adventures of a plant-based athlete


So we meet again, Cauliflower.

Ok, so I know it’s been a while… I’ve really been a slacker when it comes to my veggiefueled obligations. I know I shouldn’t make excuses, but I’m going to anyways:

  1. We’re in the process of packing up our apartment
  2. We have some big life plans in the making (no, I’m not pregnant)
  3. I was employing the quality over quantity method…
  4. …Because I had writer’s block


Proof of the craziness in my life, extra stressful because I thrive on neatness and order and shrivel up into a stressball in chaos

But enough with the excuses! Hopefully you can forgive me and we can reignite the flames of our reader/writer relationship.

For my “comeback” post I’m going to bring back an old favorite: Cauliflower! In my first recipe post, Cauliflower: The Ninja Food, I explained how cauliflower was the answer to my texture prayers. How it was the perfect “ground beef” alternative, providing great texture and flavor versatility.

Here is another Latin dish recipe, but this time a Cuban (rather than Mexican) favorite! I present to you… Cauliflower Picadillo. I came up with this one a while back (after I figured out that Cauliflower makes great taco filling). I wanted to figure out ways to incorporate the traditional Cuban dishes my mother made growing up into my new plant-based diet – and the result was a great success!

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Ingredients, missing the cauliflower because I had already started cooking before I remembered to take pictures.

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Yummy roasted cauliflower!

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Looks just like the real deal! But veggiefueled…

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Look at the crispiness on that thing… oh ya!

Cauliflower Picadillo

Preparation & Cook time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Serving Size: 4-6 people


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 large potato (diced)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (chopped fine)
  • 1 small green pepper (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¾ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Oil for roasting & sautéing


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut cauliflower into small pieces and coat LIGHTLY with olive oil, place on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until tender.
  3. While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare vegetables (potato, onion, green pepper and garlic).
  4. When the cauliflower is done, crumble into smaller (ground beef size) pieces, place in bowl and combine with the oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.
  5. In a large pan sauté the onion, green pepper and garlic in olive oil until soft (about 5-7 min)
  6. Add the cauliflower mixture, vegetable broth, and tomato sauce. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the diced potato. Cover and cook another 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are done.
  8. Remove the cover. Cook uncovered around 15 minutes or until the liquid is fully evaporated but the mixture is still moist.

*Note: I do not like olives AT ALL; however they are a big part of the traditional recipe. Feel free to add green olives during step 7.

This last time I actually ended up making empanadas after letting the mixture cool. I just used store-bought (vegan-friendly) pastry dough, but will make my own dough next time. Unfortunately, while the dough was “vegan-friendly,” the ingredients listed looked more like a science experiment rather than something I should be eating. Definitely not something I would want to eat all the time. BUT to make things a little better, I did bake the empanadas instead of fry and they came out super crispy and delicious.

But honestly, the best way to serve picadilllo is over some freshly made rice (brown is healthier, but white tastes so much better), with a side of sliced bananas. I like to pair it with a delicious Haas Avocado & Heirloom Tomato salad. Super simple recipe, and so delicious!

Avocado & Heirloom Tomato Salad

 Preparation time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2 people


  • 1 Haas avocado
  • 1 medium / large heirloom tomato (or regular tomato)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Chop tomatoes into bite size pieces
  2. Chop avocado into bite size pieces
  3. Combine tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper in a bowl
  4. Let sit to marinade while the rest of dinner is being prepared

Hopefully this really simple and delicious recipe makes up for me being M.I.A. for the last couple months. There are some big events coming up that will provide for some awesome blog posts… but until then I’ll have to settle for boring ‘ole recipes. 😉



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Recap of my Reboot: 3 day Juice Cleanse

After seeing the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead my husband and I just HAD to start juicing! It was so obvious that at the end of the documentary we just turned to each other with that knowing look, you know that one that says “we’re getting a juicer, right?!” So of course, like every other kitchen gadget we become fixated on, we purchased the Juice Fountain® Elite Breville Juicer. We were excited to try the thing out and get started on our first juice cleanse…

Fast forward to more than a year later… I just finished my first 3 day cleanse. Don’t get me wrong, we used the juicer somewhat regularly during the past year but never found the “right” time to give up eating. Every time we would consider starting a juice cleanse there was something in the way… like a pre-planned family dinner, or half marathon training, or just the fact that we didn’t really want to give up our beloved food for three days. You can say we dabbled in juicing, but it was until this past Monday that I really understood the benefits of juicing.

