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Vegan Taco Salad

This is another one I can’t take credit for. I know he won’t like me calling him out like this on ye ole’ blog (sowwy), but Brian thought this one up, and surprisingly (!) was okay with replacing real meat with meatless crumbles. The result was a really, really ridiculously good looking taco salad that tasted just as good. Not gonna lie – best part was the Fritos. WHO DOESN’T LIKE FRITOS?!?

What You Need:

1 package of meatless crumbles (I used Trader Joes’ version. )

1 package taco seasoning (or make your own!)

3/4 can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups romaine lettuce

1 cup cherry tomatoes – halved

1 cup Fritos (or, again, Trader Joe’s version.)

1/2 avocado, cubed

What You Do:

First part is preparing the “meat” + bean concoction. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add one tbsp of olive oil to the pan. Let heat for a few minutes and add in the entire package of crumbles. Using a spatula, break the crumbles up, stirring and letting heat through. Add in the taco seasoning and sautee everything, mixing often – about five minutes. Add in the beans, continue stirring, and add more seasoning if necessary. At this point, add in another tbps of olive oil and continue sauteeing for one more minute.

In a separate bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, Fritos and avocado. Remove the beans and crumbles from the heat, and add them to the remaining ingredients. Stir well and dig in!

Other add-ins that would work in here:

  • Chopped red onion
  • Black olives
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (vegan or non)
  • Sour cream (vegan or non)

Any other ideas!?

Obsessed: Kale

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Kale, glorious KALE! (sung to the tune of “Food, Glorious Food”, from Oliver. Oh, come on. I know you know it.)

I am, at the moment, head over heels in love with kale. Sure, I’ve eaten kale before but only on rare occasions and never from my own kitchen. Whole Foods salad bar? That’s one thing. My refrigerator? That is QUITE another.

I’ve recently been reading tons of praise for this crinkly green vegetable, and after coming across some recipes that looked easy, I have been making it A LOT (see: three times a week). So, I’m going to share the “Kale Breakdown” with you in the hopes that you too will be hooked like I am.

Why Should I Be Eating Kale?

Alright peeps, get with the program. You haven’t heard? Kale is like, all the rage right now. Why? This snazzy pic summarizes it better than I can. (Also, it’s pretty and colorful.)

As you can see kale is super low in calories and packed with tons of good stuff like Fiber, Iron, Vitamins A, C, K, B6 (all you Vegans, you listening?), Calcium and Potassium (among other awesome things).

Okay, I get it. It’s “good” for you, or whatever, but what do I DO with it?

Ah yes, the age old question of: “What the EFF am  I supposed to do with this stuff?” Don’t fret, my friends. There is a TON of stuff you can do with kale! The first thing to do is decide whether you want to ingest its leafy goodness raw, or cooked.

Raw:

This is how I typically eat my kale. I use it in salads to replace my normal romaine lettuce, mixed greens, or spinach. The trick, and this is very important so listen up, is to let the kale soak up the dressing for a good 15-20 minutes before eating it. You can do this one of two ways: either rub the dressing into the kale with your bare hands (the quicker way) or dress the leaves and let them sit either on your counter or in the fridge. Either way, the kale will begin to wilt (which is a good thing!) and the once scary, stiff looking, crunchy stuff that you feared picking up at the grocery store turns into deliciousness, blowing your old romaine straight out of the water (okay, so maybe I’m going slightly overboard but I’m trying to get you guys into this! It’s GOOD! seriously.)

Here is what I do:

I take one bunch of kale, rinse it, and then split it into two halves. Each half will make up one entree sized serving (or if you’re serving two people use the whole bunch.) I then remove the leaves from the stems, ripping the larger leaves in half. I slightly pat the leaves dry. Then comes the fun part: dressing it. Lately I’ve been using a pretty standard mix of ingredients: olive oil, soy sauce, a little bit of sesame seed oil and a TON of lemon (juice of half a lemon). Once the leaves are covered in this mixture, I let it sit, like I said, for about 20 minutes. You’ll see the leaves soaking everything up and turning a dark green.

While this is going on, I chop up anything I can get my hands on. Avocado, tomatoes, beets, walnuts, red onion, red pepper – really, ANYTHING. By this time, the leaves are ready. I add everything and then devour. The end! Here is a picture of a salad I made a few weeks ago. Are you inspired yet?

Some other ideas for raw kale:

Classic Kale Salad – Whole Foods Recipe

Fruity Kale Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing

BLT Kale Salad

Cooked:

I’ve never tried this method because I’m currently too wrapped up in raw kale to bother with cooking it, but apparently kale can be used in a host of different stews, soups and pastas. I can’t imagine that you could go wrong with it! Here are some ideas if you should choose to be adventures with your new found love of kale:

Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup

Chickpea, Sausage and Kale Pasta

Lentil Stew with Kale and Potatoes

And FINALLY, the last way to enjoy kale: KALE CHIPS! If you walk away from this post with one thing, dear readers, I hope that it is this little recipe for kale chips. They are so delicious, easy to make, and fool you into thinking you’re eating something bad for you, when in reality you’re not. Not even a little.

Kale Chips

So go ahead, give it and any one of these recipes a shot. I promise you won’t be disappointed!