How to make healthy choices every day

Raw Taco Fiesta!

I really, really love Mexican food, but when I tell people this, they look at me like I am a crazy person. You like deep fried-rich-meat-cheesiness? No, obviously not. Mexican food from a Sarah B. perspective is a perfectly ripe avocado, a rainbow of beans, fresh herbs, spicy chilies, tangy citrus, and tropical fruits! That’s a whole lotta goodness goin’ on.

After my juice fast (feeling awesome, thanks for asking), I like to keep things fresh and raw-food based for at least a week. That being said, I also like to treat myself to something that totally rocks to reward myself for completing yet another successful detox. But I cannot tell a lie: the things I fantasize about eating while not eating anything at all can get rather elaborate, so during my week of pure liquids, a crazy Mexican craving completely took over my psyche and wouldn’t let go. I was a total taco prisoner with no key. Help!

Once my digestion was strong enough to handle the taco bomb that was undoubtedly to ensue, I got to work on a spectacular recipe that would finally put my cravings to rest. Combining what I felt were the best elements of Mexican fare, the Raw Taco was born and will surely live on in my kitchen for years to come. A spicy raw walnut mix is the protein base and looks almost too much like ground beef for my liking (seriously, I was doing double-takes all through lunch), topped with fresh, tangy salsa, smooth avocado slices, and a cashew sour cream-inspired sauce for kicks. Wrap it all up in a cabbage, collard, or giant spinach leaf, and you have successfully replaced your Old El Paso taco-in-a-box forever. He never really loved you anyway.

Walnuts look like brains for a reason
The reason being that they are good for your brain. Go figure.
On the tip-top of the healthy nut list, walnuts are loaded with Omega-3 essential fatty acids. In fact, a measly ¼ cup serving is 94% of your daily recommended intake! Grab a handful and you’ve made your quota.

Omega-3 fats are an extremely important nutrient that unfortunately, most of our diets are extremely deficient in. This deficiency has been linked to a whole host of problems including hyperactivity in children and disorders of the nervous system, PMS, difficulty getting pregnant or carrying to full term, low male hormones and prostate problems, endocrine disorders, auto-immune dysfunctions, and inflammation.

But getting back to the whole “brain” thing, Omega-3s are also critical for brain health and regulation of emotions and mood. Here’s how that works:
More than 60% of your brain is fat. That fat comes from the food you eat. If the kinds of fat you eat are solid and highly saturated (think lard, butter etc.) the membranes of the cells in your brain will in turn be solid and sticky, making it very difficult for nutrients to flow in and wastes to flow out. Omega-3 fats (from flax seeds, walnuts, hemp) are especially fluid and flexible, maximizing your brain cells’ ability to usher the good stuff in and eliminate the bad. This is pretty critical when it comes to how you think, how you feel, how you behave, your memory, judgment, problem-solving capabilities and all things cognitive. If that doesn’t make you want to run to the next walnut, I am not sure you will ever be convinced.
Because Omega-3 essential fatty acids are so susceptible to spoilage, it is always best to keep the foods that contain them, like walnuts, in the fridge. Flax seed oil, an even better source of this amazing nutrient must be kept cold to retain its properties (freeze that stuff – it won’t solidify!), and never, EVER cook with it. Deal? Great.

Raw Tacos
Inspired by Matt Amsden’s recipe in Rawvolution

Yes, I’ll admit that the ingredient list for this recipe seems rather long, but trust me, it’s worth it. Everything comes together surprisingly fast and if you’re really pressed for time, just make what you can. The important thing to try here is the Walnut Taco Mix, because even if you don’t get around to the other stuff, you will be blown away by how tasty and satisfying it is. Use it in other recipes too – and maybe replace that ground beef for a change? 

Walnut Taco Mix
1 cup raw walnuts
1 Tbsp. nama shoyu (raw, unpasteurized soy sauce)
1/8 tsp. ground chipotle pepper (or more if you like it spicy!)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse just to mix. Don’t over-blend, or you will end up with walnut butter!

Cashew “Sour Cream”
½ cup raw cashews
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
5 Tbsp. water (approx.)

1. Put all ingredients except water in a high speed blender or food processor and blend, adding water one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If you want a thick cream, use less water, for a thinner sauce, use more. (You will not achieve a perfectly smooth sauce with a food processor, but it is still delicious!)

Raw Salsa
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
½ red bell pepper, chopped fine
½ orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped fine
½ red onion or 4 green onions, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ clove garlic, minced
juice of ½ lime
1 tsp. raw honey
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt

1. Whisk the garlic, lime juice, honey, olive oil and sea salt in the bottom of a bowl and set aside.
2. Cut up the veggies into rather small pieces, chop the cilantro and add everything to the dressing bowl. Fold to combine and let sit for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.

