So this weekend, the weather in Toronto has gone from winter to late spring (finally!) and I decided to take Bodhi to my local dog park for a well-deserved play sesh with his doggy pals and a long walk on Friday. When I got home, I noticed he was following me around, had trouble sitting without looking uncomfortable and his trademark waggy tail was unusually limp. I brought him to the vet the very next day who concluded that he had swelling in his lower spine and tail region caused by inflammation of the spinal cord and muscles in the area and has ordered strict rest and minimal walking as well as some weight loss. (According to the vet he’s “fluffy” – but by no means significantly overweight – however with any spinal issue, maintaining a normal weight is necessary to avoid additional strain on the spine). No doubt all the jumping, twists and wrestling Bodhi was doing after a winter of practically no doggy play caused him to injure himself. Thankfully he’s on pain meds and anti-inflammatories, and seems to be slowly on the mend. I am very grateful, as the worst case scenario would have him seeing a neurologist and potentially requiring spinal surgery.
Needless to say, I didn’t have time to experiment with brand new recipes. As such, I’m using one of my many, many recipes that I’ve accumulated but haven’t had the time to blog about. (Seriously, there are SO many! I had no idea until I started to clear out photos off my phone!) This one is perfect for spring and is a delicious meal for those looking for lighter fare.
I remember developing a serious addiction to this salad when I first made it and hard it for weeks! It really is a hearty and filling salad that even omnivores will love. If you have nut allergies or just aren’t into making “nut meat” using kidney beans or black beans as an alternative works great too. Simply omit the nuts and sundried tomatoes, and use the same amount of beans with the same seasonings below.
I hope you enjoy this beautiful and nourishing salad, and hope it brings you memories of warmer days!
See you next week!
Raw Vegan Taco Salad (serves 2)
For the “nut meat” or “neat”:
- 1 cup walnuts/sunflower seeds
- 1/8 cup walnut oil or olive oil
- 1 tbsp. organic chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/8 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. tamari
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes
For the salad:
- 2 cups organic mixed baby greens/spinach/whatever green you desire
- 1/2 avocado sliced
- 1/4 organic yellow/orange/red pepper
- 1/4 cup organic halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 stalk green onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup frozen non-GMO organic corn (if you desire)
- a handful of organic corn tortilla chips
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- generous pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
1. Pulse nuts, sundried tomatoes (well-drained), garlic, onion and spices until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle in oil while continuing to pulse until mixture resembles “nut meat” or “neat”. If using cooked beans, rinse and drain them well and simply mix with all the ingredients listed for the “nut meat” except omit the nuts and sundried tomatoes.
2. Divide the greens between two bowls or plates and arrange the avocado, pepper, cherry tomatoes and “neat” on each. Sprinkle with the green onions.
2. Wipe out the food processor bowl and proceed to make the dressing by putting the cilantro, salt and drizzle in the olive oil. If you are feeling lazy, just chop up the cilantro and sprinkle it over top of the salads and drizzle the whole lot with olive oil and lime juice and season with salt and pepper.