocado lime sauce and a spicy mango macadamia dressing. 

Craving Mexican? With Cinco de Mayo coming up, I imagine that's a strong possibility!

Before fancy tacos became popular, fajita anything was my go to Mexican food order. Fajita burritos, fajita quesadillas, fajita salad…actual fajitas. I always loved that extra dose of veggies in the form of sweet caramelized peppers and onions.

Buritto bowls are a thing, so a fajita bowl seems like a natural progression. You could use quinoa or brown rice instead of millet, but I love how millet’s corn-like flavor is reminiscent of corn tortillas. This vegan dish gets it’s protein from black beans, but you could also add chicken, steak, shrimp to the mix. Although it obviously wouldn’t vegan. Ditto for cheese. Cheddar is the standard fajita choice, but I prefer cotija or feta.

To save time, use precooked brown rice and quinoa and premade guacamole. You can also leave off the spicy mango dressing or add a few cubes of mango to the side. I just had leftovers from my tropical salad and thought "Hey, why not?!" The sweet and spicy goes so well together, especially with the creamy citrusy avocado dressing.

On a more serious note, I can't seem to turn my eyes away from the media coverage of the earthquake in Nepal. Last year, Scott and I were planning to take a trip to Kathmandu then hike to Mount Everest's base camp. In the end, we decided to put the trip off for a year or two, but had we booked the trip we were looking at, we would have returned home just a few days before. Can't help but think of the people who were injured and killed that could have been our new friends. My heart is breaking for their families and everyone in Kathmandu. If you'd like to donate to the victims, CNN has put together a list of reputable charities working in Nepal.

Millet Fajita Bowl with Avocado Cream Sauce

Serves 4

To save time, use precooked brown rice or quinoa and store bought guacamole.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup millet
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large red bell peppers, cored and sliced thin
  • 1 large red onion, peeled, halved and sliced into 1/2 inch slices

Avocado Cream Sauce:

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and half the garlic. Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add millet, stir to combine. Add water and salt, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Stir in black beans and set aside.
  2. Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add peppers, onions and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, make the avocado cream sauce. Blend avocado, cilantro, lime, and water with salt to season in the food processor. Add more water if needed to reach desired consistency.
  4. If making the mango dressing, rinse out the food processor and make the mango-macadamia dressing.
  5. Divide millet between four bowls. Top with sauteed vegetables and drizzle with avocado cream sauce and mango dressing.

Chipotle Tempeh and Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Kale Guacamole

Black beans and tempeh are simmered in a spicy tomato sauce then served over cauliflower rice with kale guacamole in this chipotle tempeh and cauliflower rice bowl. 

So, I'm sitting here, staring at my computer, desperately trying to find the words to express the pure deliciousness of this dish, but the only thing coming to me involves drool, OMG's and multiple exclamation marks.

But I won't do that because I'm a professional and there's lots of letters behind my name to prove it. So instead, I'm going to write a bunch of fluff to fill a few paragraphs until it's appropriate to jump to the recipe.

Let's start with the most important part, the kale guac. I will never eat non-kaled guac ever again. That's a lie. I will eat guac every which way. But seriously, kale in guac is pretty epic. The fats in the avocado soften the kale and the kale acts like an herb, lending a bright, fresh flavor to it. And if you have a kale haters in the family, you can pass it off as cilantro (before you kick that weirdo out of the house).

Then we've got the cauliflower rice, which I fell in love with last year when I got on a kick of experimenting with grain free dishes. All you do is place cauliflower florets in a food processor, pulse, then saute the "rice" with olive oil, garlic and onions. I actually like it better than real rice!

Last, but not least (or maybe it is least, 'cause I really really really like cauliflower rice and guac) we've got the bans and tempeh in chipotle sauce. Are you hesitant to try tempeh? I can't blame you - it is a fermented soybean cake afterall. This dish is the perfect introduction. Crumbled up in a spicy chipotle sauce with beans, it tastes just like ground meat. Still not ready for tempeh? Swap in 1/2 lb of ground beef or chicken, or more beans.

Now, I think that's enough fluff for today.

