Nopales & Mushroom Empenadas


Empenadas are Spanish food that are flaky, buttery, pastries and traditionally stuffed with beef. My take on it, however, uses some fresh produce and some spicy ingredients to bring you a tangy, citrus



So what are morales? Nopales are cactus paddles, but don’t worry – you don’t have to eat the spikes on the sides. In fact, you can usually buy them with them already removed.


Nopales are rich in fiber, manganese, protein, and vitamin C, too! If you cook them on their own, they have a tangy & juicy flavor, plus their texture is one-of-a-kind.



The wonderful thing about this empanada filling is that is the flavors blend and mesh so well together – not to mention the texture of all of these slow-cooked vegetables is so savory. The first time I made it to test it out, I told my husband that this was the best thing I’d ever tasted in my life – YEAH, it’s that good.



Not going to lie, though, this recipe is A L O T of work, it takes about an hour and fifteen minutes, and you’ll be working the whole time. Want to make it easier? Find a buddy! This is a great recipe to make with friends & I can guarantee you’ve never tried anything like it.


So read it through, figure out what you need to grab from the store, and phone a friend! This will surely impress, too!

By the way, you can pick up nopales at mexican grocery stores & markets. I recommend calling around, first.


Nopales & Mushroom Empenadas

Serving: 14
Time: 1 hr 15 min

The Dough

dough recipe is adapted from the New York Times Beef Empenada recipe


  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 oz vegan buter
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. In a large bowl, pour 1 cup boiling water over salt & butter. Mix until it has all melted together.
  2. In smal batches, add flour and mix continuously with a wooden spoon until it is no longer sticky & a warm dough has formed.
  3. Knead a few times on a floured surface (with floured hands!) and form into a ball. Wrap or cover and refrigerate for 1 hour

The Filling


  • 1 peeled potato, cubed
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (seeded if you can’t handle the heat)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 3 oz mushroom (oyster variety is best)
  • 2 nopales (cactus paddles) with spikes removed, diced
  • 1 tsp each:
    • chili powder
    • tajin (chili lime seasoning)
    • cumin
  • 1 cup minced cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced


  1. Heat about 1 tbsp of water in a large pot at medium heat. Once heated, add potato, onion, garlic, jalapeño, & bell pepper.
  2. Saute for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add 1 cup water & bouillon cube – cover & simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fully cooked.
  4. In a frying pan, heat at medium-low with a tbsp of water or a bit of oil. Once heated, add mushroom & cactus.
  5. Saute for about 10 minutes – until the cactus is no longer crunchy – stirring frequently.
  6. After 10 minutes are up, add cactus & mushroom to the other pot of vegetables. Add chili, tajin, and cumin, as well.
  7. Cover until the 20 minute mark is up (you want potatoes cooked well).
  8. Once the potatoes are easily washable, remove lid and crank up the heat to medium. Mix up a bit and begin to smash the potatoes with a fork (roughly, doesn’t have to be perfect).
  9. Leave at medium heat without the lid for 15-20 minutes (until all liquid is gone). You want the filling to be thick, moist, but not watery.
  10. Remove from heat and add cilantro and the lime juice.
  11. While that is finishing up, the dough should be ready.

Putting it all Together

Have these items on hand:

  • a cup with some water in it
  • a small bowl with a bit of flour


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Separate the dough into golf ball sized sections (should make about 12-14).
  3. On a floured surface, roll a ball into a 6 inch wide circle.
  4. Add about 1 tbsp of filling to the center.
  5. Dip finger in water & run along edges of empanada dough (like a glue to seal it shut). Fold dough over into semi-circle.
  6. Seal by pressing down edges with a fork (see image above).
  7. Continue filling & folding with the remainder of dough and filling.
  8. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
  9. Brush a bit of oil on the top of each empenada and broil for 1 minute on top rack, or until they are golden brown.
  10. Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole, or try out my easy no-soak cashew sour cream!

Tell Me:

Have you ever had an empenada before? What was in it?

Did you try the recipe? How did it work out? I’d love to hear your feedback!

Don’t forget to like, share, and pin the recipe for later!


cactus & mushroom




Spring Rolls + Easy Peanut Sauce

Spring has sprung officially (but actually, unofficially here in Minnesota)!
Today is really nice, though, so I can’t complain!

