Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure to meet the amazing Sarah B, author and photographer of My New Roots, as part of a series of cooking classes. If you are a habitual reader of this blog, you know how much I love her blog, and everything it stands for. Real, whole foods, deliciously prepared, and beautifully presented. Like her, I don’t believe in branding myself as a vegetarian, or vegan, for that matter, but a person that eats healthful and wholesome fresh local foods. I eat mostly vegetables and fruits, but I also like chocolate cookies, and ice cream. I like big flavors, and a lot of spice. Vegetarianism does not mean boring, or bland. It does not mean brown rice, steamed vegetables, and tofu. Not that there is anything wrong with that either.
In Sarah’s class we discussed the topic raw foods, and how to transform raw ingredients into delicious dishes that could fool any omnivore. As a class, we prepared raw tacos made delicious with refreshing salsa, walnut meat, avocadoes, and cashew sour cream. All of these concoctions were beautifully hand wrapped in delicate cabbage leaves. To say the least, we devoured everything, licked our fingers as we moved to dessert as we talked about how to lead better lives.
Out of all the components we prepared for our Taco Fiesta, one of them stuck with me. I needed to figure out more ways to incorporate the walnut meat into more dishes. As much as I love tacos, I didn’t want to use walnut meat just for that.
Walnut meat comes together in seconds. To make it, you just need basic ingredients, and a food processor. The result, a meaty, umami-filled, spicy “meat” that you can use on almost everything. For a more hearty vegetarian friendly meal, use this recipe atop a bowl of pasta, quinoa, or rice. If you are thinking of eating less meat, but don’t want to miss out on flavor or texture, this is it!
The recipe for this salad was born on a late weeknight. I arrived late from work, starving as usual, tired from a long day. I did not want to turn the stove on to make dinner, so instead of cooking the corn, as I usually do, I left is raw. The sweet delicate texture of raw corn merits equal respect as its cooked counterpart. To accompany the corn, I combined walnut meat, sweet bell pepper, and delicate micro greens, for a satisfying mid-week meal. This salad is rustic, full of flavor and oh-so delicious.
Spicy Walnut Meat
Adapted from My New Roots
- ½ raw walnuts
- 1 tbsp. tamari soy sauce (the GF. Alternative to regular soy sauce)
- 1/8 tbsp. ground chipotle pepper
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. olive oil
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse just to mix; over-blending will result in savoury walnut butter.
Spicy Raw Corn Salsa
- Kernels from 2 ears of corn (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 small bell pepper (chopped into small ¼ inch cubes)
- 2 cups micro greens
- ¼ cup sprouts of choice (broccoli, radish, mung bean, etc.)
- ¼ cup Spicy Walnut Meat (this is a rough amount, you can put as much or as little as you want)
- 1 tbsp. good olive oil
- 1tsp. rice vinegar
- salt to taste
There are different techniques to slice the kernels off the corn ear. To see different techniques, click here. I just run a knife down the corn onto a cutting board, and try to get as much of the ear as possible.
Place corn, chopped bell pepper, micro greens, and sprouts in a bowl. Add salt, oil, and vinegar. Mix until evenly distributed. Top with walnut meat. Serve immediately.