Other Raw Taco elements:
ripe avocados (about ½ per person)
cabbage, collard, kale, romaine, or spinach leaves
limes for squeezing
extra cilantro for sprinkling

This is the kind of recipe that truly blows the unhealthy competition out of the water and convinces me to never look back. Let’s face it, eating healthy can be a challenge, but when it tastes this good, gives you this much energy, feeds your brain in the best way possible, what’s the excuse for reaching for that deep fried taco shell filled with all-kinds-of-crazy again?
I wish someone had been there to see me take my first bites – I was laughing out loud, alone in my kitchen. Loco. Luckily, I convinced my friend Trine there to hit up round II with me. She went cross-eyed and giggled.

ps – hey friends, you know what else is a great source of Omega-3 fats? The Raw Brownie. Just sayin’.

source: Lynne Hinton & Tracy McBurney. Nutritional Symptomatology.

120 thoughts on “Raw Taco Fiesta!”

  • I have made these 2 days in a row, one for a boyfriend who is transitioning into more raw vegan food and a friend who is a full on carnivore. Boyfriend, who eats anything in front of him, absolutely loved them. My friend commented that the walnut taco mix “meat” couldn’t tell the difference between the “real thing” and your mix. I agree! I have been raw vegan for a while but definitely noticed how the walnuts mimic the texture and taste of what you’d expect to be meat made with taco seasoning. Both parties also commented on how they felt full and satisfied yet not comatose, which is the best part about vegan and especially raw food. WINNNER. Will be making these forever. The only thing that didn’t work so well is making the recommended amount of cashew sour cream in my Blentec, it just wasn’t a large enough amount to blend properly, had to transfer to my mini food processor to get anything done. Any tips on that? Thanks!

    • WAHOOO! So trilled to hear that Molly 😀 A winner indeed. Thank you so much for the feedback <3

      Big love,
      Sarah B

  • Hi! I wanted to let you know that I tried your recipe today (well, I made a few twists here and there with the ingredients I had on hand) and I loved it SO MUCH! I have to admit that I was not sure of it before the first bite (this was the first time I’m giving a try on raw food, but since I did a 3 days juice cleanse, I’m starting “solid” food again with raw meals at the beginning) but it tasted so good that I quickly forgot that I was having raw food! My tastebuds were in awe at every bite I took! So thank you a LOT for sharing this recipe!

  • Hello! Thank you SO much for sharing your knowledge and passion. I found My new roots through Earthsprout and I’m really loving it! This whole internet world of healthy and healing food alongside with lifestyle tips has made a great difference for me during many years. I’m very thankfull. And very inspired. As you have noticed I’m reading through your archive and stumbled upon this recipe which I wish to cook sometime soon. There’s just one problem; my fiance is allergic to walnuts (and hazelnuts). Can you recommend any subtitute for the walnuts?
    Thank you!

  • YUM! I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first about the walnuts, but wow! It all worked so well. Just delicious, and simple and quick. I was impressed that my coffee/spice grinder on my food processor could get the cashews so smooth. Got the thumbs up from my partner who is a bit of a greasy taco fan. You haven’t disappointed me yet, Sarah B!

  • Such a great recipe! Roomie and I are doing a vegan whole foods cleanse and this was such a treat! Will be incorporating into more meals in the future. Thank you!

  • Oh my goodness. I made these the other day and they just might be one of my very, very favorite meals that I have ever had the pleasure of indulging in. Thank you.

  • I made for lunch today and loved them! Especially the cashew’ sour cream’ 😀 Thank you for providing such delicious recipes 🙂

  • OMG… These were amazing ! I made them tonight for my parents who are not raw eaters and they loved them !! Seriously the best taco I’ve ever had ! This will become a favourite in our house !! I really hope you tour Australia one day !!

  • Hi Sarah,
    I need to stay away from gluten, wheat, sugar, dairy & nightshade foods. I thought I would never eat anything yummy again. Then I found your site. YAY for you & YAY for me!!! I can eat most of your recipes. But here is a challenge. A substitute for salsa. I can’t have peppers or tomatoes. WHAT?! Since you are a miracle worker with food……

  • Made these tonight! Wow. Even my husband said he likes these better than the usual ground beef version. Delicious! Thank you.

  • I just discovered your site and am in love! I am slowly transitioning to raw and am dying to try this recipe!! I was wondering if it would make a big difference to leave the nama shoyu out of the walnut taco mix? I can’t have soy but really want to try this. Any way to substitute something else or simply leave it out?? Thank you in advance!

