Quinoa with taco like Seasoning – ShayLoss inspired!

So I was watching my Youtube subscriptions today and there was a new video from ShayLoss. For those who have never seen his videos, its a channel of this guy named Shay who used to be really obese and now hes lost a bunch of weight. He gives tips for healthy living and weight loss, etc. He is not a vegan, but he gives good advice. His video today was a recipe, click HERE for the video, but warned though its 23 minutes long. The gist of this video was a recipe for a quinoa salsa/taco filling sorta thing. It was good sounding, but you know me, I had to change it a bit. It tasted SO good I knew I had to share. So please try this. Everything you need for it is in season right now!

Ingredients:

2 cups white quinoa, rinsed VERY well
3 cups water
3 large tomatoes , diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 medium white onion, diced finely
1 bunch cilantro, minced
1 hot pepper (optional), minced and seeded
3 tablespoons garlic, minced finely
1-2 limes, juiced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed VERY well
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (no more than 20% sodium per tablespoon, less is better)
1 tablespoon cumin powder

Directions:

Start out by rinsing your quinoa very well. The easiest way to do this is use a large bowl and place the quinoa in it. Fill with very warm/hot water and use your hands to kinda squeeze the quinoa. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt it! Drain the water by slightly tipping the bowl, I do this over a fine mesh strainer in-case I spill some. Repeat this until the water is clean and the qunioa does not feel slimy or has lots of bubbles.

Bring your 3 cups of water to a boil in a larger sized pot with a lid. Add in your quinoa when the water is vigorously boiling. Stir well to ensure there are no clumps. Reduce the heat to a simmer (that’s a 2 or 3 on electric stoves). Cover with the lid and let cook for 5 minutes. Stir and recover. Let cook for 10 more minutes. Stir again making sure to scrap the bottom. If all your water has been absorbed, recover and turn off the heat and let set 10 minutes. If it still needs time to cook off the water, give it 5 more minutes. (after a total of 20 minutes, if you still have water left, you’ll need to strain it because you probably added too much, don’t worry its still fine!)

While your quinoa is resting for 10 minutes, prepare all your other ingredients. Keep in mind you want your veggies in smaller sized pieces. Core your tomatoes and dice them. Seed a bell pepper and finely dice. Mince a medium onion or thinly slice. Mince your garlic and wash in warm water to remove bitterness. Finely mince your cilantro, I choose not to use the stems since they are tough, but you can if you want. If you want a little extra flavor, add a FINELY minced chili pepper. I suggest removing the seeds, but if you want super spicy you can leave them in. I used a Fresno pepper, they’re red in color and have a nice spice and flavor. Open a can of chickpeas and rinse them very well, there should be no bubbles left and no slimy texture.

After your quinoa has rested, add all your prepared vegetables. Stir well and break up any clumps of quinoa. Now juice your limes into the mixture. I used a HUGE lime (it was the size of a lemon, no joking!) so I only needed one, however you might need two. Taste as you go and adjust the flavor. Stir well again.

In a small bowl, add your oils, soy sauce, and cumin powder. Whisk this together well and then add it into the quinoa. Stir VERY well. This is your sauce so you want to ensure you get it on all the pieces.

Try it now, if it needs more salt, add more soy sauce or use coarse salt. If it needs more tangyness, add more lime juice. Serve warm with tortillas or chip. OR Serve cold and mix with lettuce or cooked pasta for a new flavor.

I honestly have no clue how much this makes since I didn’t measure it, however I ended up with a large dutch oven full of it! I’m guessing around 10 cups. This is an amazing recipe and I think one that everyone should try, even if you’re not sure about the quinoa. If you cannot find quinoa for some reason I would suggest trying this with couscous if you can eat gluten or buckwheat groats if you cannot. The nutritional information is for quinoa and all the ingredients listed above. Serving size I gave was 100g, however in the picture above that is a small 5 inch plate with 312g on it. While it still does have fat added to it, its far less than the original recipe and honestly it adds to the flavor. I ate this with a little bit of chipotle salsa on-top. Enjoy! (and yes, as you can see this is a kitty approved recipe!)

Homemade Gluten Free Vegan Pizza (It’s what was for dinner!)

So I bought a new product the other day at Whole Foods; this vegan gluten free cheese called Daiya. I’ve seen many a vegan rave about this stuff claiming it tastes “EXACTLY” like real mozzarella cheese. Well I won’t go into huge detail about it (review coming soon!); however I will say its much better cooked than not. I started out making a crust which is hard to see since I like thin crust. Sauteing some soy chorizo, prepped all the veggies. Rolled out my crust on a silpat, flipped into a pan. Pre Baked at 375 for 6 minutes, and ladies and gentlemen the rest was history. Now, in my house I have 1 die hard meat eater, and my husband who is more of a flexitarian like myself, however, this pizza has my step son fooled it was meat and my husband shocked it was gluten free AND vegan. Best of all, my stomach didn’t freak out from the milk or the gluten and at the end of the day we were all happy people. The following is the recipe as close as I could guess (I freehand all my recipes) because originally, I didn’t plan to post this, but it was so amazing I couldn’t resist. Depending on your flour brand and climate you might need more water or more flour.

Ingredients:

Crust:
2 cups gluten free flour mix (I suggest using my recipe, click HERE , however any brand will work that’s made for dough)
1 tablespoon yeast
2 pinches salt
1 1/2 tablespoons oil ( I used grape-seed)
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup warm water
heavy pinch corn flour for dusting, optional

Pizza:
1 pre baked crust (listed above)
1 medium (or 3/4 Large) bell pepper, I used red
1 cup green onion tops
small handful cilantro leaves
1/2 can of black olives, drained and rinsed well
1 bag Daiya mozzarella flavor cheese shreds
1 tube Cacique soy-chorizo (or 8-10oz any vegetarian chorizo)
1-2 cups your favorite pasta sauce or see note below**

Directions:

I started with the chorizo. You’ll want to follow the directions on the package because they vary, but you want to cook it over medium to medium high until the color darkens and it gets crispy. You might have to go a few extra minutes. Great thing is, you can precook this an hour in advance or a few minutes like I did.