I’m excited for colorful foods back at the farmers market, eating outside, going on more walks, and wearing less layers!


Warmer weather also makes me want to cook less. Anyone else feel this way? I just want to eat a bunch of fruit & veggies and spend as little time in the kitchen as possible.

So today I decided to whip up some spring rolls and actually write down how I make my tangy peanut dipping sauce.



These are fun to make with friends or with the family! They are a great snack or even an appetizer for bigger meals.


Disclaimer: you don’t have to use all of these ingredients in your spring rolls, and you can add other things too, of course – just make it your own and have fun with it! Don’t forget the fresh herbs, though – they make the flavor pop!


Spring Rolls + Easy Peanut Sauce

The peanut sauce can easily be used as a salad dressing, sauce for noodles, or anything else you prefer to use it for.

Serves: 6
Time: 10-20 minutes total

Easy Peanut Sauce


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 lime juiced


  1. Mix it all together in a small bowl until it has a smooth texture. Refrigerate if you prefer, but its great either way.

Spring Rolls


  • (6) spring roll rice paper
  • (1/4) red cabbage
  • (1/2) red onion
  • (1) tomato
  • (1) radish (I used black radish)
  • (1 cup) fresh cilantro
  • (1 cup) fresh basil
  • (1 cup) shredded carrot
  • (1/2) cucumber
  • (1/2) avocado
  • (1) bell pepper


  1. Cut up all ingredients (see photo for example) so that they are small enough to fit in a roll.
  2. Fill a large shallow dish (or large plate) with warm water.
  3. Place a rice paper in the dish and submerge it in the water for 10 seconds.
  4. Remove and place on dry plate.
  5. Fill and layer with the remainder of the ingredients in a relatively straight line.
  6. Grab one side of the rice paper and fold it over the filling and tuck under, slightly.
  7. Then, fold the left and right side of the paper over the filling, too, and roll until there is no more excess rice paper.
    This is confusing, I know, so here’s a nifty youtube tutorial 🙂
  8. Set aside on another dry plate until they are all done.

Tell Me:

What ingredient would you add to your spring roll? Have you tried it with tofu before?

Did you try the recipe? How was the peanut sauce? I’d love to hear your feedback!

Don’t forget to like, share, and pin the recipe for later!





Tofuevos Rancheros

Tofuevos = vegan eggs or a tofu scramble. I know you were wondering!

Huevos Rancheros = the best food on the planet. For starters, it’s Mexican breakfast and we all know there is close to nothing better than that. Huevos Rancheros are corn tortillas smothered with beans and layered with eggs and tasteful toppings.



I had to veganize – it! So here are my Tofuevos Rancheros!

They are tasty, filling, easy, healthy, and take less than 30 minutes to throw together!


Tofuevos Rancheros

Serves: 2
Time: 30 minutes (or less)


  • 4 corn tostada shells
  • 2/3 package tofu, diced as small as you can get it
  • 1 veggie burger patty (whichever brand you prefer – I use Dr. Praeger’s)
  • 1 1/2 cup beans, already cooked.
  • 1 tsp herbs de Provence
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • hot sauce and/or salsa of choice


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of water in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add diced tofu. Let cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat a small pan over medium heat with the veggie patty.
  4. In the meantime, you can prep / cut up your cabbage, onion, tomato, spinach.
  5. Once the tofu has started to brown up a bit, add another tbsp of water and start smashing w/ a fork. The consistency should be similar to scrambled eggs.
  6. Once they look scrambled, add turmeric, paprika, chili powder, soy sauce, and a bit more water. Let cook for 5 – 10 minutes. Taste test to make sure flavor has been absorbed by the tofu. Turn heat to low and let sit on the stove until ready to serve.
  7. While tofu is continuing to cook, use a fork to break apart the veggie patty so that it is in small chunks. Add herbs de Provence. Turn heat to medium-low to let cook.
  8. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat beans w/ 1/4 cup of water in the microwave for about 1 minute.
  9. Then, add salt & smash the beans with a fork (or immersion blender if you have it). Return to microwave for 1 minute.
  10. Once everything is ready, you can layer it up!
  11. Order of operation?
    1. Shell
    2. Beans
    3. tofuevos
    4. “sausage”
    5. spinach
    6. cabbage
    7. onion
    8. tomato
    9. avocado
    10. salsa / hot sauce

Tell Me:

Are you interested in trying them out?
Does this seem like an easy recipe for you?
Have you even tried scrambled tofu before?