  • Hello Sarah! I’m really terrible at remembering to comment, but I’ve followed your blog for awhile and was able to attend one of your NYC cooking classes this past July. We made these raw tacos in class, and the recipe came in handy this past week to help me fight off a cold, as it packs in so much nutrition to boost my immune system 🙂 I also wanted to let you know that I’ve made just the walnut mix and added it to a stuffed pepper recipe (to replace the ground beef) and served it at my family’s Thanksgiving with huge success. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Just made these today and they were EXCELLENT!!!! Thank you for sharing this recipe. My husband and I both really liked it a lot. And your photos are beautiful!

  • These are delish! I finally made them last night! My husband thought I made meat tacos. This will be a constant in our kitchen. QUESTION: Are sprouted walnuts just as good as raw? Thanks so much for your wonderful blog!

  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. My food processor is crappy so I used raw cashew butter and played with the other ingredients until I got it right. I also added some jalapenos to the salsa because I like it hot and spicy. Even my husband liked it and he usually wants meat. This blog is so wonderful. I have been sharing it a lot on mine (I hope that’s okay!).

  • These are amazing, really. They have become part of my weekly rotation! I love how quick and easy they are, and they make a perfect, fun meal for a beach picnic!
    Thank you for sharing!

  • this is so flipping good!!! and surprising filling, the flavors are like a fiesta, fresh and so yummy!!

  • I came across your site as my boyfriend and I are doing a month of raw food. I tried this recipe and it is AWESOME. Great innovation. I really love that all of the ingredients mimic other tacos but still have their own flavor. YUM YUM YUM. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • I am a new follower and I am loving your blog! I made these tacos the other night and they were AMAZING! So unique, healthy, and fresh! My 3 year old loved them too 🙂 I look forward to trying out many more of your recipes. Just made the parsley root fries and roasted tomato ketchup tonight 🙂 yumm

  • Made these for dinner & loved it. I added a chipotle in adobo to the cashew sauce, not “raw” but still delicious! One issue I found was with the acidity of everything involved (walnuts, lemon juice, lime) my tongue felt it had taken a beating after eating these. Any ideas outside of avocado to mellow it out a bit?

  • Delicious! Served this with chipotle mayonnaise, so wasn’t strictly raw, but this was the perfect hot spring day dinner. I can’t wait to make it more often in summer, and to experiment and use it as a base for more authentic Mexican meals (lived there and loved it last year, but couldn’t handle the constant cream, meat and cheese). Thank you!!

  • Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful information specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  • Beautiful! I have just had some for lunch, made them with raw hazelnuts and they were beyond yummy! Ditto on the raw brownie! Gorgeous good food inspiration 🙂

  • WOW!I made this yesterday for me and my boyfriend and we both loved it! I promised him to make this every week. 🙂 I love your blog, especially the raw food stuff are to die for. also tried the brownie ,oh god that was delicious. Hope you keep posting this lovely food. Greetings from Belgium!

  • This receipe is amazing! SO delicious and the walnuts really do taste like taco meat. I don’t even have a full size food processor (I have one of those tiny 3 cup ones) it turned out really well. The “meat” wasn’t ground up very well due to my crappy, tiny processor, so I bet it’s even BETTER if you have the real equipment. I would definitely make this again. Thank you Sarah!

  • just made these…AMAZING! FANTASTIC! OUT OF THIS WORLD! I was literally freaking out in my kitchen! Thank you for this extraordinary recipe, Sarah!

  • Hey Jodi!

    That’s AWESOME!!!! Such a great idea. You are one lucky lady to have your own garden too 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.

    Peace, Sarah B

  • WOW! These were AMAZING! I couldn’t stop eating the taco filling before assembling them! We didn’t soak the cashews before blending, so the sour cream topping wasn’t as smooth but it was still delicious. Once we realized our big spinach leaves and romaine lettuce leaves weren’t going to hold these, out to our garden we went searching for the perfect cradle. What did we use? Brussel sprout leaves! They were perfect!!!

  • BRILLIANT beyond BRILLIANT!!! And I only tried the walnut taco filling. Can’t wait to try more of your ideas. Brilliant (oops, already said that….twice…)

  • I am not a raw eater and am not sure I will ever convert. I came across this post somewhere on facebook and decided to give it a try. AMAZING! I was skeptical, thought I would miss the warmth of cooked food, thought it would taste like nuts…I was wrong!! Thank you for the delicious recipe!

