Raw Walnut Taco Filling – Two Ways (gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, oil-free, vegan)

tacowalnut3

It’s Taco Tuesday, and in light of that fact, I have a delicious plant-based and raw taco filling that is going to change the way you eat tacos forever. Just 2 or 3 main ingredients, plus a few spices thrown into your food processor for a minute, and you’ve got some of the tastiest and healthiest taco filling you can find. If you’ve never made raw tacos, I encourage you to use today’s alliterative label as an excuse to step into the wild world of walnut tacos.

(I’m a sucker for alliteration. I probably should’ve been a children’s book writer)

tacowalnut2

I’ve been making this walnut taco filling for ages now. Ok, at least the last two years. Seems like forever, probably because I’ve made it about a hundred times! I first discovered the wonderful walnut filling idea on the Rawtarian site. I couldn’t believe how delicious it was. Over time, I tweaked it and omitted some thingsΒ (added cumin, no extra oil) and just recently I discovered a way to reduce some of the calorie and fat density. I’m all for healthy fats from walnuts, but since I was eating almost half a recipe sometimes in one sitting (that’s a half a cup of walnuts!), I wanted to find a way to make it a bit lighter. I tried all different kinds of fillers, in an attempt to halve the amount of walnuts. Activated buckwheat groats weren’t bad, but maybe a little too crunchy and not as flavorful. Raw veggies often yielded a filling with too much texture or moisture. Finally I had success subbing half of the walnuts with… you’ll never guess…

My raw nacho cheese cauliflower popcorn!

caulipops

The dehydrated cauliflower popcorn adds enough volume to make up for the walnuts, without adding extra moisture or changing the texture too much. Plus, they add a good amount of plant protein, and reduce the fat and calories too. Using all walnuts is still probably my favorite way to enjoy this taco filling, so I’ve included both versions. Just keep in mind the all walnut version is very rich, so you only need to use a small amount. The filling is great in lettuce wraps or taco salad, I’ve even eaten it on crackers.

tacobowl
Rainbow Raw Taco Salad

 

rawtacos
Raw Tacos with Cashew Creme

Raw walnuts are a nutrient powerhouse, and while you shouldn’t go overboard eating them, you should definitely try to include them in your diet. Walnuts have been studied extensively for their health benefits, especially in relation to their clear benefits to heart health. Here are 10 reasons you might want to eat more of that kooky brain-shaped nut:

  1. One small serving has over 100% of your recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as high amounts of copper and biotin (great for healthy hair and skin).
  2. Adding a few walnuts to your salad (or your veggie filled raw tacos) provides healthy fats that may help maximize the absorption of phytonutrients from the veggies.
  3. Walnuts rank among the best nuts for heart health by decreasing LDL cholesterol, decreasing total cholesterol, improving endothelial cell function, decreasing blood clot risk, and decreasing inflammation.
  4. Eating walnuts helps prevent breast and pancreatic cancer.
  5. Eating just one walnut half a day can dramatically decrease the amount of inflammatory disease risk in your body.
  6. Can increase male fertility by improving sperm quality.
  7. May help you burn fat more efficiently and lose weight.
  8. Eating walnuts can lower your risk for depression.
  9. Regular walnut consumption is great for bone health.
  10. Walnuts helps prevent and control diabetes.

tacowalnut

All health benefits of walnuts aside, this raw walnut taco filling is just plain delicious! I hope you’ll give it a whirl (literally, in your food processor) for a quick, fresh, and healthy dinner that is sure to impress all the Taco Tuesday fans in your life.

Adapted from this recipe

Raw Walnut Taco Filling 1

  • scant 3/4 cup of Raw Nacho Cheese Cauliflower Popcorn
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup packed, sun-dried tomatoes soaked in hot water for a few minutes and drained, or sun-dried tomatoes in oil (I usually rinse off the oil)
  • Β 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (or try chipotle chili powder)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • splash of water if needed

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until the nuts and cauliflower are broken down into small sticky crumbs, as in photos. It usually takes me less than a minute. Taste and adjust seasonings or salt as desired.

Raw Walnut Taco Filling 2

  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup packed, sun-dried tomatoes (soaked in hot water for a few minutes and drained) or sun-dried tomatoes in oil, rinsed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Process ingredients in a food processor as above.

Enjoy in romaine lettuce leaves, or other leafy greens. Also delicious in salads. I’ve even eaten on crackers or tortilla chips with salsa.

Notes:

You may be able to sub in pecans for the walnuts, but other nuts like cashews and almonds will be too dry and hard, and won’t break down as well.

I have made this using Β 1/2 cup of activated (soaked and dehydrated) buckwheat in place of the cauliflower popcorn, for another variation on the lower fat/calorie version. It’s a bit drier and has more crunch, but it was still pretty tasty. I recommend increasing the sun-dried tomatoes to 1/3 cup and adding a pinch more of cumin and chili powder.

Sources:

http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/walnuts/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=99

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/health-benefits-of-walnuts.html

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20585485_4,00.html

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2 thoughts on “Raw Walnut Taco Filling – Two Ways (gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, oil-free, vegan)

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