For the crust: In a food processor put your water, salt, yeast, sugar, and oil. Pulse until the yeast is blended in well and let set 5 minutes giving it time to “bloom”. We will not be letting this dough rise, however, blooming the yeast will give it the traditional taste of pizza crust without the hassle.

Once your yeast starts to bubble and look like a science experiment. Take 1 1/2 cups of flour and add it to your food processor. Turn it on and let it blend. Slowly add more flour until the mixture comes together and looks like dough. You might need 2 cups or 3 cups of flour, it just varies. If you add a bit too much, don’t worry you can always add a splash of water.

At this point, preheat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Get a silpat or a piece of parchment or wax paper and put it on your counter. Put your dough on the counter and roll it to your desired thickness. We went for thin crust which only needs to prebake for 6 minutes, however; if you want something thicker you’ll want to 2X or 1.5X this recipe and prebake it for 12 minutes. Optionally you can take a pinch of corn meal at this point and dust on-top of the dough all over, this will prevent sticking later. If you prefer you can use nonstick spray on the pan. A good tip for transferring the dough is to put the pizza pan ontop of the counter with the dough sheet, slide your hand under the paper (silpat) and center it. Now in a rather quick, but smooth motion, flip the pan right-side up while holding the dough in place. Carefully peel off the paper or silpat and its that simple. Prebake your pizza until the top starts to firm up.

While crust is prebaking, prepare the toppings. Cut up bell pepper into 1/4 inch pieces. Halve the black olives, slice the tops off green onions, finely mince cilantro leaves, take the cheese out of the fridge, get your pasta sauce (see note if you don’t have**), and let your chorizo warm up if pre-made.

Take out the crust; spread your sauce on. I don’t like a lot of sauce, but use more if you want. Add the bell pepper, half the green onions, cheese, chorizo, other half of green onion tops, black olives, and cilantro. Adding the toppings in that order ensures the veggies cook enough to be tender and the chorizo is still crisp.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes depending on how well you want the crust and the toppings cooked. If your oven runs hot, starting checking at 15 minutes. When done you’ll have what I nicknamed the “Monster Pizza”. Over flowing with melted gooey cheese, “sausage”, lots of veggies and crazy amounts of flavor. You can’t tell its vegan, you can’t tell its gluten free, but you can tell its awesome, and kid approved! 😉

**Note: If you don’t have pre-made pasta sauce an easy substitute is to keep canned tomatoes on hand. I prefer any fire roasted canned tomato product. Take chopped roasted tomatoes, strain liquid, and pulse in food processor a few times to blend part of it up and then use that in-place of sauce. Its super simple and quick for those pizza emergencies. (this also works as a tasty quick pasta sauce!)

*Also: If you don’t happen to like the toppings I’ve chosen, feel free to change them. I was just using what I had in the fridge at the time.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: If you are making this and/or cooking for someone with gluten allergies or celiacs disease. Make sure to purchase ingredients that are certified gluten free, and clean your utensils very well. Better safe than sorry.

TIME SAVING TIP: You ever tempted by those ready-bake pizzas you buy at the grocery store, well never again! Make the crust, prebake and let cool down. Top with all your toppings and shrink wrap and store in freezer. Pizza will keep for 3-6 months. To bake just add 5-10 extra minutes onto cooking time. Try making mini pizzas and let your kids top their own, fun for the whole family!

(Nutritional information assume you used the same ingredients and serving size is 1/8th)

Fresh Tomatoe Salsa ( tomatoes el fresco ) , gluten free & raw vegan friendly

This fresh tomato (tomatoe) salsa or tomatoes el fresco, is a staple in my house when tomatoes are in season! Its great on eggs, salads, fresh chips, you could even eat it by itself if you wanted! The possiblities are nearly endless with this dish. As if it couldn’t get better, this is a super fast, simple, and CHEAP budget friendly recipe that is not only gluten free, but raw vegan friendly. So lets make this tasty salsa!

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Ingredients:

1.5lbs of your favorite tomatoes, I used romas & yellow grape, but any will work
1/2c – 1 1/2c chopped onion
2 tablespoons raw olive oil
5-10 grinds black pepper
1/2tsp or to taste good quality salt, I suggest pink salt
1 bunch fresh cilantro or 2 tablespoons dried parsley ( I used dried parsley, however fresh cilantro is more traditional)
***Optional: other items as desired to taste, I suggest bell peppers, hot minched peppers, etc***

Directions:

Wash your tomatoes well and cut just the very top stem part off. Slice your tomatoes into your desired size and add to a bowl. I choose not to seed or devein my tomatoes because I want the liquid from the inside to marinade with the salsa, however you can choose to seed them & adjust your seasoning accordingly. Slice your onions up and add to the bowl. Add your olive oil, sprinkle with salt, black pepper, herbs, and any additional toppings as desired.
Toss well with your hands, being careful not to squish your tomatoes.
Set your salsa on the counter for 10 minute, then store in the fridge a minimum of 8-12 hours before using for best flavor. This salsa will stay fresh in the refridgerator for 1-2 weeks!

Makes: approx. 4 cups prepared, Preparation: 15 minutes + 8-12 hours in fridge *for best flavor* (nutritional information shown is for 1 cup salsa)

dietary notes: this recipe is raw vegan friendly & gluten free