Archive for the ‘sriracha’ Category

It happens every year. The weather starts to warm up, and suddenly I’m all about salads. Even though our weather has been amazingly cool (so far) this May, my tummy starts craving some lighter, cooler, yet still filling and delicious, fare.  Another nice thing about salads is that they are pretty easy and fast to put together.  A little chopping, a little shredding, a little tossing, and you’re good to go.

The inspiration for this salad comes from Native Foods‘ ‘Yo Amigo Taco Salad.’  The first time I ordered it, Megan, my server (who also works with me as a personal trainer), suggested that I ordered it tossed. It became my favorite for a while, although it was never quite as delicious as the first time (true about a lot of things, huh?). Anyway, as I tend to do when I find a restaurant dish that I like, I tried to re-create it at home. With some success, I’d say.

(I apologize for the quality of the pictures in this post. After killing my camera during our trip to Knott’s Berry Farm last weekend, I have ordered a new one, but in the meantime I’m using my several years old Kodak EasyShare.)

Step 1: The Veggies

I chose the vegetables for this salad based on two requirements: One-they needed to create a nice variety of color and taste combination; and two-I needed to have them in the refrigerator.  One nice benefit from this method of veggie selection is that this salad is always just a little different each time you make it. So for today’s salad we have:

Cucumber, tomato, onion, orange and yellow pepper, cauliflower, and carrot. Chop them up into small pieces (I shredded the carrot). About 1.5-2 cups. Other excellent veggie choices would be corn, celery, zucchini, broccoli, or just about anything your taste buds desire (just remember the color rule, though).

Step 2:  The Greens

The ‘whatever you have on hand’ rule applies here, too. For this salad I had romaine and kale.  I steam the kale for a few minutes so that it will be tender, then rinse it in cold water and put it in the refrigerator until I’m ready to toss everything together. Chop the greens into bite sized pieces and toss together with the vegetables.

Step 3: The stuff that makes it a ‘Taco Salad.’

I cooked about 4 ounces of vegan ground ‘beef’ and 4 ounces of Soyrizo. Season to your taste with chili powder, onion powder, and salt. If you have a favorite taco filling recipe, you can use that. I’m trying to keep it simple, remember. After cooking, I let it cool a bit, then added it to the salad.

I also had some Daiya Cheddar, so I added about a half cup.

Step 4: The Dressing

Start with vegan ranch dressing (I make my own from this recipe from Meet the Shannons). Mix in Sriracha to taste (yes, it’s Asian, not Mexican, but oh, so yummy!). Toss it all together and divide into two bowls.

Step 5: The Toppings

Finish your salad by adding sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, and a small handful of crushed, vegan tortilla chips.

This is the perfect summer (or anytime) salad. It is light, yet filling; easy to prepare, yet offers a nice variety of flavors and textures. I know I’ll be making it again soon.

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>Here’s the scenario, we’ve all been there. It’s getting close to dinner time. I don’t really have a plan for dinner, so I do one of those “fridge scans,” where you stand in front of the open refrigerator door, peek in the drawers, check out the freezer, and wonder, “what do we want for dinner.”

When I opened the freezer and saw this Vicolo Corn Meal Pizza Crust, I decided that pizza sounded like a wonderful idea. I leaned into the fridge to gather ingredients.  And quickly discovered that I did not have mozzarella-Daiya, only cheddar-Daiya. Okay, I can work around that. Next discovery, no tomatoes, tomato sauce, or even anything closely resembling pizza or pasta sauce. Hmmm, getting more challenging. Also, my favorite pizza topping, mushrooms, were looking a little, well, out of date.

So instead, I focused on what I did have. I did have onion, zucchini, red pepper, and Serrano peppers. I had the cheddar-Daiya, I had salsa, and joy of joys, I had Soy-rizo! Finally, and best of all, I had a new product that I just read about over on Quarrygirl.com the other day, ordered online, and had received just yesterday: Vegan Queso! This new, scrumptious queso is made by Food for Lovers with nutritional yeast and other yummy ingredients and has only 20 calories per two tablespoon serving. Seriously, it’s like the perfect food! Oh, and I had a bottle of Sriracha. Now, I had a plan.

I diced up a little onion, red pepper, zucchini, and a seeded Serrano. Not too much, just about two tablespoons of each vegetable. I sauteed the veggies in a little olive oil. When they were just getting soft, I scooted them to the side and added the Soy-rizo to the pan. About four ounces.

For the sauce, I mixed a quarter cup of the Queso with a quarter cup of the salsa, then a dash or two of Sriracha to taste. I had been worried about this combination until I took a taste. Oh. My. Gosh! A little taste of heaven.

 With the pizza stone heating in a 425 oven, I prepared my pizza. Spread on the sauce, sprinkled a good amount of the Daiya on top, then the Soy-rizo and finally the veggies. Popped it in the oven and 15 minutes later, voila:

I honestly think this is one of the most delicious things I have ever cooked. The corn meal crust was perfect for the spicy sauce and toppings.  We’ll be seeing this again soon.

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