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Mexican "Shrimp" Torta

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” - George Bernard Shaw

I would never had believed it if my older self came and told my younger self that one day I would love cooking and would look forward to baking with my kids and making dinner everyday. I was an order-out-three-nights-a-week type girl, and when I did cook, most people didn't ask for seconds.

I found my love for cooking and food when I forced my family to go plant-based and I had to get creative in order to get them on my side. I didn't initially run out and get vegan or plant-based cookbooks or pin like recipes on my boards. Instead, I would watch cooking shows or look at recipes in old cookbooks and try to find ways to make them plant-based. What I discovered is that it is insanely simple to adapt recipes to be plant-based. I love the challenge and learning what works well with what and how to add a super foods and antioxidant to every meal. The best part....if your kid is picky they won't even know you are trying to feed them healthy food.

When I go grocery shopping with my kids (nightmare) I often let them each choose something they want me to try and cook with. It gives them a sense of pride when the time comes to cook with the item they chose = more likely to try it. I was walking through the Calgary Farmer's Market last week and my youngest took imitation shrimp out of the freezer at Heart Choices and jumped up and down and hugged it and said he had to have it (firstly, he's freaking weird, and secondly I like the challenge) so we took the frozen, "shrimp" home.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe that I saw on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Since going plant-based, I have truly missed seafood! This was ridiculously good and a must try!


Once I started to get the hang of it (along with some great advice from my girlfriend, Michelle) baking came a lot easier and the thought of making fresh buns or bread with dinner started to seem less outlandish. But, as always, skip this step and buy your buns instead because they are just as good.

1/4 starter (skip if you don't have a starter)

1 1/4 cup water

2 1/2 cups of flour (00 or Italian is the best. No GMO's and more flavourful)

2 1/2 tbsp active yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp olive oil

Mix the starter, water, salt, yeast, olive oil, and sugar together until solids are dissolved. Add flour and mix well. Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours. Shape into small buns (you're going to let them rise again so make them about half the size you want them to be). Let buns rise for 45 more mins. Bake at 375ºF for 25 mins.

"Shrimp" Patty

2 cups of plant-based shrimp or real shrimp

1/2 hello onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups plant-based cheese or regular cheese

Chop the shrimp in to small bite-size pieces (kid bite-size). Slice the onion into thin pieces and finely chop the garlic. Add all ingredients to a pan with olive oil and sauté on medium for 10 mins (let it get a little crispy) and then add the paprika and turmeric and stir. Sauté for 5 more mins. Portion the mixture into 4 sections and cover with whatever cheese you like. Turn heat between medium and low and let the cheese slowly melt (about 8-10 mins). Then flip and make sure the cheese is nice and crispy and binding and cook for 3-5 more mins.

*Picky Eater Tip - ask your kids if they would like to be a taste tester to the chef. Let them know you need help with seasoning and want an expert's opinion. If they declined, do not make a big deal about it or pressure them (they might eventually try if you continue to offer the option). If they accept, don't freak out or praise too much. Let them try and ask if they think it needs anything else.*

This dude accepted my offer to taste test the shrimp and he loved it! Not at all what I was expecting. When it was time for dinner he was so proud that he helped me, and ate all the shrimp on his plate.


2 medium sized on the vine tomatoes

1/2 small white onion

1/2 bell pepper (I used red this time but I prefer green)

5-10 pickled jalapeños (depending how hot you want it)

1 tbsp Agave

1 tbsp olive oil

1 juiced lime

Salt and pepper

Chop all the vegetables and combine in a bowl with wet ingredients.

Let stand in the fridge for about 30-45 mins.

Don't forget to enjoy a glass of wine (if you so like) and relax! Get your kids to help by chopping 1 vegetable or by ripping lettuce. Show them that cooking can be fun.


2 ripe avocados (I make extra and my kids/husband usually eat the remaining guac with taco chips)

1/4 red onion

1/2 on the vine tomato

1 tsp cumin

1 juiced lime

As much cilantro as you like (or don't like)

Salt and pepper

Smash the avocado up with the lime juice, salt and pepper, and cumin. Add the chopped veggies and mix well. Let stand in the fridge for 30-45 mins.

Putting your Torta together:

- cut open your fresh bun

- add guac to one side and put lettuce or spinach on top

- place shrimp patty on top and load up on the salsa

- if you have a picky eater, put the salsa and guac on the side and tell them they can eat it however they like.

- if you have a Picky Plate, put the salsa and guac in the 2 ounce picky portion

If you decide to try this one or your own variation of it, be sure to tag me in it @pickyplatekids and use the hashtag #lettembepicky

Enjoy :)

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