Category Archives: Burgers, Tacos, Sandwiches

Vegan meatballs, amazing texture.

These vegan meatballs are the perfect base for all your favorite dishes. This recipe is without sauce or gravy  because they are meant to be as a base for other recipes, like Spaghetti and meatballs,  Swedish meatballs,  meatball Curry with rice or a great meatball sandwich for instance.

A vegan meatball that has the texture of actual meat. Holds together, not mushy like most, but firm and with bite. I made these one night with mashed potatoes in Swedish meatballs style and the next night I poured a sticky honey chili maple glaze over them and served them over rice.  They freeze well too, you could easily make a double batch and always have a supply for a quick dinner fix.
So whether you’ re a vegetarian, a vegan or simply trying to eat more veggies,  these are a  great option and you really need to try them.

Makes around 24 meatballs.
Serves 4-6. Double if needed.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup tvp* see not (I use pea tvp)
1/4 cup  chopped dehydrated vegetables (mix for soup)**see note
1/2 onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 vegetable stock cube, crumbled fine
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup quick oats
2 tbsp pine nuts (optional but delicious)
A dash of liquid smoke
A dash of franks hot sauce
1/2 tsp vegan Worchestershire sauce
Pepper
2 tbsps ground flaxseed plus 3 tablespoons water, or 2 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cook lentils and tvp in a bit of salted water for around 5 minutes, or until almost soft, but still semi firm. Drain in a colander and return to the pan, add the dehydrated veggies, they will absorb the excess water.  Set aside and let cool.
Cook onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl mix, lentil-tvp-veg mixture with onion and garlic.
Add all the remaining ingredients and let sit for 5 minutes,  now grab a ball of the mixture with your hand and gently squeeze to see if it holds.  Add a splash of water if it seems too dry or add a bit more flour if it seems too wet.
Shape into balls, the size of a ping pong ball approximately.
Place in refrigerator for two hours before baking to firm up.
Pre heat oven to 220C/450F.
Place balls on a silicone baking sheet and spray with oil (or drizzle over).
Bake 15 minutes turning halfway.
Use straight away with your favorite sauce or let cool and store in ziplock bag in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

Enjoy!

  • tvp stands for texturized vegetable protein
    ** Amazon sells a Deluxe Vegetables Soup Blend.

5 minute Romesco Sauce, cheats version

Romesco Sauce is a Spanish pepper and tomato based sauce from the region of Cataluña, that dates back to the 15 th century, thanks to Christopher Columbus who brought back the Romesco peppers from his travels in the America’s which are the base for this sauce.
You can find Romesco sauce everywhere in Spain, it’s very popular and can be eaten with everything from just bread to grilled fish, grilled meat or vegetables.

The original version is with dried peppers, almonds, some times hazelnuts as well, bread, garlic etc…
I have come up with a cheats version that can be done in 5 minutes and it is addictively delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

6 tbsp. Olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 jar roasted red bell peppers (15 oz. jar / 500 ml), drained
1/4 cup almond butter (the roasted kind)
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
1/3 cup parsley, roughly a handful
1-2 tsp. red wine vinegar
3/4 tsp. salt
fresh black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika (preferably the Spanish kind)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place the sun dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with very hot water. Let sit for five minutes then drain.
On medium heat, fry onion and garlic in two tablespoons of oil, until light golden and just soft. Let cool a bit.

In a food processor, add the pepper, the onions and garlic, almond butter, drained sun dried tomatoes, parsley, vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika and the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
Turn on the food processor and blend until smooth. That’s it!

I use only one teaspoon of vinegar but you can add more depending on how acidic you like it.

The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about five days in a glass container or jar, but I can assure you, you will be putting it on everything.

Enjoy!

Elotes and Pineapple Salad , Ensalada de Elotes con Piña

This is our favorite Summer Salad, Elotes Salad or Mexican Street corn Salad with pineapple. It’s basically Mexican Street Corn that you can eat with a spoon rather than digging into a whole corn on the cob covered with Cotija, paprika etc…which can be a challenge, except that I have added some grilled pineapple.
This is a great salad to serve at your next Barbeque, or as we like to do, add it to Tacos and even pile it high on Burgers. So SO good!
It’s very simple, you start by grilling corn and fresh pineapple and once they are cooled you cut off the kernels carefully with a sharp knife, then toss together with the pineapple chunks in a simple dressing.

