Walnut meat taco salad (with from-scratch catalina!)

vegan taco salad walnut meat

When I was growing up, my mom would sometimes make this taco salad of iceberg lettuce with ground beef, cheddar cheese, veggies, and nacho cheese doritos crunched up all over the top.  Then it was all tossed with Kraft Catalina.  It was one of my favorite meals!  Not authentic at all but the sweet dressing + the savory meat, chips and cheese + the crunch of the veggies was heaven.

I had a lot of tomatoes from the garden so I made a pico de gallo, and I had a pot of black beans in the fridge, which inspired me to make this much healthier version of my mom’s classic, complete with homemade catalina.  If youre not a fan of catalina dressing, a simple lime vinaigrette like I used in this post would also be good here.

There are quite a few components to this salad, but it is not hard and doesn’t take too long.  I made it on a day when my husband was home so I didnt have littles hanging all over me while trying to get it all together. 😉  You can also always sub in pre made guac, pico, and dressing for less chopping work!

Vegan Taco Salad (serves about 4)

1 head of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped

2c shredded red cabbage

Pico De Gallo:

3 large tomatoes

1/2 medium to large yellow onion

1 lime

1/2 bunch of cilantro

1 jalapeno


1 jalapeno

1/2 bunch cilantro

1 green onion

3 avocados

1 lime

Raw Walnut Taco “Meat”

2c walnuts

1T cumin

1t smoked paprika

1.5t chili powder

2T tamari/soy sauce

Catalina Dressing:

1/2c organic ketchup

1/2c coconut sugar

1/2c red wine vinegar

1/2c onion

1t paprika

1/2t (vegan)worcestershire sauce

1c avocado oil



cashew sour cream (optional)

tortilla chips (OMG YOU GUYS I DIDNT HAVE ANY IN THE HOUSE!!!  What is a taco salad without CHIPS!!  I almost sent my husband to the store to get some but I was hungry and the salad was still really good without them.)


First make your taco meat.  Whiz the walnuts and spices + tamari in the food processor until it resembles ground beef (smallish crumbly pieces)  Taste a bit and season more to your liking.  Set aside.  Wipe out the food processor.

Then make the pico.  Chop up 1/2 the onion, the tomatoes, 1 jalapeño and 1/2 of your bunch of cilantro.  Mix together and add the juice of 1 lime + salt and pepper.

Now make your catalina.  Blend all ingredients until smooth and season to taste.  I added a squeeze of lemon after tasting it.

Next make your guac.  Scoop out your avocados into the food processor.  Take the other 1/2 of your bunch of cilantro and add that too.  Add in 1 green onion, roughly chopped, the juice of a lime, and a roughly chopped jalapeño.  Pulse until it reaches your desired consistency.  Season to taste with s+p.

To assemble:

Place lettuce in bowl, then on top: cabbage, pico, beans, walnut meat, tortilla chips.  Drizzle with some catalina.  Toss to coat and add more dressing if desired.  Top with the guac, cashew sour cream, sliced jalapenos, and green onions.  Serve immediately- it gets soggy relatively fast.

Much love, A.

P.S.-These are the last of my tomatoes!

homegrown tomatoes


Macrobiotic rainbow bowl + a tahini-soy dressing

macrobiotic bowl vegan

This bowl is seriously amazing.  Its fast, nutritious, vegan, gluten-free, and can be raw.  Best of all, you can use whatever veggies you have in your fridge to make it.  If you want it totally raw, omit the rice.  It’s all good- the more, the merrier.  What unifies it all together is an amazing tahini-soy dressing with LOADS of umami flavor.  I had leftover sauce and ended up dipping raw veggies in it the next day.  YUM.  Both my kids were loving it too.  Enough said.  The sauce recipe comes from a website that I love for raw vegan inspiration: rawfoodrecipes.com

In the bowl:

Julienned carrots

Pea shoots

Red cabbage


Wakame seaweed

Brown rice


Other things that would be amazing: kale/spinach, legumes, kelp noodles, zucchini noodles, sweet potato, kimchi, sauerkraut, cucumber, asparagus…really anything.

“Knock-off Dragon Sauce”

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 clove garlic

Blend all ingredients until smooth and drizzle over your bowl!

Arent these turnips and carrots just gorgeous? (this photo is completely unedited by the way!  Nature in all her glory.)


