Mexican Extravaganza!

Hello Gluten Warriors!

My husband is a perpetually hungry vegan who is forced to live gluten-free because of yours-truly… but unlike me, he eats so much! Therefore, I am often resorting to food that it is filling (read: high in good fats), high in protein, and (as always) ideally cooked in one pot.

Enter: Mexican-inspired cuisine.

One of my go-to dishes is this super-satisfying Mexican nacho dish! It’s all vegan and gluten-free, but looks and tastes like the real deal! It’s a big dish and it doesn’t keep well (only for the amazing reason that it is a whole gloppy mess of deliciousness!), so bring in the hungry people! It also works really well as a party appetizer, as nachos are wont to do.

P.S. If you’d like something that can be eaten in smaller portions, try my Mexican Burrito Bowl recipe. It’s the demure counterpart to this unapologetically loud and beautiful one!

Now… back to your regularly-scheduled,  luscious and abundant nachos recipe:

Vegan Mexican Nachos!

Vegan Mexican Nachos!

One-dish wonder with all essential macronutrients! All GF!

One-dish wonder with all essential macronutrients! All GF!

Ingredients

  • About 100g or 2 cups of corn chips (please buy the gluten-free variety with as few ingredients as well, and as always, with corn, go organic!)
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 onion or leek
  • 1 large avocado
  • 4 small tomatoes
  • A small bunch of cilantro (if you’re into cilantro)
  • Half a lime
  • Half can of red or black beans
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • Vegan cheese (optional) (Important: check for gluten-free variety)
  • 3 tablespoons of vegan soy yoghurt (Important: check for gluten-free variety)
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (Important: check for gluten-free variety)
  • 30g or so of tempeh or tofu, broken up into small pieces. You can also use mushrooms instead or in addition to the tempeh/tofu.
  • 5 tablespoons of tomato sauce or tomato paste
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chilli powder to taste (optional)

Method

1. First, we start with the starches! Grease a large baking dish with olive oil. Throw in the cubed sweet potato.

2. Cut up onion or leeks in thin slices, and mix in with the cubed potatoes. Drizzle in olive oil, salt and pepper.

3. Bake in oven for 20 mins at 180 degrees Celsius.

4. In the meantime, saute the tempeh/tofu/mushrooms in a small pan, and add the tomato sauce. Depending on your taste, you can add salt, pepper, cilantro, and/or chilli to the mix. I like mine spicy (but you knew that!). This is our vegan chili con carne.

5. Also in the meantime, let’s make the guacamole! Now this is easy to do, but the trick to amazingness is in finding the right avocados! I prefer Hass over the other 17 kinds! You’ll want ones that are ever-so-slightly soft on the outside, and have tips (I call them “belly buttons”) that break off easily, revealing a light green inside. So slice open a perfectly ripe avocado, remove the seed (there’s an easy way to do it – Google!), and scoop out the insides into a bowl. To that bowl, add the diced tomatoes, the juice of half a lime, a teaspoon of salt, some pepper to taste, chopped cilantro if you like it. Mix, mix, mix!

6. Now, take your dish out of the oven and assemble the rest of the nacho extravaganza! First, give the sweet potatoes a toss to ensure the seasoning is evenly coating those succulent little cubes! Next, layer of half can of beans on top of the baked sweet potatoes. Third, stick the corn chips all over the dish, ideally at an angle, so that it is not completely covered with the beans. Sprinkle with vegan cheese if you are going to use it. In general, I avoid processed food, even when it is vegan… and this dish doesn’t even really need it. Put the whole thing back into the oven for a quick 5-minute heat up!

7. In this time, make the vegan sour cream! Add the vegan yoghurt (ideally chilled and able to keep it’s yoghurt-like form) to the nutritional yeast, and mix! You can add some lime juice to this too if you like it extra sour.

8. Take the dish out of the oven… everything is now nice and warm! Now, layer the chili con carne over the chips rather randomly over the whole dish. You know, like actual nachos! After that, do the same with the guacamole. Next, the shredded carrot is sprinkled over. It will actually look like American cheddar cheese! Finally, the vegan sour cream goes on top, also in blobs across the dish.

Oooooooh! Tantalizingly delish. Enjoy with friends and a bottle of vegan wine.

Quick note: Behold below a photo of a variation of this recipe, if you want to skip the tasty chips and vegan sour cream (making your meal extra healthy and zero-waste as well)…

Peace,

Daisy

A variation sans nachos: Vegan Mexican-inspired one-dish dinner bake...

A variation sans nachos: Vegan Mexican-inspired one-dish dinner bake…

Wrap it up!

Hello Wonderful Gluten-Fearing People!

Today I thought I would share an all-time favourite and fun-to-make recipe of mine: spring rolls! It’s spring here in Switzerland, and rice paper spring rolls are just always a joy to make.

