Smokey Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos

Smokey Black Bean and Sweet potato Tacos with Onion Garlic Lime Crema.

Smokey Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos

To make the Monday less of a drag I’ve decided to make it Taco Monday!
I think we can all agree that Tacos can turn any dreary day into a fun day in a split second.
It will most certainly ease us into the week gently and give us something great to look forward to when we come home from work. You could actually do all the prep work the day before on Sunday and make dinner time a breeze. Soaking the beans is what takes the longest, because the actual recipe is pretty simple, we want simple on Mondays, am I right? If it’s to much hassle for you to soak the beans and cook, just use two cans instead.
Either way, this is some seriously good food to start off the very first day of the week.
And who am I kidding really, we love Taco’s around here and we’ll have them more than once a week without a problem, different flavours and textures of course, and now that I think about it, it’s probably (one of ) our favourite foods.
So these are different, I have added Sweet Potato. and I can only tell you that I kept on asking myself why I hadn’t thought of this before. The sweet potato is just sooooo good with the smokey beans, I mean KA-POOOW!!


Prep time: 15 min.
Cooking time: 15 min. plus cooking beans
Serves : 4


INGREDIENTS:

SMOKEY BLACK SWEET POTATO TACOS
• 1 lb. dried black beans or adzuki beans
• 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
• 2-3 cloves garlic minced or grated
• 2 onions
• 2 tbsp. Taco seasoning
• 2 tsp. liquid smoke
• 2 tsp. cocoa
• 1 tsp. hot sauce (optional for heat lovers)
• 1 12 oz. can passata
• 1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped
• 3 green onions chopped
• Himalayan salt and pepper to taste

Smokey Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos
ONION GARLIC LIME CREMA
• 1/2 cup (vegan) cream cheese
• 1/2 cup (vegan) sour cream
• 2 tsp garlic powder*
• 1 tbsp. onion powder*
• 1 lime juiced
• salt and pepper taste
• maybe 1-2 tablespoons of milk or water
To serve:
• 12 corn tacos warmed
• Shredded Iceberg lettuce,
• avocado slices
• Grated cheese
• salsa of choice or check out this one.
• more chopped cilantro
* I’m using dried onion and garlic powder on purpose, do not sub for fresh garlic because it will not get the right consistency and flavour. The dried powder will  thicken the crema in a way that cannot be achieved with the fresh counterparts.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Prepare the beans. Rinse and check beans for any dirt etc. Soak your beans over night.discard the soaking liquid after soaking.
2. Add beans to a large pot with about 5 cups of water. Bring the beans to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are soft, but not quite done. About 45 to 60 minutes. Keep checking, not all beans cook the same. Drain.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion and sweet potatoes and stir. Fry for a couple of minutes and add the garlic, stir.
4. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until sweet potatoes are just beginning to softened.
5. While the sweet potatoes are cooking make the crema.
6. Place all the ingredients for the Onion Garlic Lime Crema in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add a little water or milk to thin if you like. It will get thicker and thicker as you let it stand.
7. Now add the remaining ingredients to the sweet potatoes except the cilantro and spring onions.
8. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Add a little water if it becomes to dry.
9. Just before serving add the cilantro and spring onions
10. To assemble, place generous spoonfuls of the sweet potato + bean mixture on top of a bed of Iceberg lettuce in a warm taco. Top with the onion garlic lime crema and avocado, and some cheese or any other topping of choice.

Enjoy!
Myra Xo

Smokey Black Bean Sweet Potato Tacos

tempeh with lime coconut

Coconut Lime Tempéh with Peanut Sauce and Banana Chips

tempeh with lime coconut

This delicious Tempeh dish will blow you away with it’s sweetness from the Coconut and the Lime for that acidic touch. Perfectly balanced. A smooth Peanut sauce that all comes together in minutes. Tempeh is definitely one of my favourite vegan proteins and we eat it all the time. It’s very versatile, super healthy, and fat free.
It is best to boil it first to remove any bitterness and then proceed with the recipe. You’ll end up with a delicious tempeh full of flavour and with a great bite.


