Have you ever noticed that sometimes the best food comes from having "nothing to eat"? Those times when you really want something exciting and delicious, but you have a bare bones kitchen, and no budget? That was me last night. But somehow, I pulled together a really delicious little meal. I had just a very small amount of dry pinto beans, so I added some black beans, and boiled those up. I soaked about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of raw cashews, and cooked some rice. When the beans were done, about an hour and a half later, I blended the cashews with the last little bit of salsa I had in the fridge, I would say it was about 1/4 cup, a little water, some salt, a generous shake of nutritional yeast, and a dash of smoked paprika for a quick little queso type sauce. I spread some of the sauce on the bottom of a glass casserole dish, and then layered tortilla, rice and beans, some sauce, a few dashes of hot sauce, and repeated this twice, topped it with another tortilla, and the rest of the sauce. I covered it with foil, and baked it for about 25 minutes, at 350 Fahrenheit. It is warm, creamy and comforting, not to mention so delicious, and the leftovers are delicious because it gets better the next day! Last night's version was a very basic, using up scraps of this, a little of that, but this can also be fancied up. It's great with added veggies like corn, red pepper, really any veg you like. And it's great with or without the addition of daiya, or any vegan cheese. I've also made it with refried beans, and white beans, and corn tortillas and flour tortillas. If you have those leftover crumbs in the bottom of a tortilla chip bag, they're really good sprinkled on top, just take the foil off for the last five or ten minutes of baking. Oh, and it is good with white or brown rice, I have also made it with no rice, just veg and beans. What I'm trying to say is that this is another very flexible, very forgiving recipe. I guess it's more of a suggestion, than a recipe. That would be a great name for a cookbook! I really suggest always having raw cashews in you're freezer, as they really do make a wonderful base for a sauce, dip or dressing, and sometimes a sauce or dressing can really up the flavor and appeal of a dish, especially if you're having a beans and rice kind of week. They are pricy, so I try to grab like a handful or so whenever I am at a store that has them in bulk. So I just constantly have them in my freezer, and it really doesn't take a huge amount to make a really nice sauce. This salsa/ cashew sauce also makes a good Mexican style vegan mac and cheese, which I sometimes make with some pinto or black beans mixed in, and green onions on top yum.
I hope everyone has another Manic Monday!