My brother and sister-in-law recently moved into their new condo. The best part, though, is that they live closer to me. I think we’ve been able to see each other more often this past month than I have during the past year.
As I said, I invited them over for dinner and giggled as I planned my menu. I nonchalantly pointed out that I didn’t want to cook in this atrocious heat so I would make tacos. I told them to come with an open mind and a hungry belly! You see, I wanted to make raw tacos.
A few weeks ago, Rob and I had a celebratory dinner at Raw Aura, where we were blown away by the food. In particular, we devoured the raw nachos which included corn chips with guacamole, cashew sour cream, fresh tomato salsa and walnut taco meat. It doesn’t sound that exciting, but it was delicious. The corn chips had so many levels of flavour, the cherry tomatoes were so fresh, the sour cream so creamy, and the walnut meat.. let’s just say I was blown away that it was made from walnuts, which I don’t typically like. The flavours were impeccable. I wanted to try to make it myself. I remembered seeing Sarah’s post for post for raw tacos, so I was eager to try my hand at something new.
So what exactly are raw tacos? The main component is the “meat” which is simply coarsely chopped walnuts with cumin, chili flakes, tamari and a bit of oil. Super simple to whip together in a food processor. My brother snuck some before it was served and exclaimed, “This tastes like taco!”. The walnuts are really a vector for the seasonings (aka a heavy dose of cumin and soy sauce) and in this case, I thought the meat itself was a bit salty when eaten solo. Combined with the rest of the ingredients, though, it worked wonderfully. I also whipped together a cashew sour cream with lemon juice, and a delightful cherry tomato salsa (my favourite part of the wrap). I used Swiss chard leaves to eat my tacos, but had tortillas for my guests.
I was worried they may have turned up their noses if they knew they were going to eat raw food, but as they pointed out – it wasn’t like I was going to feed them raw eggs or meat, so they weren’t phased in the slightest.
The perfect dinner guests: adventurist eaters with lovely conversation.
For the record, these tacos were great, but not nearly as fantastic as those at Raw Aura. It just gives me more incentive to go back to the resto. At least it is closer than Thrive Juice Bar in Waterloo, which is my other favourite restaurant.
1 recipe Walnut Taco Mix
1 recipe Cashew “Sour Cream”
1 recipe Raw Salsa
3 avocados, sliced (oops, I forgot to include them)
6 Swiss chard leaves (or tortillas for those who don’t want to go all raw!)
1. Remove stem from Swiss chard and top with walnut meat, salsa, sour cream and avocado. Garnish with extra cilantro. Wrap and eat!
Walnut Taco Mix
2 cups raw walnuts
2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1/8 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse just to mix. Don’t over-blend, or you will end up with walnut butter!
Cashew “Sour Cream”
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or at least 2 hours
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
5 Tbsp water (approx.)
1. Put all ingredients except water in a high speed blender or food processor and blend, adding water one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If you want a thick cream, use less water, for a thinner sauce, use more. (You will not achieve a perfectly smooth sauce with a food processor, but it is still delicious!)
Raw Tomato Salsa
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 red onion or 4 green onions, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp raw honey or agave
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
1. Whisk the garlic, lime juice, honey or agave, olive oil and sea salt in the bottom of a bowl and set aside.
2. Cut up the veggies into rather small pieces, chop the cilantro and add everything to the dressing bowl. Fold to combine and let sit for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.