Did you try out the recipe?

Share it and tag:
@thecultivatedtheorems on Instagram
@cultivatedthms on Twitter
or post yours on my Facebook Page!

Also, pin on Pinterest to save for later!


Tofuevos Rancheros


Easy Refried Black Beans

Black beans are one of our favorite foods. We always have a huge bowl of them ready in the fridge whenever we need it.


We usually cook up a big batch of them – see how here – and we use it up throughout the course of a week.

Lately, Todd’s been using them up to make refried beans – and his recipe is SO good! He made them up this morning for us and we took some pictures along the way.




  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or other milk alternative)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


  1. Heat oil in a medium sized pan over medium-low.
  2. Add the beans and add the almond milk.
  3. Continuously, mix & mash the beans with a fork until you get a creamy consistency. This should take about 3 minutes.
  4. Mix in salt & garlic powder.
  5. Serve w/ something yummy!

We ate our refried beans with scrambled tofu with turmeric, salsa, crispy tortillas, and avocado. It made a great breakfast tostada that was wholesome, nutritious, and filling.







Current Morning Essentials

A little disclosure about myself: I’m a substitute teacher. To most people, that means I go to schools every day and I monitor student behavior and give them a “free” day. For me, it’s a little different. Since I’m temporarily living in Minnesota, I decided to work this job because it gives me a flexible schedule and I am able to teach what I love – math! That being said, I typically sub for upper grade levels for math teachers at a variety of schools. My schedule is never consistent.

How do I cope with that? A few essential tools: my planner, a cup of coffee, and a consistent, quick breakfast.

The Planner: I use Passion Planner and I try fill it with EVERYTHING. Not only to keep myself feeling organized, but to keep a journal. I record my sub jobs, planned workouts, how often I floss, self-care rituals, doodles, inspiring quotes, personal goals… all of it. As each day presents itself, I scramble for spaces in my weekly layout to make a visual representation of my life and how I spend my days. My planner is an essential because it makes my hectic schedules and endless priorities fit together perfectly, but still allows me I have lots of free time in between.

Disclaimer: more planner rants + raves to come.

Disclaimer: more planner rants + raves to come.

The Coffee: Coffee is life. We all know that. The rituals of french pressing, cold brewing, and even pouring the packets of instant coffees bring a sense of hope for my day. Even if I’m waking up at 6 AM instead of 8 AM? I can freaking do this.


My favorite lately? Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee. You can get a whole bag of it, or little instant packs, too!I can’t get enough of this stuff. I get the instant coffee packs that are fortified with cordyceps and chaga mushrooms to give me that extra alertness throughout my day. This coffee actually uses half the amount of caffeine that you’d typically get in a cup of coffee – but those mushrooms give you a natural energy that coffee has nothing on. Bonus! No caffeine crash – AT ALL – seriously… it makes you feel amazing. Those mushrooms seem like they’d be kind of gross right? They aren’t. Somehow they take all of the bitterness and some acidity out of the coffee and make it taste extremely smooth and very easy to drink. I jumped from regular coffee (or cold brew concentrate) w/ almond milk to the mushroom alternative and it is l i f e  c h a n g i n g. This is the future.

What better way to help my ever-changing schedule seem a little more smooth? The smoothest cup of joe. Also, have you seen these cups – I got some for Todd for Christmas and they are so cool! And they work so perfectly. They have a little hole in the bottle so that it doesn’t fog up the glass, too!

That Quick Breakfast: Oats! Oats! Oats! I eat oats just about everyday. As a sub, I NEVER know when my next break to eat will be. Could be at 10:30? Could be at 1? Oats hold me over no matter what. I dress them up – a lot – though. Regularly, I add peanut butter, almond milk, chia + flax seeds, and frozen blueberries. Sometimes I throw in chocolate, quinoa, banana, agave, coconut flakes, other grains… it all depends on my mood and what we’ve got available. Any way, it’s always good, comforting when I didn’t want to get out of bed in the first place, and makes me feel ready to get out the door without the fear of being deathly hungry by 10 AM.