  • I’ve been vegetarian for two years now and raw vegan for just one week. I’ve experimented with a lot of different vegetarian (cooked) taco recipes and they have all been quite good, but they can’t compare to these! These are incredible. I spent the last hour or two preparing them for my mom and I (I’m very slow in the kitchen, but my family has learned that it’s usually worth it ;D). My mom is not a “meat-lover,” but she does have a bit of meat every now and then. My mom was very skeptical, but it was love at first bite. I couldn’t coax my dad to try them, but he stared bewildered as my mom sang their praises.

    Thanks for your dedication to your craft. I will be trying that raw cashew dream cake as soon as I can get my hands on a giant bag of raw cashews.

  • I adore raw tacos! One of my favorite raw dishes. There is a local raw & vegan restaurant where I live and I order theirs all of the time. I can’t wait to try and make these.

  • Giggling! Eyes Crossed! Dancing on the table!!! Oh my gosh these are good!
    I was veg for 20 yrs…then moved to Paris w. my meat-eating husband and fell off the wagon. He has recently (finally) started listening to the virtues of non-meat-eating lifestyles (China Study, Anti-Cancer diet) …but he was still very very skeptical of these tasty little tid-bits!
    Oh..but the smile that was on his face after the first bite! Bliss!
    And Raw Brownies for dessert – Amazing!
    Thanks for your blog, your humor and your willingness to share your incredible creations!

  • I tried this the other night and absolutely loved it! Already craving to have it again..

    I think next time I’ll make bite-size ones with small butter-lettuce cups.. YUM.

  • I cannot express how good this is. I’m eating the walnut mix right now (didn’t even think about it as a part of our routine mexican food dinners) and it is INSANELY good. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Hey Amy!

    Yowza – what a HUGE compliment! Thank you so much.

    I’m on my way to Canada tomorrow, so if you want to fly to Toronto and meet up for a juice…
    It’s amazing to hear that you notice your body is thanking you for feeding it what it really deserves. Keep it up girl. You won’t believe what is going to happen next.

    Sending love back to you. Thanks for making my day,

    Sarah B

  • Hello from Western Canada. Your blog, your lifestyle, your ideas – all 24 carat gold! You astonish me! Do I have to go to your country to eat healthy Mexican food?? I believe I do! 😀

    I live on a tiny island where a couple settled who started a small cafe called “Rawsome”. I cannot belief how my body actually seems to say ‘thanks’ each time I eat their delicious meals. I brought your blog to their attention and she said, “Oh my. Here is a gourmet raw chef.”

    Thank you. I really appreciate all you share!

  • Oh my goodness, Sarah, I am seriously blown away by how good this looks! I have a deep love for Mexican food- my father is from Mexico and we always ate a lot of it growing up, especially at holidays. People do tend to think of it as unhealthy, but as you so beautifully demonstrate, it has SO much potential!

  • So I just made these for dinner and they were completely divine. Every recipe I try of Sarah’s is outdone by the next and well, I’ve loved them all. Thank you so much Sarah for making me dance in my dinner seat with these lovely bites.

  • Hey ya’ll!

    I am so thrilled that you are making these and loving them! It’s great to hear, thanks for the positive feedback 🙂

    Sarah Sue – try using raw, unsalted macadamia nuts instead of the cashews. I am sure it will work great – just make sure you soak them for at least 4 hours.

    Green Gourmand – 4 servings.

    Best, Sarah B

  • sarah, what a great recipe! i made these over our fourth of july holiday and they were awesome! even the sour cream ( and i was leery as i don’t even really like real sour cream!) also, i made the breakfast cookies but added some dried cherries and pumpkin seeds. i didn’t have sesame seeds so used ground walnuts for the outside. they were so delicious! next time i’ll try them with the sesame! looking forward to the raw brownies, too!

  • Hi Sarah! I absolutely love your oh so awesome recipes! : ) However, I always wonder if there is a substitute for cashews as I have quite a severe allergy to both cashews and pistachios! : ) Thank you!

  • I love this! One time I didn’t have corn chips or anything to go with my spicy bean mixture (my go-to food/Mexican food craving fix) and I used lettuce leaves instead and now I do it quite often – so good! Also, I’m also surprised when others think it’s weird that I love Mexican food… their staple is beans = perfectly delicious vegan food!

  • This looks exceptionally delicious. Mexican cuisine is by far my favorite, but difficult for as most American restaurants (even when it is authentically Mexican) can be too meaty – cheesey – greasy.

    Thanks for sharing! Its already on my food menu.