I packed them for a snack at work and dipped them in the leftover sauce.  My co workers think I’m quite weird with all my “different” veggies and fruits.  Many of them had never heard of a turnip.  I think they’re weird for eating the same crap all the time.


Four 10 minute or less healthy, delicious breakfasts (vegan, gluten free)

So many people tell me they skip breakfast mostly because they don’t have time.  Some people also seem to think that if they skip breakfast they will lose weight.  Not sure where that one came from… This is a shame because breakfast is the most important meal of the day and its so delicious.  I think especially if you are going to school all day or staying at home with kids, a breakfast is needed to help you focus and keep your energy levels high. These are my go to breakfasts when I need something fast and they are what I eat for breakfast 90% of the time.  AND they are all little child-approved (a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old)

1.  FRUIT!


Fresh whole ripe raw fruit is THE simplest and best thing you can eat for breakfast.  Loaded with anti-aging antioxidants, hydration, and simple carbs your body needs+craves, fruit is the perfect fuel to start your day.  Fruit also requires very little energy to digest, allowing your to use that energy for better things such as healing itself and helping you think!  DONT BE AFRAID OF THE SUGAR IN FRUIT.  The human body is designed to run on simple sugars!  Every single cell in your body NEEDS it in order to function.  Everything gets broken down to a simple sugar anyway!  /end rant.  Apples, *bananas, persimmons, grapes, and oranges are all great grab and go fruits.  Or take a few minutes and chop up some mango or melon.  Pair with some nuts or coconut yogurt if you feel like you need more.

*ALSO: people seem to think bananas are constipating.  This is because they are eating them while yellow.  Bananas are ripe when the have little black spots and NO green on the tip.  If you eat them unripe it will hurt your digestion.


Kind of an extension of fruit, but…most days I make smoothies.  They are just so easy and fast.  Minimal cleanup (I usually end up drinking right out of the blender ha.  sue me!) and super healthy.  You can make them in 5 minutes, pour in a cup and be out the door.  My favorite way is to juice up 8 or so oranges right into my blender (with a manual citrus juicer) and then pull out whatever fruit is in my freezer (organic frozen fruit is super cheap at Costco) and thrown in a few handfuls, then blend.  Favorite combos include:


3-4c OJ + 1-2c mango + 1 vanilla bean or 1t vanilla extract


3c OJ + 1C frozen raspberries



1 banana + 1c coconut water (or reg water or almond milk) +2c greens+ 1c mango

  • CHOCOLATE THICKSHAKE (so bomb.  better than a dairy ice cream shake)


2 frozen nanas + 2T cocoa powder + 2c almond or coco milk + 1T almond butter + 1t vanilla extract + 2 medjool dates (optional) + tiny pinch salt (optional)


If you havent made chia pudding yet you NEED to.  Seriously, it is so so good.  Creamy and hits the spot for a sweet craving.  Chia seeds are great for you!  They are brimming with omega-3s (way more than salmon), fiber, calcium (3x as much as milk), are easy to digest. Make a batch the night before and it’ll be ready for you in the morning.  Grab and go!


3T chia seeds + 1c non dairy milk + sweetener of choice to taste + 1t vanilla extract

I usually whiz my almond milk in the blender with 2 dates and a vanilla bean till its completely smooth, then pour into a mason jar.  Add the chia seeds and SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE (dancing may or may not be going on during this step) Make sure that you shake very well otherwise your chia will clump and be all gross and weird.  By the way, if this happens, you can always dump the whole thing back in the blender and blend till smooth.  You can add whatever else you want of course…like…cinnamon, chocolate, coconut, cardamom, berries, etc..whatever you desire!  I like to top with cinnamon so it tastes like rice pudding.

Chocolate chia pudding, blended:


yes, yes it is a delicious chocolate party in your mouth.


Oatmeal cooks up in about 5 minutes, is cheap, hot, and filling, and is the perfect vehicle for toppings.  I heart it!  I buy a huge bag of quick cooking steel-cut oats from Costco for $8.  I keep it in the freezer and it lasts me about 6 months.  I top with frozen berries, ground flax for omegas, a little sprinkle of raw sugar, sprinkle of cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  The kids love it too.  If you get bored there are millions of recipes of baked oatmeal, overnight oatmeal, apple pie oatmeal, crockpot oatmeal…you get the picture.

So there you have it kids!  Please for the love of God please start getting something good in you in the morning.  If I sound like your mom, it’s because I am one 😉

Love, A.