Jackfruit Tacos & Super Cool Facts

Jackfruit Tacos & Super Cool Facts

The Skinny on Jackfruit

Jackfruit grows on a jack tree (also, jak tree), which is is “a handsome tree” of the mulberry family (Moraceae). Jack trees are monoecious, having both male and female leaves on the same plant.

When ripe, the external fruit omits a malodorous scent similar to decayed onions.

Jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh.

With proper care and attention a jack tree will produce fruit for up to one-hundred years.

Jackfruit trees have grown in India for up to 6000 years.

Jackfruit is believed to be a source of healing as the entire fruit is used in variety of means to combat everything from topical wounds to fever and asthma.

The wood of the jackfruit tree is prized for its physical beauty and functional attributes. The color of the wood may change with age from yellow to dark red. The wood is also naturally resistant to termites and fungus and is comparable to teak for its strength.

Jack tree woodchips are boiled with alum to produce a yellow dye, used for coloring silks and the cotton robes of Buddhist monks.

As food the jackfruit is also varied, everything from its flesh to its seeds have been used to make wonderfully diverse creations such as chutneys, curries, and strong liquor!

Jackfruit provides a little bit of both Vitamin C and B6 (23% and 16%, respectively).

Jackfruit is awesome but it may be intimidating, but only if you’re intimidated by jack fruit.  If so, fear not, jackfruit in a can is a thing!


When we heard Trader Joe’s sold cans of jackfruit in brine, we could not wait to get one home and crack it open. Our foodie vegan interwebs were flooded with mouthwatering pics of plant-based faux-pulled-pork recipes, we just had to get in on the action!

It must be pointed out however that while jackfruit is commonly used as meat substitute because of it’s fleshy consistency, it contains very little plant protein (1.7g per serving) so, we added cooked lentils to our tacos for that reason. You are free to add any plant protein of your choosing, gotta keep it balanced 💚

This is a basic recipe, more a suggestive list than step-by-step how-to, to hopefully inspire a lightbulb of your own. Once you get the foundation down, the rest of the house is up to you!

What we used for our Jackfruit Tacos:

1 can of Trader Joe’s Green jackfruit in brine.

2 C cooked lentils

1 pepper, sliced (choose your color)

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup chopped cabbage

3 Tbs Cholula sauce, or chipotle sauce

1 Tbs chili powder

1tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

small white corn tortillas

Drain the brine and mash the jackfruit with a fork or by hand in a medium microwaveable bowl. Add the lentils, Cholula, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Mix until evenly coated, cover and place in fridge for at least an hour.

Heat non-stick pan, add peppers, cabbage and corn, reduce heat to medium-low, cook until the color pops and you can see a bit of brown.

Remove the jackfruit mix from your fridge and heat in microwave for a minute, stir. If not fully warmed, heat for another 30 seconds.

Heat non-stick pan or griddle and warm your tortillas. When everything is ready, build your tacos! This recipe yields 14 small tacos (as seen in the pics).

Get funky with it, add avocado, spoon a little salsa, use hard-shells! The world is yours, we just wanted to flex a few food-porn pics and expound on the newfound (for us) virtues of this wonderfully diverse fruit which has taken the foodie-web by storm!


As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

©2017 ecoRDN 💚

Information compiled from NutritionValue.org, Bangladesh.com, and National Tropical Botanical Garden


ecoRDN’s Plant-Based Cheese Tasting

ecoRDN’s Plant-Based Cheese Tasting

We threw a party! A vegan cheese party, and it went over pretty damned well.

What led to this? Well quite simply, if you lined up all the vegetarians and some omnivores and asked them “why not vegan” most would likely respond, “cheese”. Cheese is the reason why many will not consider a dairy-free diet. So we wanted to illuminate the diverse, multifaceted and oh-so flavorful aspects within the current dairy-free plant-based cheese world, which has come a long way!

ecoRDN has years of catering experience but it had been a long while since we adorned ourselves in aprons and chef jackets. Since we were pretty sure a dairy-free plant-based cheese tasting never took place in Pittsburgh, we decided to go all-in and see what would happen.

