Archive for July, 2008

Taco Salad


I went through a long period in my childhood wherein the only thing that I would order at restaurants was taco salad. If there was no taco salad on the menu, there was trouble. So, having tried many a taco salad, I think that my recipe is not too shabby. Try it and see what you think. This is the last installment in my series of “Things to Do with Salsa.” If you missed out, check out the posts over the last week.

Taco Salad
Serves 4

4 cups lettuce, torn
½ tsp. lime juice
½ tsp. olive oil
¼ cup corn
½ cup black beans
2 tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
1 bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
2 green onions, sliced (about ½ cup)
½ cup red onion, finely diced
1 avocado, diced (about 1 cup)
1 cup salsa
½ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
½ cup goat feta cheese, crumbled

  1. In a large bowl, toss lettuce with lime juice and oil. Divide between 4 bowls or plates.
  2. Top each salad with ¼ of the remaining ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

P.S. I made this recipe to serve four so that you wouldn’t have leftover avocado, but feel free to cut it down if you want to make it for 2 or even just you. To preserve the remaining avocado, keep it in its shell with the pit and rub the exposed green flesh with lemon or lime juice. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and it should keep for a day or two.


July 31, 2008 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

Tofu Ranchero

Tofu Scramble

Here’s a vegan take on huevos rancheros, one of my favourite brunch items. Using salsa here saves a lot of prep time versus other tofu scramble recipes, because you don’t have many vegetables to chop up, but the recipe still has a nice fresh taste. Enjoy!

Tofu Ranchero
Makes 2 – 4 Servings

½ cup black beans
¼ cup corn
2 – 3 cloves garlic
½ tsp. olive oil
½ lb. tofu (about 1½ cups)
¾ cup salsa
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. turmeric
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a small non-stick frying pan, heat oil. Add garlic, corn and beans. Cook until garlic is cooked and corn and beans are thawed (if using frozen).
  2. Add tofu, mashing it between your thumb and forefinger to reach desired consistency.
  3. Add salsa, chili powder, turmeric, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook until heated through.
  4. Serve with toast, or in a tortilla for a vegan breakfast burrito

July 29, 2008 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

Veggie Quesadillas

Vegetarian Quesadilla

Often, vegetarian quesadillas are just a grilled tortilla filled with cheese, but it doesn’t have to be like that. This recipe has beans and sautéed veggies, and can still be made in under 20 minutes (if you use pre-made beans and salsa).

Veggie Quesadillas
Makes 2 servings

1 bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. olive oil
2 large whole wheat tortillas
1 cup refried beans
1 cup cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
12 pickled jalapeño slices, or to taste (optional)
½ cup salsa, store-bought or homemade

  1. In a small non-stick pan, heat the oil. Add the peppers, onions and chili powder and sauté until soft. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, spread ½ cup of beans across half of each tortilla.
  3. Sprinkle ½ cup of cheese over each tortilla.
  4. Place 6 jalapeño slices on each tortilla, if using jalapeños.
  5. Spread the cooked vegetables over the top.
  6. Fold the tortillas in half.
  7. Cook the tortillas in a large non-stick pan until the cheese is melty, about 5 minutes. Flip once during this time.
  8. Slice each quesadilla into four slices.
  9. Serve topped with salsa.

July 27, 2008 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

Veggie Burritos

Veggie BurritosA friend of mine recently commented that she rarely has tacos or burritos at home because they’re so hard to make and aren’t that great. I was shocked to hear this since burritos are one of the easiest and most favourite foods in my repertoire. If you use premade salsa and beans, and take advantage of my “easy guacamole” recipe below, these burritos can be ready to go in under 20 minutes. I hope that this recipe will help convert any taco-haters.

Veggie Burritos
Makes 4 Burritos

4 – 10″ burrito shells
1 – 14 oz. can (2 cups) refried beans (I really like Amy’s, but any vegetarian variety will do)
3 cups lettuce, torn
1 tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
½ bell pepper, chopped (about ½ cup)
2 scallions, chopped (about ½ cup)
¼ cup olives, chopped (optional)
1 cup Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Feta Cheese (optional)
½ cup plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)
½ cup salsa, homemade or store-bought
1 cup guacamole, or see simple recipe below
hot sauce, to taste

  1. Chop veggies and arrange them on a plate.
  2. Shred or crumble cheese, if using.
  3. Divide ingredients between the burrito shells or, better yet: let everyone make their own burrito.
  4. Enjoy


Easy Guacamole
Makes about 1 cup

1 avocado
¼ tsp. lemon or lime juice
¼ cup chopped onion (optional)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Mash the avocado and lemon juice together in a bowl.
  2. Add onion (if using) and pepper and mix well.
  3. Serve immediately.

July 25, 2008 at 8:30 am 2 comments


GuacamoleIf there is fresh salsa in the house, then homemade guacamole can’t be too far behind. This is another one of my mom’s favourite foods that I learned to love through her. Now she’s a big fan of my recipe and that makes me happy. The biggest trick to making guacamole is preventing it from going brown before you are done eating it. There are two things that I have found work well in this respect. First, combining the avocado and lime juice in a food processor (or mashing up the avocado very finely and mixing in the lime juice well before adding any other ingredients). Second, reserving the pit from the avocado and placing it in the centre of any uneaten guacamole. I don’t know why it works, but it does.

Makes about 2 cups

2 avocados
½ tsp. lime juice or lemon juice
¾ cup white onion, chopped
¾ cup tomato, chopped
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

  1. In a food processor (or in a bowl with a fork), mash avocado very finely and blend with lime juice.
  2. Add onion, tomato and pepper and mix together.

July 23, 2008 at 8:30 am 3 comments


Fresh Salsa

One of my favourite things about summer is making fresh salsa and enjoying it all week in a variety of ways, so I decided to devote this week on “Mind Your Peas and Cukes” to fresh salsa and things to do with it. Of course, any of the forthcoming recipes can be made with bottled salsa, but only if it’s winter or you don’t have a food processor. Otherwise there is no excuse for not making fresh salsa right now.

Makes about 5 cups

4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 – 4 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. salt
6 tomatoes, quartered (about 5 cups)
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed (about 1 cup)

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, chiles, cucumber, onion, cumin and salt. Pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Add tomatoes and cilantro and pulse until tomatoes are finely chopped. Taste and adjust salt as necessary.
  3. Serve immediately or let sit a few hours in the fridge to let the flavours combine.

Variation: For black bean salsa, add 1 cup black beans and ½ cup corn to the finished salsa.

July 21, 2008 at 8:30 am 3 comments

Tangy Strawberry Salad

Tangy Strawberry Salad

Mmmm! Summertime and the strawberries are finally worth eating again. I really don’t see the point of having such a wide range of produce all year round if it’s going to be icky and brown for 8 months of the year. I celebrated the return of plump, juicy, bright red strawberries this week by inventing this salad.

Tangy Strawberry Salad
Makes 2 large or 4 small servings

4 cups lettuce
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 cup cucumber, sliced and quartered
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup pine nuts

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  1. Divide the lettuce between 2 or 4 plates (depending on whether you are using this as a main or a side dish). Top with strawberries, cucumber, onions and pine nuts.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the oil, vinegar, mustard, syrup and pepper. Pour ½ (or ¼) of the dressing over each serving of salad. Serve immediately.

July 19, 2008 at 10:00 am 2 comments

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*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.