Prep time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes
Makes : 4 servings


INGREDIENTS:

• 1 block of tempeh, (16 oz. / 450 gr)
• 1 tbsp. coconut oil
• 1 shallot
• 2 garlic
• 1 tbsp. minced ginger
• 1 tbsp. green curry paste
• 1 tsp. sambal oelek
• 1 can coconut milk, preferably full fat
• About 1 cup water
• ½ – 1 tsp salt or fish sauce
• 1 tbsp coconut sugar, or gula java
• 2 tbsp lime juice
• 2 tbsp peanut butter
• A handful of toasted salted peanuts for serving
• A handful Banana chips for serving
• More lime wedges for serving

tempeh with lime coconut
INSTRUCTIONS:

Start by cutting the tempeh in half and boiling it on medium heat for 5 minutes.
After this time, remove and set aside to cool.
When cool enough to handle, cut into large-ish chunks, about 1”/ 2.5 cm pieces.
In a large pan heat the coconut oil and add the tempeh. Frying on all sides for about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and reserve.
Add the finely chopped shallot, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook gently until fragrant.
Add the curry paste and sambal and cook for one more minute. Carefully add the coconut milk, fish sauce or salt, coconut sugar, peanut butter and lime juice. Bring to a simmer.
Add the tempeh and cook for about 15 minutes.
Serve with on a bed of rice, with the toasted peanuts and coconut chips and more lime wedges.

Enjoy!
Myra XO

tempeh with lime coconut

red pepper pasta

Roasted Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato Fettuccine

  • red pepper pasta

A quick Pasta dish, made in minutes. So simple and so good, I mean really, really good. The creaminess from the cashew nuts is so much better than any dairy cream I can think of and it’s also highly nutritious and actually good for you. So what’s not to love, it’s delicious, it’s quick, it’s nutritious, it’s pasta! And honestly, picky eaters are not even going to know they’re eating roasted peppers, win win if you ask me.

Ingredients;

  • 1 lb. Fettuccine, preferably fresh
  • ½ Cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 Cup cashew nuts
  • 4 whole roasted peppers from a jar
  • ½ Cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ Cup Parmesan cheese
  • More Parmesan cheese to serve (leave out for vegans)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of Basil
  • Handful of toasted pine nuts to serve
  • About 1 – 1 ½ cups of water to thin the sauce.

red pepper pasta

Instructions;

Soak the sun dried tomatoes in a cup of water for a couple of hours.
And also soak the cashew nuts in a cup of water for a couple of hours.
You can do this the night before or early in the morning.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile place in a blender; drained sun dried tomatoes, drained cashew nuts, the roasted peppers, the Parmesan cheese, the garlic, white wine, about ½ cup of water to begin with and salt and pepper to taste.
Blend until creamy. Adding just enough water to get it creamy.
When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and reserve a cup of the boiling water.
Return the pasta to the pan straight away and pour over the roasted red pepper sauce, adding enough of the water from the cooking to make it saucy.
Serve immediately with more Parmesan Cheese, toasted pine nuts and Basil.

Enjoy!

Myra Xo

red pepper pasta

Stuffed Peppers and Aubergines

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Great vegetarian main dish!

During the holiday season you want to be able to serve a great main dish to your vegetarian guests that’s not just everyone else’s side dishes.

Well here to the rescue with this fantastic vegetarian main course. You can prepare it a day ahead and cook it in the oven on the day itself. Leaving you plenty of time to pour those drinks and catch up with your friends and family.

And we both know that it doesn’t have to be Christmas to serve these delicious stuffed vegetables, how about meatless Monday?

How about your new years resolutions? Has anyone started thinking about them? I have thought of a few, I want to start running more (ehem) I want to start running.

I walk a lot though. I bought a step counter thingy, ok let me look that up…..so, a pedometer and ever since I got it I have walked more and more, it’s almost like a curse. Now when I need to get cream for instance like yesterday evening, all of sudden it occurred to me that I had to make caramel for my daughters cake, I will walk , normally I would take my bike or car, but now I do walk everywhere. I think I probably walk about 8000 steps a day, which isn’t enough it should be 10.000 they say but hey, I’m moving.

And of course another good resolution would be to eat less meat. I think twice a week is more than enough. I already do that but my daughter for instance is such carnivore.She would have spare ribs for breakfast if she could.

So, give this a try and let me know if you miss the beef? I bet you won’t.

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Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side

Ingredients.

2 Aubergines

2 red peppers

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 garlic, peeled and grated

1 pack of Quorn mince or vegetarian mince, 340 grs. / 12 oz.

2 cups cooked spelt or brown rice

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. agave or honey

1 tbsp. flour

1 cup vegetable stock

a handful parsley, chopped

2 tsp. Cajun seasoning

1 cup grated cheese like cheddar or gouda or vegan substitute

salt and pepper

Bechamel sauce;

4 tbsp. olive oil

1/3 cup flour

2 cups soy milk

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vegetarian-stuffed-peppers10

Method;

Pre heat oven to 200° / 390°

Wash all the vegetables, dry them and cut them in half. Cut the core and seeds out of the peppers leaving the stalk on. I actually try to cut the stalk in half too so everyone gets a bit of green.

