My New Favorite Recipe - Double Bean Taco Salad with Creamy Chipotle Ranch Dressing ala Candle Cafe
Me: OMG! This is really really good!
My Husband: This is really really good!
The Healthy Librarian taste-testers at work: This is really really delicious! I want that recipe!!
So here it is!
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Mary, my not-so-newbie-plant-based cooking-maven librarian buddy at work is always borrowing vegan cookbooks from the library & sharing them with me. This is why you really need your friends to join you on this cooking adventure! Recipes and cooking tips!!
But, "The Candle Cafe Cookbook" sat on my desk for 2 weeks--before I had a chance to look at it. When Mary finally told me it was due back the next day, I leafed through it, copied down 5 recipes--and decided to borrow the book myself.
News Flash! Just found out that the Candle Cafe has a brand-new cookbook coming out on November 1, 2011: Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York's Premier Sustainable Restaurant. Stay-tuned.
What's the big deal about the Candle Cafe?
It's an award-winning farm-to-table vegan restaurant located in New York City. Amazing creative fare. Last November, I lunched at its uptown location, Candle 79, and was in food heaven. Even omnivore son #2 loved it, too! So that tells you something.
Is it no-oil? Of course not, silly. But, any resourceful plant-based no-oil cook worth her "salt!@#!!" can easily modify recipes to ditch the fat. Well, at least most of the time.
So...my first experiment was with the Candle Cafe's "Creamy Chipotle Ranch Dressing". I am absolutely 100% head-over-heels for chipotle. And I couldn't believe how easy this dressing was to put together.
The Healthy Librarian's Enlightened Version of the Candle Cafe's Creamy Chipotle Ranch Dressing
Note: I followed their directions & used 1 dried chipotle pepper--not the stuff in the can. I cut out the 1/4 cup of safflower oil--& subbed in more tofu. I eliminated the 2 TBS of chopped onion (I'm not a raw onion kinda gal), and only used 3 TBS of chopped shallots, instead of the whole shallot the recipe called for! I've made versions of the dressing with regular & smoked paprika--& smoked is very hot--I liked it--you might not!
I could eat this dressing with a spoon--it's that delicious!
And it's not just for salads. Use it as a sandwich or veggie burger spread, on top of potatoes, or as a vegetable dip.
Creamy Chipotle Ranch Dressing
Click here for the recipe on one page
Makes about 2 cups
10.5 ounces of Mori-Nu Silken firm low-fat tofu (or take out 4 tablespoons from the package & use it to make my Enlightened Lemon Tahini Dressing to top Chickpea & Spinach Burgers!)
1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I wanted this to be easy, so I used Santa Cruz's bottled organic real lemon juice) Note: I bet lime juice would be good, too!
1 1/2 teaspoons agave, or brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 dried chipotle (I found this at my regular grocery store--if you're "heat"-sensitive, start with a half, & then add more.
3 tablespoons of chopped shallots (I've really grown to love this delicate onion-like veg)
1/2 teaspoon of salt (or not)
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of paprika (I think this is for color---I also made it with smoked paprika, which makes it spicier--but we liked it that way. Consider yourself warned....)
1 fresh garlic clove, minced
Put everything into your blender or Vita-Mix and blend until it's all smooth. Taste it--and adjust the seasoning. If you don't like things too hot, use less chipotle to start, taste, and then add more
This dressing keeps in the refrigerator, covered well, for a week. Serve chilled.
Nutrition Info based on a generous 1/4 (aka 4 TBS) cup serving
Healthy Librarian's/Candle Cafe
Creamy Chipotle "Ranch" Dressing 1/4 cup servings
Serving Size: 1 serving
|Amount Per Serving|
Calling All Creative Cooks! That Means You!
I think this recipe lends itself to one heck of a template for other salad dressings.
Leave out the chipotle pepper, and throw in tarragon & more lemon juice & lemon zest--or add lime juice, garlic, & cilantro--or a pesto with walnuts, basil, & nutritional yeast--or leave out the onions & throw in mango or berries or go Asian with soy, garlic, & ginger. The possibilities are endless.
Any takers on coming up with some other mix-ups using this tofu template?
And Now for the Taco Salad
After I made the chipotle dressing I decided to use it on a super-quick dinner. Now, what would that look like?
I also wanted something high in protein. After a hard exercise day, I figured I could use some serious bean protein---that's where the Double Bean (soy & black/or pinto beans) Taco Salad comes in.
The Back Story:
Lately, I'm a serious fan of MATCH--the faux meat. I won't bore you with the details--you can read all about it here & learn why I'm am not so squeamish about this faux: Meet My Favorite Fauxs - MATCH Grilled Burgers, Italian Meatballs & Field Roast Gourmet Sausages - Plus, Garlicky Roasted Broccoli, Chickpeas, Potatoes with Chorizo .
Fair warning to heart patients: This product is used at the Pritikin Centers--but it wouldn't meet Dr. Esselstyn's criteria.