Prep time : 15 min
Cooking time : 10 min
Serves : 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 ears of Corn
  • 1/3- 1/2 of a fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced thick-ish (see note*)
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 small red chili pepper, deseeded and chopped fine
  • ½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese (see note**)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro, more for on top

Dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche
  • Juice of 1 lime, or more according to taste
  • A few dashes of Tabasco ( or Franks hot sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, more for on top
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat (an outdoor) grill or grill pan to medium heat. Clean your corn if necessary and rub all over with a little oil. Place on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning every few minutes. Do the same with the Pineapple slices. Remove them once cooked from the grill and let them cool.
Meanwhile mix mayonnaise, crème fraiche, lime juice, tabasco and paprika together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Cut the kernels off the cob, and cut the pineapple slices into bite-size pieces
Get out a pretty bowl and combine everything… the corn, pineapple, onion, scallions, chili peppers, Cotija cheese, cilantro, and dressing. Reserve some cilantro and Cotija to sprinkle on top.

Enjoy!

* Any left-over Pineapple is great grilled and then served with ice-cream as a dessert.
** If you can’t find Cotija, I think that Feta resembles it most, it has a similar texture and taste.

If you make this Elotes salad, be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and if you love it, pin it. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! @thecookingspoonblog or hashtag it #thecookingspoonblog

Mexican Flavor Cubes


For lack of a beter name, Mexican flavor cubes is what I have named these little cubes. Concentrated Mexican “mole-like” flavor packed into little cubes to be added to any sauce or dish that needs a little “oomph”. These little cubes are full of Mexican flavor and really pack a punch. Lots of flavor in minutes without all the hassle.
I have these as part of my standard frozen staples. I’m a true believer in a well-stocked kitchen pantry/freezer as this will ensure you’re prepared, even if you don’t have time for a last minute shopping trip , so that you can make your favourite recipes and always have the basics at hand.
There are a ton of standard items in my freezer, that I make again and again as soon as they, or almost, run out. Such items are home made chicken stock, Napolitana sauce, and a roast pepper Napolitana version for myself, Pizza bases, Bread, Bagels etc… and of course these Mexican flavor cubes.
Let me explain how and why. We eat a lot of Mexican inspired dishes at home and I say inspired because I don’t want to offend anyone, I’m sure they are far from authentic, but they’re very tasty and that’s what it all about, for us. So basically what I do is, I soak some Mexican peppers that I buy online, add spices, cooked onion, garlic and some other flavourings, then blend it all up and freeze it in an ice cube tray. I happen to have a very large ice cube tray, that makes ¼ cup cubes, perfect for us but you can freeze it how it would work best for you. Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list, you’ll have most of the spices in your cupboard already, and it actually comes together very quickly.

INGREDIENTS:

• 3 dried Ancho peppers ( aka dried Poblano peppers) Scoville scale: 1,000 to 2,000 shu
• 3 Chipotles peppers (smoke-dried Jalapeño peppers) Scoville scale: 2,500 to 8,000 shu
• 3 Guajillo peppers (aka dried Mirasol peppers) Scoville scale : 2,500–5,000 shu
• 2 tbsp. neutral oil
• 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated or crushed
• 2 roast peppers from a jar
• 2 chicken or beef stock cube
• 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
• 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
• 2 tsp. ground cumin
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• ½ tsp. ground cloves
• ½ tsp. all spice
• 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tsp. sugar or more to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put a large frying pan on medium high heat, place your peppers in the dry pan and toast gently all over until they begin to soften and change color. Remove from heat.
Add the oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic, cook gently while you clean the peppers.
Cut the peppers open with scissors and remove stems and seeds, place in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of very hot water (not boiling) and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
Once the onion is soft and golden add the smoked paprika, oregano, the ground cumin, cinnamon, ground cloves, all spice, salt and freshly ground pepper, just a few twists. Stir and let it become fragrant, turn of the heat after one or two minutes.
Once everything has cooled, place the hydrated peppers with liquid in the blender, with the onion-spice mixture, add the peppers from a jar, add the stock cubes, cocoa powder and sugar. Blend everything until you have a dark smooth puree, taste and season if necessary.
Pour into ice cube tray or other small containers and freeze.
I use these cubes to make fajitas, chili, enchiladas and all sorts of Mexican dishes. It gives everything a really authentic flavor without hours of cooking. Just make your regular recipes, and then add one of these cubes for a flavor explosion.
Enjoy.