Mexican Red Chili with Cactus (Nopales con Chili Rojo)

2 cups peeled cactus, cut into ½” by 2” strips
4 to 5 dried New Mexico chili pods, stems and seeds removed
4 small tomatoes
½ onion
½ cup cilantro—use stems and leaves
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons oregano
1 ½ teaspoons salt (optional)

Place the cactus in a medium saucepan and fill with water to 1” above the cactus. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the cactus and set aside in a separate bowl. Place the chili pods in the medium saucepan and put just enough water to cover the chilies. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes until chilies are soft. Transfer soft chilies from the saucepan to a blender, reserving the chili-water. Place the remaining ingredients, except for the cactus, into the blender with about a half cup of the chili-water. Blend until nice and fluid but with some small chunks remaining, adding more chili-water if necessary to create desired consistency. Pour out the unused chili-water from the saucepan. Add the chili blend to the saucepan and place on medium-low heat. Add the cactus to the chili blend and simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve hot with warm tortillas.

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★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

This has to be the easiest and best chili I’ve ever made. I know that a true Nutritarian would omit the salt completely but, in my opinion, it does bring out the flavor of the New Mexico chilies. I opted to use the salt and it proves I am still aspiring to become 100% Nutritarian. Cactus may be purchased whole, in which case it must be peeled and cut by you, or, if you’re lucky, you may find it peeled, cut and prepackaged in your local grocery store like I did—it’s a great convenience. Use this chili as a soft taco filling or as a topping for tostadas over beans and baked corn tortillas, or simply consume it by itself. It may just become your new comfort food.

For more ideas and recipes to simplify the Nutritarian lifestyle, please visit: http://aspiringnutritarian.com/

Thai Cucumber Salad

¼ cup white vinegar
2 large pitted dates
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cups peeled, seeded, and sliced cucumbers
¼ cup snow peas, trimmed and thinly sliced
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
1 tablespoons seeded and minced jalapeno
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Blend the vinegar, dates, and soy sauce into a smooth liquid. Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss with the blended vinegar. Chill until ready to serve.

thaicucumbersalad

★★★★ 4 out of 5 stars—Loved it!

This is a refreshing salad that is full of vitamins and minerals, It transforms fresh, simple vegetables into a savory Thai side dish or a very light main entree.

Balsamic Glaze

½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 pitted dates
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon dried thyme

In a blender, blend the vinegar and dates into a smooth liquid. Pour the blended vinegar into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced by half and coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the Dijon mustard, marjoram, and thyme. Remove from heat and cool completely. Brush and/or drizzle on anything your heart desires.

balsamic glaze

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

Bold, flavorful, and satisfying are just a few words that describe this glaze that is excellent on roasted vegetables and air-fried tofu. To air fry a block of tofu, pat dry and cut into cubes. Place in the air fryer in one layer and cook as directed on the fryer or until the outside is light brown and crispy. When done, drizzle the glaze over the tofu and serve. If you haven’t tried air fried tofu, you must try it soon!

Middle Eastern Quinoa

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained with liquid reserved
2 limes or small lemons, juiced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
¼ red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool, completely. Place garbanzo bean liquid, lime or lemon juice, cumin, tahini, one teaspoon salt (optional), garlic, and red pepper flakes together in a blender and puree into a smooth dressing. Combine quinoa, garbanzo beans, and chopped onions together in a bowl. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture; toss to coat. Stir in cilantro; season with salt and black pepper if desired. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator.

Mideastern Quinoa

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

This is great to serve chilled in the spring and summertime and is also perfect in the fall and winter due to the warming ingredients. Enjoy as a side dish with an entrée that can handle the bold flavor of cumin. This is a Nutritarian and Middle Eastern variation of the Zesty Quinoa on the Allrecipes.com website. You may find the original recipe here: Zesty Quinoa. If you’ve ever had the original, well, this one is just as amazing.