Remove the flesh from the aubergine leaving about a quarter inch of the sides.

Cut up the flesh.

Put a large frying pan on the heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic until beginning to colour. Add the aubergine and celery and add the other tablespoon of oil. Season with the Cajun seasoning and cook for about 15 minutes until the aubergine is soft.

Add the quorn and spelt and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and sweetener. Cook for an other minute.

Add the tablespoon of flour and cook for a minute or two. Add a cup of stock and stir around, it should be getting a little  thick, the idea is to bind the filling a little bit so it holds better in the vegetables. Fill the peppers and aubergine halves and place them in a baking tray that has been covered with parchment paper.

To make the bechamel sauce;

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a low heat.

Add the flour and whisk into the oil until smooth.
Cook  for 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and changes to a lighter colour.
Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly to stop lumps forming.
Cook for at least five minutes so the flour is  fully cooked.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the sauce over the filled vegetables. and cover with aluminum foil, place on a rack in the middle of the oven.  After 30 minutes remove the foil and sprinkle generously with the grated cheddar. Return to the oven for additional 20-30 minutes.
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 If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoon on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Endive Gratin with Baked Apples, Blue cheese and Thyme

Serves 4 as a side dish

Who disliked Endives as a kid?… raise your hands….

Well I don’t know about you, but I really really disliked Endives when I was a child. Always prepared so very over cooked. Boiled and then rolled in some cheap ham and covered in cheese. It was bitter and the consistency was just aweful.

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Thank goodness we have come a long way since then when it comes to being creative with endive. Really there is more than just Waldorf salad and the typical gratin.

I actually love this dish and some times I eat it with just some steamed new potatoes, it’s that satisfying. But I think it goes particularly well with white meats like  chicken or pork.

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Ingredients;

6 Large heads of Endive, about 1.5 lbs.

3 tbsp butter

2 tbsp. pine nuts

2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin.

1 tablespoon fresh Thyme leafs

1/4 C. white wine

5 oz. blue cheese, 2 medium apples, peeled, core removed, cut in wedges

2 tbsp. honey

2 – 3 tbsp. pine nuts

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Method;

In a large frying pan, melt one tablespoon of butter and when hot add the apples. Fry for about 5 minutes then add 1 tbsp. of  honey, cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the apple slices to a plate and reserve.

Cut the endive in half lengthwise and remove bruised outer leafs if necessary. Slice away a small bit from the bottom.

In the same pan, add the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Add the endive cut side down and sprinkle over the thyme, season with salt and pepper.Cook for about  5 minutes before adding the garlic and the remaining honey, and turn them once in a while.  Add the white wine. Depending on how thick they are, cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Pierce with a knife to check if they are tender but still a little bit firm.

Turn on the grill.

Transfer the endive to a baking dish and gently place the baked apple wedges around the sides.

Cut the blue cheese in slices and divide over the endive. Sprinkle over the pine nuts.

Grill the endives for about 5 minutes until nice and melted and golden. Keep an eye on it!

Enjoy

Myra Xo

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Not quite what you were looking for? How about a  Beet Salad

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Potato Focaccia

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Makes 2 large Focaccias or 6 – 8 small ones

Pre heat the oven to 425° F

Spoiler alert!!

There’s mashed potatoes in the dough.

If you think your love for all things “Dough” can’t grow bigger…you’re wrong.

Unless you have already had a potato Focaccia before. This is the lightest and fluffiest Focaccia you will ever have. When you press the Focaccia between your fingers you will see there is a bounciness that is unmatched by anything else. The mashed potato does something magical to dough.

I’ve had it in cakes before too and the same thing happens.

But back to the recipe, you will need to plan ahead, because it has to rise for quit some time. You can use left over cold mashed potato or otherwise just boil a few potatoes and mash them. This recipes makes a lot, but you can easily freeze some of the dough for later use.

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The Focaccia above has home roasted Tomato sauce, grilled Onions, grilled Peppers and a few Anchovis on top. You can leave out the Anchovis for Vegans.

Ingredients:

1.5 C. Luke warm water, about 100° F

2 tsp. instant yeast

1 tsp. Honey or Sugar (for vegans)

6 C. Spelt flour

1/4 C. olive oil

1.5 tsp. Himalayan Salt

1 C. Mashed potatoes.

Method:

Put the warm water in the bowl of your mixer, fitted with the hook attachment. Pour in the honey, or sugar. Add the yeast, carefully mix and leave it to activate for about ten minutes.

Meanwhile measure out all your other ingredients.

Mix the olive oil in with the mashed potatoes and add to the bowl. Mix gently. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on medium for about 5 minutes. The dough should not cling to the bowl anymore, add a little flour if it does.