The venue was set for Beauty Shoppe‘s lovely downstairs lounge. For those unaware, Beauty Shoppe is a co-working space located in the Liberty Bank Building on Penn Avenue in East Liberty.

The Beauty Shoppe Lounge

With the location set we used eventbrite to sell our tickets and put the cap at 30 people due to the limitations of the space. (We Sold Out!!!)

Once the date, time, place, and tickets were set, we began contacting businesses local and nationwide for samples and donations and were throughly bowled over by the amount of love and amazing swag we received.

From the Pittsburgh end of things, one of our favorite restaurants, B52, kindly hooked us up with two giant containers of fermented cashew Labneh… (OMG all za’atar everything!), and Pittsburgh Winery donated 10 bottles of various wines! If you weren’t aware, Pittsburgh Winery is vegan friendly, they use old-school winemaking methods that include a simple, whole ingredient list of grapes, yeast, and sulfites. Awesome!

We also received an amazing donation from the lovely people at The Happy Vegan who sent three jars of their delicious Notcho Nocheez. Yum! If you are looking for a great dairy free dip (from mild to legit hot) please check them out!

Chef Johnny was excited to create a vegan cheese for the event so he got to work and came up with a super sharp smoky cheddar spread made from almonds! The super-easy recipe is located at the end of the blog! 💚

Further donations came from Zevia (who sent us an entire case of various sugar-free flavors, we knew they would be a perfect mixer or soft-drink option), and Treeline, who shipped us a cooler bag full of two wheels and four spreads (Cracked Pepper & Classic wheels – Chipotle Serrano Pepper and Scallion spreads, respectively). So Much Awesome 💚

Daiya Foods sent us a bundle of free vouchers which we used in exchange for their block cheeses: Medium Style Cheddar and Smoked Gouda, great accompaniments to our fruit platter!

To round out the donations, we set out to find a variety of dairy-free delights to give our guests plenty of options! Of those we were able to score one of the biggest hits of the night, Miyoko’s Kitchen Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash, a sharp umami wheel that uses an age-old cheese tradition using food grade ash (which minimize acidity). Along with the ash cheese we also procured another Miyoko product: buffalo-style Vegan Mozz!

Searches high and low around the city allowed us to obtain a relatively local brand of deliciousness from Cleveland, Ohio by the name of Red Lotus. Their Spirulina Bleu was a big hit! Also from Red Lotus was a lovely, piquant Spicy Chipotle spread.


Finishing off our dairy free list is Kite Hill, whose Truffle, Dill, & Chive went fast. In fact, they all went fast. It was hard to keep up, but we did. And everyone was fed, multiple times over!


Besides a few hiccups along the way, the event was a success. People seemed really happy. We were able to chat with our guests once things settled and were able to glean a lot of positivity from each of the interactions.

We learned A LOT from this event and will use that knowledge to make our next event even better! Thank you for your patience during this first venture!

A HUGE Thank You to EVERYONE who participated 💚💚💚

Much Love to B52, Pittsburgh Winery, Notcho Nocheez, Zevia, Daiya Foods, Treeline!

Thank You to ALL the companies who make the amazing vegan cheeses and contribute additional foodie-love and positivity into our ever-growing population; Miyoko’s Kitchen, Red LotusKite Hill. 💚💚💚

Thank You to Vegan Pittsburgh for tabling our event, it was a pleasure to have you! 💚

Thank You Beauty Shoppe for having us! 💚

Thank you to our volunteer, Tawnee!


We hope to see your beautiful faces at our next event… More Soon! 💚

And now the recipe! 💚


ecoRDN’s Dairy-Free Smoky Cheddar Almond Spread

OMG! This is ecoRDN‘s first attempt with a dairy-free vegan cheese and it’s amazing! This recipe is oh so simple: no soaking and no tedious removal of almond skins. All you need for this recipe (besides the ingredients) is a high-powered blender (Vitamix, etc), that is a absolute must to get the smooth texture! If you already have the blender, get these ingredients and get to making all the bellies happy. All. The. Bellies.