Important: Rice paper is a stiff, thin “paper” you can buy in almost any Asian store. You’ll want to get 100% rice-based roll paper, ideally from a country where the staple is rice (so the rice mills are not cross-contaminated with wheat flour or oat flour or something similar).  Think Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam or Malaysia. Sometimes the rice paper can contain tapoica, which is fine. Just check and double check the ingredients. Ask the store owner if you can.

Example of Rice Paper from Vietnam. Source: ebay.co.uk

Example of Rice Paper from Vietnam. Source: ebay.co.uk

This dish is a great starter and works really well when entertaining guests. It’s easy to prepare, easy to eat, and brings to mind the freshness of spring – good vibes!

Beautifully presented for parties or when you have guests... swirls around the soy sauce!

Beautifully presented for parties or when you have guests… swirls around the soy sauce!

Each roll is chewy and unique in taste, because it’s likely got a unique balance of veggies in it. Guaranteed to please!

Gorgeous veggies peaking through through the partially-translucent rice paper...

Gorgeous veggies peaking through through the partially-translucent rice paper…

Ingredients

  • 10 pieces of rice paper (see note above; square or round shape are both fine!)
  • Hot water (doesn’t have to be boiling – say 50-70 degrees Celsius or so)
  • Any veggies you have on hand, sliced thinly. Ones that work well: carrots, zucchini, cucumber, red cabbage, mushrooms, tofu, tempeh. Very “wet” veggies, such as tomatoes, don’t work so well. Neither do veggies high in starch, such as potatoes.
  • Peanuts, if you like them (salted or unsalted are fine, but please check the packaging to make sure they are gluten-free!) (optional)
  • Scallions/leeks/onions, lightly sauteed (optional)

For the dipping sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons of peanut butter (ideal is unsweetened, but both will work! Check the bottle to ensure it is gluten-free)
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey or agave or molasses (or dissolved sugar)
  • 4 tablespoons of tamari soy sauce (Important: use organic and gluten-free varieties only! I like brands with as few ingredients as possible!)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, cut up in small slices (for brewing)
  • Half a piece of ginger, also cut up in small slices (for brewing)
  • A little bit of chilli powder, cut fresh chillies, or chilli sauce to spice things up (optional)

Method

1. Prepare all your veggies – cut them up in thin slices and lay them out in a conveyor-belt set-up. This will make rolling easier later on.

2. You can use the veggies raw, or, if you prefer, you can lightly stir-fry some of them. Scallions, mushrooms, tofu, broccoli, and cabbage tastes better (to me!) when lightly stir-fried. Don’t overdo the seasoning – only a little salt if you must! You’ll have a beautiful dipping sauce later.

3. Prepare the rolling process by heating up some water and putting it in a flat, wide dish, like a baking tray. Water doesn’t have to be super hot – approximately 50-70 degrees Celsius is fine.

4. Now the fun part! Wet each sheet of rice paper – through the water bath – and lay it on a flat surface (like a smooth, glass plate). The paper doesn’t have to be super soft at this point. If it is starting to rip or sticking to itself, you are waiting too long in the water or wetting it too thoroughly. You’ll just want to make sure it is wet all the way through, and get on to your business of rolling. The water will spread out and keep the paper soft over time.

5. When the rice paper is on your flat surface, add a little bit of your cut veggies to the center of the rice paper. If you have peanuts, you can add a few pieces as well. Don’t over0stuff the roll, or your paper will break or leak!

6. Fold the sides of the paper in, and then roll up the whole paper. Do a quick check to ensure the paper hasn’t broken and nothing is falling out.

7. Keep doing that until all your veggies are used up!

8. For the sauce: Infuse the soy sauce (tamari) by heating it up to medium heat in a small sauce pan with the garlic and ginger. If you want it spicy, add the cut fresh chillies to the mix. Don’t boil the soy sauce! As soon as the soy sauce starts bubbling in the pan, turn off the heat and remove from the stove to let it cool down for about 5 minutes.

9. After those 5 minutes, strain out (or remove) the garlic and ginger (and chillies). If you are cooking something else, you can always use the delicious soy-infused garlic and ginger in it. But for our purposes, take out the garlic and ginger from the liquid. Add the peanut butter, vinegar, and maple syrup and stir until a thick paste forms. If you want to make it spicy, you can add a dash of chilli powder or chilli sauce.

10. Taste it! Adjust it to your taste. I often find I need to add more maple syrup. :)

11. Pour the mixture in a small, shallow container. This will be your dipping container. If you want, you can make several versions of the dipping sauce for fun. A good trio: plain soy sauce (tamari), a spicy sauce, and a medium peanut sauce.

Sometimes, I add a bit of the sauce right into the rice paper roll… along with a few peanuts for a little extra crunch! But you always want extra sauce for dipping. Because peanut sauce is amazing!

You can even use the same method rice paper wrap method to creatively present your left-overs. Works well when wrapping up any stir-fried or roasted veggie left-overs.

Till the next time… wrap it up, folks! :)

Peace,

Daisy

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