Turn out to a lightly floured surface and give it a knead and shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for 3 hours.

After the rise. Turn out the dough to a floured surface. Divide in half. Shape one half into a Focaccia shape, I always make mine a little oval shape and also a bit irregular to give it a more rustic look.

Place the Focaccia on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Press little dimples in the dough with your finger and drizzle  with some olive oil and sprinkle with some coarse sea salt and Rosemary.  Drizzle the Rosemary with a little bit of oil before to prevent burning.

Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. After 15 minutes turn the heat down to 400° F. It should sound hollow when you tap on it.

Alternatively, make smaller shapes and bake about 5 minutes less.

You can also top your Focaccia with vegetables, or anything else you like. This way becoming a meal in itself.

When I bake smaller plain ones I  use them for sandwiches. Or serve them with soup. The large ones are great party food cut into smaller squares, or serves two as a dinner with plenty of toppings. Basically once you have the dough let your imagination run free.

Enjoy

Myra Xo

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Beet Root Risotto

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Serves 4

If you’re in the mood for some sensational color on your plate, I think Beet root Risotto is the way to go. For me, it just doesn’t get prettier than this.

This one is not as heavy as some Risottos since there is no cheese or butter in the rice but just on top.

The Beet gives the Risotto a certain earthy sweetness that I have balanced with Gorgonzola.

When the Gorgonzola melts it emulsifies with the rice creating a sweet and salty creaminess. I haven’t added any extra butter, because the fat in the cheese is enough for me, but you can add some at the end if you like.

*Vegan option below.

Ingredients:

1 Large Beet, peeled and grated (use gloves)

1 1/2 C. Arborio rice

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 small red onion, peeled and diced fine

1 garlic clove, peeled and grated

1 tsp. Himalayan salt

1/2 C. dry white wine

4 C. organic Chicken or Vegetable stock

1 tsp. Fresh Thyme leafs, removed from stalks

2 Sage leafs, crumbled up (if dried) or very thinly sliced, Chiffonade.

7 oz. Gorgonzola to put on top.

*For Vegan version substitute for some Soy Yoghurt and chopped Pistachios.

Method:

Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large pot. Glaze the onion for five minutes before adding the garlic. Now add the rice and salt, stir for a minute or so. Add the herbs and the white wine. Stir constantly throughout the entire procedure. It will take approximately 20 – 25 minutes. But the stirring is was creates the creaminess of the Risotto.

Now add one cup of the beetroot. Reserve the remainder for decoration.

Keep on stirring. Adding half a cup of stock as you go. Let all the liquid evaporate each time before adding more stock.

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When the rice is al dente. Turn off the heat, add a bit more stock to keep it moist. Serve straight away, with a heaped spoonful of raw beet and Gorgonzola. Or Pistachios and some Soy Yoghurt for Vegans.

NOTE: If you don’t like Blue cheese you can substitute it with a good Parmigiano.

Black Bean Burger

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I had mentioned in another post that my favorite food is actually Hamburgers. Well one of my favorite Hamburgers is this one, the Black Bean Burger. It is so good and if you serve it on a home made bun even better, goes without saying.

You won’t miss the meat at all with this one. They’re crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside but with enough bite to give you the burger sensation.  The bite is because you’re not supposed to squash all the beans to a puree, but leave some whole. You also need to add enough seasoning. Then bake them nicely in a pan until they get a dark golden crust on the outside. I serve mine with grilled Eggplant & grilled red Peppers.

Ingredients:

2 C. Black Beans, cooked

1 tbsp. Olive oil + 2 tsp. for cooking

1 Onion, peeled and chopped fine

1 clove of Garlic, peeled and grated

1 tbsp. Nutritional Yeast (optional, but it does add a hearty flavour)

1 tsp. Taco seasoning

1/4 C. Breadcrumbs  or use GF oats instead.

1/4 C. of mixed nuts

1 Flax egg (1 tbsp. flax + 3 tbsp. water) Let sit for 15 min.

1 tbsp. Chia seeds

Salt and Pepper to taste.

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Method:

Put the beans on a plate and squash them with a fork until roughly mashed. There should still be enough chunks for texture.

Meanwhile cook the onion and garlic in 1 tbsp. of olive oil over gentle heat until golden. Let cool slightly.

Put the squashed beans in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients.

Form into patties and place them on a slightly oiled plate. Cover with cling film and put them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to firm up.

When ready to cook. Place a frying pan over medium high heat, put in the 2 tsp. of olive oil and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Serve with toppings and additions of your liking. I do recommend you put them on the Hamburger Buns ,that makes them even better! Enjoy.

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