What you will need:

3 Cups Raw Almonds

1/2 Cup Water

1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast

1/4 Cup Shiro Miso Paste (White Miso)

1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar (or Apple Cider Vinegar)

2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke (we use hickory for this recipe)

2 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Corn Starch

Add all ingredients to your high-powered blender, turn variable slowly to the highest setting (if not using a Vitamix, follow the directions in your manual for best results) and use your tamper to push everything toward the blades. You will need to do this for up to 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape sides with a spatula. Blend evenly. Blend, blend blend. Consistency should be thick but smooth and spreadable.

Enjoy ecoRDN‘s sweet, tangy dairy-free smoky almond spread on your favorites: apples, crackers, roasted potatoes – how about veggies?. Add some to your vegan mac-n-cheese sauce for an extra powerful plant-based bacon hit, or go completely bonkers and spread this smoky delight on your toast. The possibilities are many (and bonkers!)

If you try your hand at this recipe let us know what you think in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

©2017 ecoRDN 💚


Pack a Bowl

Pack a Bowl

Whether you’ve heard (or read) the term Balance Bowls / Buddha Bowls / Power Bowls, the gist is all the same: the bowl is your vessel to pack with whole foods to fuel your body and mind. Think My Plate, but a bowl instead. It’s the latest trend but not a passing fad as it simply promotes mindful balance.

We at ecoRDN have eaten the power-balance-Buddha bowls for as long as we’ve had bowls. As each day is an opportunity to learn to be a little better, to eat a little better, to make better choices. We’ve selectively built our own bowls to mimic those choices. Hopefully these simple ideas will also inspire you to start your own fire and pack your own bowls full of goodness!

The conception to create balance encompasses all aspects of life, one of the easiest areas to control can be the foods we choose to consume. We can’t control the weather, we can’t control the emotions or actions of others, but we can choose what we eat, how much, and in what ratio.

The bowl concept is simple: find a bowl you love and fill it with whole foods you love! If you aren’t exactly sure what to fill your favorite bowl with, we will share some our favorite ingredients. These components are staples in the ecoRDN kitchen and provide a plentiful rotation of varied, wholesome options, which keep us afloat as we traverse the sometimes rocky roads of day-to-day life.


Easy Rice Cooker Foods

The rice cooker plays an important role in our kitchen. It’s not just for cooking rice. In fact, we make various pulses, numerous grains, and even cake! What makes this method such an inventive life hack is that you are able to add your ingredients, water, cover and let the machine do the rest. Average cook time can be anywhere from 20-30 minutes. Our little Aroma rice cooker came with it’s own measuring cup, it’s approximately 3/4 c. All the pulses and grains we are about to mention have a 2:1 water ratio (i.e. “2 water / 1 brown rice”).

Egyptian lentils, moth beans, mung beans, red rice, brown rice, wild rice, wheat berries, rye berries, barley, freekeh, bulgur, farro, quinoa (oh my!)

Our rice cooker is a small 6 cup model, so a normal batch requires 2 grain (or pulse) to 4 water. Add any seasoning you like, usually we’ll add 2 tsp sea salt, 2 Tbsp black pepper (we like spice, so if you prefer mild don’t add so much pepper) 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp onion powder, etc. For additional flavor add 1/2 cup diced celery, or 1/2 diced onion to replace the onion powder. It’s up to you, the possibilities are many! Keep your ratios the same and experiment, your spice rack beckons!

So Many The Vegetable

This is all up to you! Whatever veg you wish to add, and by what means. We will either steam or roast depending on time and recipe, and the list is long and varied. Another very important tool in ecoRDN‘s kitchen is the often overlooked and widely misunderstood microwave. We use our microwave everyday, it is by far the most perfect and fastest method to steam fresh vegetables and bring frozen vegetables to edible temps. Find a microwave safe pyrex or Cambro, fill with small cut vegetables, season and place in microwave on for one minute. Remove, check, stir and repeat for another minute if undone. After 2 minutes those veggies should be a perfectly steamed al dente! For leafy vegetables, only steam for 45 seconds to one minute, tops. Kale is just about perfect in a minute. And you can load the vessel with kale since it shrinks so much. Such a great way to pack in those fresh superfoods!!! If you want to build your bowl using the MyPlate schematic, fill half the volume of your bowl with vegetables and split the remaining half between protein and starch.