Chipotle Tempeh and Cauliflower Rice Bowl with Kale Guacamole

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Chipotle Tempeh & Beans: 

  • 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 chipotle chilies plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 ounces tempeh, crumbled

Cauliflower Rice:

  • 1 head cauliflower, stemmed and cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped

Kale Guacamole:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 juicy lime
  • 1 cup packed, chopped kale

Instructions

  1. First, make the chipotle tempeh and beans. Place diced tomatoes, garlic, cumin, chipotle chilies and adobo sauce in a blender and blend until pureed, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot and heat on medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chipotle sauce, black beans and crumbled tempeh. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes then let sit on low heat while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  3. Place the cauliflower florets in a food processor. Process until it's the consistency of rice. You may have to do this in 2-3 batches, depending on the size of your food processor.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, sided skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower rice, season with salt, and saute, stirring every so often to prevent burning, until lightly caramelized and tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. While cauliflower rice is cooking, make the guacamole. Scoop out the flesh of the avocados into a medium bowl. Add the onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and mash to desired consistency. Stir in chopped kale.
  6. Divide the cauliflower rice between bowls. Top with chipotle tempeh and serve with the guacamole on the side.

You might also like:

Chorizo Tempeh and Potato Tacos
Chorizo Tempeh and Potato Tacos
Honey Bourbon BBQ Tempeh
Honey Bourbon BBQ Tempeh
Sriracha Tofu Cauliflower Rice Bowl 

Sriracha Tofu Cauliflower Rice Bowl 

Raw Walnut Meat Tacos with Cashew Sour Cream

 Recreating a dish from one of my favorite local restaurants with these raw walnut meat tacos with cashew sour cream! 

Five years ago, when my now husband was offered a job outside Columbia, I wasn't exactly thrilled. Faced with the choice of spending more time in a long distance relationship or moving to a town commonly referred to as "the armpit of the south," it kinda felt like a lose-lose situation.

After living here five years, I have to say, Columbia isn't half bad - it's kind of grown on me! When we first moved here, there really wasn't much to do in the conservative capitol of SC other than go out for burgers or to a college bar. But over the only but over the past few years, Columbia has evolved tremendously, and we've discovered a few hidden gems - the best Thai restaurant outside of Thailand, a craft beer and growler store with all local brews, and we even got Trader Joe's and Whole Foods to join our Earth Fare and Fresh Market. Movin' on up!

I decided we officially made it when Good Life Cafe, a raw, vegan restaurant opened on Main Street. For realz. The city of burgers, pimento cheese and mediocre college football (couldn't help it!) now has a restaurant with items like cashew cheese, kelp noodles and eggplant bacon right smack dab in the middle of downtown. I did little happy dance when I first walked through the doors.

I've been there a few times, and everything has been amazing. But the raw vegan tacos are by far my favorite.

I know what you're thinking. Raw, vegan and taco are not three words you would expect to hear, or maybe want to hear in the same sentence. But hear me out. The filling, made from walnuts, is finely chopped into a ground beef texture and seasoned with all sorts of smoky spices. It's then drizzled in cashew nacho cheese, which y'all already know I'm a fan of. It's served with big scoops of guacamole and salsa on top of the crispiest raw tortilla shell, which I have no clue how to make so I used a regular tortilla (which isn't raw, but you know, I don't do raw food diets and/or labels).

I think you're going to fall in love with this nut meat (go ahead and giggle). The soy sauce, spices and sun-dried tomatoes give it a rich, smoky flavor and it really does taste surprisingly meaty!

Raw Tacos with Walnut Meat and Cashew Sour Cream

Serves 4

Ingredients

Sour Cream:

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked 2 hours in water, drained
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Walnut Meat:

  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, soaked 2 hours in water, drained
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Dash cayenne
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Pico de Gallo:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 large yellow onion, finely minced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Tacos:

  • 8 small toasted corn tortillas or lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup prepared or homemade guacamole
  • Nut meat (see above)
  • Cashew sour cream (see above)
  • Pico de gallo (see above)

Instructions

  1. First, make the sour cream. In a food processor, blend the cashews with 1/4 cup water, apple cider vinegar and salt. If you like a thinner consistency, add another tablespoon or two of water. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Rinse out the food processor. Place the walnuts, soy sauce, sun dried tomatoes, spices, and minced garlic in the food processor and blend until it forms a crumbly, ground beef consistency. Be careful not to blend it too long or you'll get a very weird, savory nut butter! Season with salt and black pepper and set aside until ready to use.
  3. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the pico de gallo and season with salt to taste.
  4. Toast the tortillas over a low gas flame. Divide nut meat among the tortillas. Dollop with guacamole and cashew sour cream. Serve with pico on the side.

More meatless tacos:

Crispy Tofu Tacos

Crispy Tofu Tacos

Crispy Sriracha Lime Cauliflower Tacos 

Crispy Sriracha Lime Cauliflower Tacos 

Fried Avocado Tacos 

Fried Avocado Tacos