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Romaine "Tacos" with Cashew Cream Tempeh

This recipe was born from craving a great dish I had in NYC and the need to empty out my fridge. It turned out pretty good, and to boot it is vegan and high protein.

Had I had more ingredients, I would've added avocado, either sliced into the tacos, or blended directly into the cashew cream. The tacos would've been topped with sprouts and fresh herbs (mint, cilantro), for added crunch and freshness.

Sub pomegranate seeds for currants if needed: both are tarty and sweet, and balance the creaminess of the tempeh. I suspect mango, orange, or a granny smith apple would work as well. Let me know where you take it and how it turns out.

The fresh minced serrano on top is fiery, so make sure to seed if you are sensitive and use sparingly. I had leftover salsa verde and used that - it is always a good idea to double salsa recipes as they keep well in fridge and you can freeze as well. If you are in a pinch, use store-bought (see note below). As for the miso paste - I used red miso. You can sub with a splash of tamari or soy sauce.

Raw Miso Cashew Cream Ingredients:

1/2 cup soaked raw cashews, rinsed (instructions here)

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon miso paste

1 tablespoon lime juice (~1.5 lime)

Tempeh Tacos Ingredients:

8 oz organic tempeh, coarsely chopped

1/2 white onion, chopped into small squares

drizzle of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 head of romaine, leaves separated

1 finely minced chile (serrano or jalapeño, seeded if sensitive to heat)

1/2 cup red currants

1/2 cup prepared salsa verde, warmed (link here)

Raw Cashew Cream

Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth (~4 minutes). If cream becomes too thick, add a splash of water to thin out. Remove from food processor, set aside.

Tempeh Filling

Steam tempeh in a covered medium pan, until plump and softened, ~12 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool. Place into food processor and pulse in food processor 4-6 times, until crumbly and resembles ground meat (alternately, crumble with your hands).

Sautee onion in a little bit of olive oil over medium heat until translucent, ~5 min. Add crumbled tempeh and season with cumin, salt and chipotle powder. Stir and cook until tempeh is slightly browned and fragrant. Remove from heat. Fold warm tempeh mixture into cashew cream, until very well coated.

Assembly: add a spoonful of salsa verde onto middle ridge of romaine leaf. Add a large spoonful of tempeh cream mixture. Top with a sprinkle of minced serrano and currants. Serve with lime wedges (optional).

Serves 6 as an appetizer or side

Salsa Verde Note: there is no such thing as "not enough time" to make Salsa Verde: you are basically boiling and blending ingredients. The taste is unparalleled to pre-made ones, so always go the extra mile. If, however, you don't have ingredients at hand and live outside México, I am partial to La Costeña brand, which uses real tomatillos. If you are in México, buy a freshly made one from your grocer. Avoid cream based ones in this dish, as the tempeh is creamy enough.

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