The All Important Starch

We have already expounded our love for the sweet potato, and we recommend you also fall in love with the sweet potato! Skin on, any way you want to prepare it (minus deep frying), this wonder tuber is a hugely beneficial and vastly important component to any and every balance bowl. Along with the sweet potato, we also use any of the grains mentioned above in the rice cooker section. Red skin, russet, and yellow potatoes are another favorite. Baked squash, when in season, are an absolute delight!. Autumn brings about many butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash deals. And after you get the hang of processing, these luscious gourds make a great seasonal accompaniment!

Proteins Repair Your World

As we mentioned earlier, the rice cooker is an ideal way to prepare a varied selection of proteins for your bowls. Other easy methods to introduce plant-based proteins into your roster include: beans, tofu, tempeh, and edamame.


But the single most important aspect of the Balance Bowl is YOU. You make the call, you build your destiny, you pack your own balance. Hopefully this post provides you with a few ideas to work with, something to build on.

Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to enjoy our blog, and please feel free to like, share, or leave a comment if you feel compelled to interact!

As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

©2017 ecoRDN

Seitan Stock Recipe

Seitan Stock Recipe

If you’ve got the time, try this slow-cooked stock recipe for your homemade seitan. This particular stock is of the brown variety, which will give your seitan that deep ‘beefy’ flavor. It’s the go-to for our very own seitan recipe as seen in earlier posts. If you’re not already hip to that kernel of awesome stop what you are doing and check out our homemade savorylicious seitan recipe here. (It’s really freakin good!)

Our stock recipe is really simple, it just requires time…

What you’ll need:

1.5 gallons water (192 fl oz)

6 fl oz soy sauce (the picture above shows 8 in the measuring cup but that recipe has since been modified, too salty…)

3 c chopped onion

8 large cloves garlic

1 Tbsp whole peppercorn


High heat to boil, reduce to medium heat for steady simmer.

Cook for 2 hours, allow to reduce.

Remove 10 ounces for seitan dough, use remaining 2.5 quarts for cooking the seitan dough.

Oh, so much the flavor! Try it out and let us know what you think in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

©2017 ecoRDN

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

Ok, so we are jumping on the avocado toast bandwagon here at ecoRDN! Why? Because it’s delicious, filling (from all that good fat), gorgeous (just look at all the IG posts!) and amazing (amazingly simple and nutritious that is)!

The history of avocado toast is unclear but possibly stems from Australia where it made menu appearances back in the 90’s. The Aussies love putting things on toast, you know?

In 1999 British chef, Nigel Slater may have been the first actual documented recipe creator.   However is a “recipe” really needed? Its avocado smashed or sliced on toast for f’s sake!

And then there was the grand endorsement by Gwyneth Paltrow in her 2013 cookbook, where she included 3 avocado toast recipes, and the rest was just a crazy blur.

So whether you are still smitten or over the avo trend, oh well, whatevs! Here is our take…



  1. avocado (duh)
  2. nice bread
  3. any fruit or veggies you like
  4. any herbs and spices you like
  5. any condiments you like


  1. slice your bread nice and thick, toast if you like
  2. cut a ripe avocado in half, take out the stone, scoop out the avo meats and smash or slice onto your nice bread or toast
  3. add all the other ingredients on top and eat
  4. enjoy!


Let us know your thoughts on avocado toast in the comments below. Or give us a like and a share if you’re feeling the flavorful love!

As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

©2017 ecoRDN

Spicy Curried Split Peas

Spicy Curried Split Peas

Per the USDA Nutrient Database, a 3.5 oz serving of yellow split peas contain 25 grams of protein, 26 grams of dietary fiber, 61% of our DV of Thaimine (B1), 34% DV of Pantothenic Acid (B5), and 69% DV of Folate (B9). Along with a decent offering of Iron (31%) these peas could quite possibly be viewed as the vitamin B’s knees!

We at ecoRDN need no additional coaxing, these dreamy peas are preaching to the choir. We LOVE split peas: their toothsome bite, their inexpensive costs, their availability . Split peas, like lentils (and honestly, as many pulses as we have room for) are constant staples in our kitchen. The one downside to split peas  is that they aren’t easily cooked in our rice cooker.