You don't need MATCH to make this taco salad. Substitute lentils (TJ's already cooked, or cook your own), use canned beans, my All-American Chili Recipe (no soy here) or use other fakes, like Happy Herbivore's TVP (textured vegetable protein recipe), soy crumbles, Gimme Lean, Yves, or TJ's newest "Beef-less Ground Beef". You've got options.
Besides--the dressing is the real star of this show!
The Healthy Librarian's Favorite Double Bean Taco Salad with Enlightened Candle Cafe's Creamy Chipotle Ranch Dressing
The MATCH Taco Mixture
Left-Overs Packed for Work
The Healthy Librarian's Double Bean Taco Salad with Creamy Chipotle Ranch Dressing ala Candle Cafe
Click here for a copy of the recipe on one page.
Serves 5 very generously
1 pound package of MATCH Ground Beef without the Meat Plant Protein, thawed
(or substitute an equivalent amount of cooked lentils, beans, or other faux ground beef--or just use my All-American All-Bean Chili recipe--the seasonings are already part of the recipe)
1/4 cup of low-sodium vegetable broth for sauteeing ONLY!!
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. chipotle powder (can substitute cayenne or red pepper flakes)
2 fresh garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp. brown sugar (or other sweetener) More if you like a sweeter mix.
salt to taste (or leave out)
1 14.5 ounce of Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Tomatoes crushed (if you want more heat, use their tomatoes with green chilis) (NOTE: If you like your taco "meat" on the dry side, use just one cup + 2 TBS. of the crushed tomatoes--but I now use the whole can & let it cook a bit longer to absorb any liquid. Your choice.)
4 cups of chopped romaine lettuce per salad (Romaine is now my new fave salad green--crunchy & stays fresh longer)
1 can of drained & rinsed black or pinto beans to sprinkle top of the salads
1 cup of frozen corn (I like TJ's roasted corn) to sprinkle on top of the salads
Lots of fresh chopped tomatoes to sprinkle on top of the salads
Black olives or a little bit of avocado are optional. (not included in nutritional count)
1 recipe of the Creamy Chipotle Dressing
1. Heat up about 2 TBS. vegetable broth in a large skillet over medium heat
2. Warm up the MATCH, crumbling with your spatula.
3. When the MATCH is heated through, about 5 minutes, add the garlic, & all the seasonings & mix well.
4. Add the can of crushed tomatoes--or start with just 1 cup, and add more as needed to give you just the kind of taco "meat" dryness or wetness you like.
5. Heat as long as necessary to blend the seasonings, and absorb the liquid of the crushed tomatoes. Taste, and adjust the seasonings. You might want a little more sweetness from the brown sugar, or heat.
6. Arrange the romaine on salad plates. Top each one with a 1/5 of the taco "meat", some black/or pinto beans, tomatoes, & thawed corn.
7. Use as much dressing as you like--it's so low-fat--but I figured about 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) per serving.
8. Refrigerate for delicious leftovers for lunch or dinner.
Nutritional Info Based on 1/5 serving of the salad & 4 tablespoons of dressing
Interesting Links to Share - But Not Enough Time to Blog About
This just in from Charles K:
Me and my shadow: Is your sunshine the "right" sunshine for vitamin D production? A simple way to tell if it's the right time of day to get enough vitamin D from the sun in your part of the country.
This just in from the New York Times:
Five Easy Steps to Stanch the Email Flood. I'm happy to report I've been using this method for a long time--& it works for me. So what if I have an email box that's filled with thousands of emails. I can usually find what I'm looking for!
This just in from my husband aka the Lab Rat:
Check out the expert-packed line-up of speakers at the November 11-13, 2011 Wellness Forum's 15th Anniversary Fall Health Conference in Columbus, Ohio. And I won the door prize last Fall for the free ticket to this year's event. Includes all plant-based no-oil meals--and Chef Del's cooking really rocks!
This just in from me:
Be sure to visit the best new site for research-backed nutrition info: NutritionFacts.org. Apologies for taking so long to tell you about this fantastic new website that was just launched mid-August 2011.
It's produced by Dr. Michael Greger, a physician, author, & internationally known speaker on public health issues. Once you start watching, you won't be able to stop! Check out NutritionFacts. org
And a big thank you to Dr. Greger for correcting his information on chlorella after 2 HHLL readers (Chris G. & Ben S.) provided him with updated info on the safety of chlorella. Here's what I'm talking about. Read Dr. G's comment below the video. Dr. G, CG, & Ben S. rock!
The Lab Rat has put together a fantastic post on sprouting.
The Lab Rat & I want to show off our newly-organized pantry & "fruit & nut" drawer (note to my kids--you won't believe the transformation)--all done on the cheap in just one afternoon. LR has an "uncanny" ability to match up just the right-sized container to hold any size bag or box of beans, or rice, or grains, or flour. It's UNCANNY!
Seriously, all you cooking experts--help us all out with some salad dressing experiments of your own based on the Candle Cafe's silken tofu template. I'll be forever in your debt!