The thing that I hate the most about mock meats is that I like them. When I was kickin’ along as a vegetarian, I didn’t experiment with much mock meat. I knew I liked Morning Star veggie burgers (grillers prime) and on a few occasions, I ate their chik’n nuggets. Other than that, mock-meats were not a part of my vocab. I knew I didn’t like boca and that was that.
When I switched to veganism, I vowed to eat even less processed junk. But I’m still kind of in the phase of wonderment–when I discover that certain junk foods are vegan, I buy them! And when I discover mock meats don’t have eggs or casein or whey, I buy them! This is how I discovered Lightlife Smart Ground. I realize they have a taco meat, but to make things feel at least a wee bit organic, I like to mix my own taco seasoning. It’s amazing how close to the real deal this stuff is. To understand this, you have to know that I grew up loving tacos. Tacos were a special treat. They were delicious. We couldn’t get enough of them in my house. My mom almost primarily cooked with red meat–she’s not a fan of chicken and thus, growing up, we ate way more red meat than any human should. I started to have an aversion to red meat by my preteens and gave up all meat at 14, but the smell of those tacos still makes my mouth water even now.
So needless to say, when I bought the Smart Ground and mixed my taco seasoning, I was only cautiously optimistic. I didn’t want to get too hyped up and be disappointed. Maybe it was my lack of expectations, but these tacos are amazing! It’s almost too meat-like that it’s kind of off-putting for me. Since discovering Smart Ground some time in January, I’ve been making some sort of Mexican dish weekly. I love me some Mexican food. My most favoritest Mexican restaurant in the world has virtually nothing on the menu I can eat now, so what’s a girl who loves Mexican food to do? Gotta get my fix! (As a side note, I find it hilarious that I was always feeling stuck in my vegetarian regimen–I always ate the same foods–and now that I’ve restricted my diet even further, I have found so much deliciousness and variety!)
I call these the “Omnivore’s Dilemma” tacos because my boyfriend and I agree that this COULD actually be red meat masquerading as a conglomeration of wheat and soy:
“Omnivore’s Dilemma” tacos
1 package Lightlife Smart Ground
1 can pinto beans
Taco shells of your choosing (this time we picked up whole wheat shells because they were the least processed of any we could find, but we weren’t a fan of the flavor–it tasted too healthy)
Taco seasoning (see below)
All the fixins! We used lettuce, yellow bell pepper, tomato, onion, green taco sauce, and Tofutti “sour cream”
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
Heat pinto beans on the stovetop until hot. Mix all seasonings in a small bowl and set aside. Heat a frying pan with a teensy bit of oil and crumble and brown the “meat” for approximately 3 minutes. Add seasoning and mix until combined. Continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes until heated through. You may want to add a little more oil or a small amount of water when you add the seasoning, but that depends on how wet you want your “meat.”
Heat taco shells and fix ’em up to your liking–beans, “meat,” veggies, “sour cream”–sometimes when I make this, I make cilanto-lime basmati rice, salsa, or guac. It really depends on what you have in the kitchen and how much time you want to devote to it. Today, I wasn’t really in the cooking mood so I kept it simple.
My dessert will be some pineapple chunks (pineapples were $2.99 on Saturday!) and something new, something a little bit scary…
I found this at a normal grocery store on Saturday (score for Jewel-Osco!). I’ve never tried kombucha before. I tried a sip when I bought it but put it back in the fridge, but since the label tells me I should drink within 3 days of opening, I guess the time is nigh. It kinda freaks me out but it doesn’t taste terrible so I’m just gonna do it! Not crazy about the strains I can see floating around…but I’m just telling myself it’s good for me. Powering through.
In other news, I started Week 2 of the couch to 5k program. I’m sort of at a loss for what to do on my off days. I’m only supposed to run 3 times a week but I’d like to go to the gym 4-5 times. Is it okay to do other cardio? Can I bike? Who knows! I guess we’ll see how my legs feel tomorrow.