We LOVE our rice cooker recipes, it’s a great way to multitask in the kitchen, put all the ingredients in a pot, fill with water and let the machine do the rest while you trudge on elsewhere. Split peas however are too starchy and have a tendency to bubble over. We’ve found out the hard way numerous times, a great frothy mess awaited us as we walked back to check our progress. We weren’t going to stop eating split peas, that would be foolish. So we decided to go old school and use a pot and stay with the peas instead of doing other chores in the interim. Split pea bedside manner.

For this recipe we use our trusty 2 qt pot. The same pot used for ecoRDN‘s holiday mashed potato and cranberry recipes!

Gather your ingredients, add them to the pot, and cover with water, then stir and simmer until this golden aromatic dream of a dish finishes and you may resume making happy bellies happier! This recipe yields approximately 6 servings.

What you will need:

2 qt pot (or larger)

2 c yellow split peas

1 c diced onion

1 c diced celery

3 lg cloves garlic minced (or rough chopped)

1 Tbsp fresh ginger minced (or rough chopped)

1 Tbsp cracked black pepper

1 Tbsp sea salt

1 Tbsp turmeric

1 tsp hot pepper (chili/cayenne)

4 cups boiling water

Bring water to boil, reduce to simmer and let roll lightly while stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Drop heat to low bubble, cover (but leave room for steam to escape to prevent a messy overflow), cook for 20 extra minutes. After 20 minutes check the water level, if looks too dry add another 1/2 cup boiling water, stir. When rumble is again reached, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Turn off the stove, cover and let stand for another 20 minutes.

Serve immediately with roasted sweet potatoes, steamed kale, red rice, avocado, or any lovely additions of your choice. Keep on hand for daily pulse consumption. Keep things fresh, enjoy!


Let us know your thoughts on our spicy curried split pea recipe in the comments below. Or give us a like and a share if you’re feeling the flavorful love!

As always, thanks for reading and eat well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

Sign up to ecoRDN‘s Mailing List and receive a FREE 2017 Plant-Based Meal Planner!!!

©2017 ecoRDN

Winter Oats

Winter Oats

Winter bellies beckon for warm spice fuels to satiate during the coldest of months. Try our seasonal inspired overnight oats to begin your day!!!

January is National Oatmeal Month, so we at ecoRDN are sharing our favorite overnight oat recipes fit for the frosty & famished! Start your New Year off right with these easy dairy-free recipes that are sure to satisfy.

Pears, pumpkins, and apples are favorites in the ecoRDN kitchen, so this recipe collection was a treat to make and eat, then test and eat, again and again!

Each dairy-free recipe yields six portions. Prepare at least a day in advance for the very best results. Serve hot or cold, depending on your mood! These recipes are guaranteed to keep you afloat during the coldest of mornings (until lunch, when it’s time to eat again!) (YAY FOOD!!!)


Pumpkin Spice Oats

1 cup pureed pumpkin

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup steel cut groats

1 cup raisins

6 Tbsp ground flax seed

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp ginger

1/8 tsp nutmeg

32 fl oz sweetened vanilla soy milk


Apple Pie Oats

3 Granny Smith apples diced

1 cup chopped walnut

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup steel cut groats

6 Tbsp ground flax seed

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp ginger

1/4 cup molasses

32 fl oz sweetened vanilla soymilk


Harvest Pear Oats

3 pears diced

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup steel cut oat groats

6 Tbsp chia seed

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp ginger

1/4 c maple syrup

32 fl oz sweetened vanilla soymilk


For each recipe: first, add all dry ingredients together then add maple syrup/molasses and fruit. Finally, add  soy milk and stir until evenly incorporated. Consistency should be loose. Allow to set overnight in refrigerator. Check thickness the following day and add additional soymilk as desired.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. And if you’re feeling kind, give this post a like and a share. As always, Thanks For Reading & Eat Well!

For a mouthwatering archive of foodie pics and all things nutritionally awesome, follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

Sign up to ecoRDN‘s Mailing List and receive a FREE 2017 Plant-Based Meal Planner!!!

©2017 ecoRDN