  • I love, love, love you Sarah!! Please can you take me on as your apprentice! I have gone ~80% raw for a month now, and last week really hit a wall and was completely stuck in my boring routine and daily same old foods!
    I was in mega need of a boast and have found it through you and your amazing knowledge and recipes! I am running home to make this RIGHT now!!

    Thanks so much, and am planning on abandoning my boring foods for yours daily!!

    Liz B xx

  • Looks so delicious ! Trying this asap! I’m also (wal)nuts about mexican food 🙂 Do you need to soak and/or dehydrate the cashews before you use them for the sauce? would any other nut work in the sauce too? so excited for this raw mexican fiesta à la my new roots ! merci beaucoup!

  • i am so thrilled to try this. i am really trying to go raw at least 60% of the day and these look divine. we have taco night once a week. yum! thanks so much for putting in all of the hard work and for all of the great accompanying info.

  • This looks and sounds amazing!!! I will definitely try this recipe out. I have been eating raw vegan for about 2 months now and your blog is a huge inspiration for me. I appreciate all the amazing pictures and it makes me enjoy food and it’s preparation on a whole new level. I LOVE the raw cashew dream cake (made it 4 times already) and the raw Brownie was a delight! Keep these wonderful recipes coming.
    Thank you!!!

  • Mmm looks delicious! I always love reading your posts. I’m also curious about your liquid diet detox — would you mind posting examples of some of the juices you make? I’m considering doing a detox myself, but I want to make sure that I do it right. Keep up the awesome work!

  • Those pats on the back you gave yourself for this one were totally well deserved because this recipe is INCREDIBLE. I have to admit I was skeptical of the walnut taco mix, but, oh my, it is so good! When health food is this yummy, I can’t understand why anyone would want to eat any other way. I will be eating this lots this summer 🙂

  • Oh my. As much as I would LOVE to try raw tacos it would be hard on me because my hisband is allergic to all nuts except peanuts and almonds. So cooking all that for one person would be a lot of work and I don’t really want him to die.

  • Raw food is so under appreciated sometimes; it’s like people forget that you can enjoy them in a variety of ways other than salad and guacamole! Such a beautiful presentation of a healthy way to enjoy Mexican food. You’re right, not all Mexican foods are quesadillas and enchiladas. 😉

  • thanks this looks great, just a general question, how many people do your recipes usually serve, it is never listed.
    Thanks a lot!

  • This is amazing, thanks for sharing Sarah! I have been meaning to go on a juice fast for years now, but never came across the right resources to guide me in this pursuit. The result? One or two days of unhappy juiciness… then straight to square one. Any chance you’ll be sharing some tips on how to properly prepare (and stick to) a juice fast with us in the future?

  • That salsa looks to-die-for. Yum. Also, love the use of greens as taco shells instead of tortillas. Health in one easy step! 🙂

  • looks delicious. And I too, love Mexican food. Something about the freshness, the acid, the salt, pops of flavor in your mouth. Its a party in your mouth. Yummy avocado, cilantro and lime, me loves. Growing up in Cali and New Mexico I was surrounded by it my whole life. Now living in NYC I miss it dearly. Not that there is a lack of Mexican culture here, its just not quite the same. I love your raw version. 😀 Have you been to Mexico? The food there and the quality of the fruits is mind blowing. I was blown away by something as simple as fresh oj, it was nectar of the gods.

  • Sarah B you have outdone yourself.

    Thank you for sharing another fantastic recipe. I think this one is worth planning a patio party around.


  • Iiiiinteresting! I absolutely love, stalk, date, marry, well, you get the point, LOVE TACOS. And until now I could only imagine them nice and warm, with melted cheese. But my dear, you’ve changed that for me today. I’m a new woman. I l.o.v.e. walnuts, so the idea of using them as the filling is genius.

    WILL be trying this!

    Happy 4th! AMERICUUUH.

  • AMAZING! You are truely on clever chef. I am constantly blown away by your mouth-watering posts. I cait wait to try this and I’m thinking of adding some slices of ripe mango with it. Mmmm…

  • These look amazing! I love just about anything that includes an avocado in the ingredient list. I am anxiously awaiting the blooms on my tomato plants to yield their gorgeous fruit to make salsa just like this! Thank you for a beautiful post!

  • This is so so very interesting. Your photos are wonderful so that really adds to drawing in my attention. Walnuts as ground beef~I would really like to try that. Do you ever follow Gillian McKeith? She had a TV program called “You are What you Eat”. You might really like this.

  • ehh..YUM! Such beautiful pictures, Sarah! Makes me long for the north a wee bit.. These flavor combinations are a regular guest at my plate as well, loving the raw taco and playing around while eating with your hands<3 Great post all and all! Wish you a lovely summers day!

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