As I mentioned in my last post I got my wisdom teeth out last Thursday and already had to cut out solid foods. So after I decided to wean off the pain medication I decided to look into a juice cleanse. There was one tiny problem; I was on antibiotics for another 4 days. Internet to the rescue: I found multiple sources (here’s one) that actually claimed that a juice cleanse was a good supplement to antibiotics! So it had been settled, I was going to finally do that juice cleanse I had been talking about for over a year.

Sunday, June 9 (pre-cleanse)

Sunday was shopping and preparation day. I decided to do the Reboot with Joe: 3 day Reboot Quick Start plan. He includes all the information you need, including: why you should juice, how to get ready, calorie information, daily reboot guide, recipes, shopping list, exercise and possible side effects or symptoms.

It really is juicing made easy. Now for me I didn’t feel I needed to do the week long transition to prepare for juicing because I already follow a vegan, whole foods diet and therefore did not need to cut out processed foods, dairy or meat. If you don’t already follow this kind of diet I would suggest following his instructions to prepare. Otherwise, it may be a shock to your system and possibly a hindrance to successful completion.

Because I wanted to make juicing as easy as possible I decided to prepare all the juices ahead of time by putting the ingredients needed for each juice into a WholeFoods produce bag and labeling with the color of the juice. (You’ll see what I mean by “color” if you look at the reboot plan). Then I put together the bags for each day’s worth of juice.

I decided the best way to go about this plan was to juice a day’s worth of juices one night ahead of time. This would prevent me from having to juice in the morning which could get hectic quickly! I juiced the first day’s breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner juices on Sunday night. I would leave Monday’s dessert juice to be prepared on Monday night with Tuesday’s juices.

One quick note: I cheaped out on the coconut water because getting my typical Harmless Harvest brand coconut water would’ve cost me $15 total for the 3 days. The Naked brand ended up costing me $10 for two 33 oz containers, but it didn’t taste very good so I doubt I’ll drink the leftovers. I would say for future juice cleanses: if you’re not going to eat for 3 days, go ahead and splurge on your favorite coconut water!

So… juices made and my refrigerator full of “juice bags” for the next three days… I was excited to start my journey!


Monday, June 10 (1st day of cleanse)

Weight: 113 lbs., Body Fat: 20.5%

Exercise: Stationary Bicycle

  • Was feeling great and excited to start the juice cleanse. Spent 35 minutes at high resistance, low speed and burned around 200 calories. Sweat my a$$ off, but it felt great after almost 4 days with no physical activity.

Emotional State: Excited

  • At this point in the juice cleanse I was really excited that I had actually started (and so far stuck with it). I knew that I couldn’t really eat much solid foods anyways so I was proud of myself for starting this plan. All the juices on this day ranged from “ok” to “amazing,” so I had a pretty good first day experience. Didn’t feel too bad at any point in the day and my stomach felt fine.

Tuesday, June 11 (2nd day of cleanse)

Weight: 110.8 lbs., Body Fat: 19.9%

Exercise: Yoga for flexibility

  • I was a little tired this morning. The night before I started to have a little bit of a stomach ache and headache. This kept me tossing and turning, unfortunately not the best night of sleep. I was too pooped to do the bicycle again so I opted for a short yoga routine found on YouTube.

Emotional State: Optimistic

  • I had lost the weight gained from eating ungodly amounts of almond butter after my surgery. I was starting to feel more firm and “cleansed.” After just a mild stomach ache the night before, I was still feeling great physically. But I was also starting to feel very tired and lethargic.

Wednesday, June 12 (3rd and final day of cleanse)

Weight: 109.2 lbs., Body Fat: 19.5%

Exercise: Haha

  • By this point in the juice fast I was exhausted. It felt like I was dragging along legs that were 100 lbs. each when I walked. I slept in and let my body recover.

Emotional State: Ugh, can this be over.

  • Well it was a mix of that and excitement that the juice cleanse seemed to be working. I lost more weight (will discuss in the very end). I was feeling very firm and tight. I’m pretty sure I had cleared out my system…  But the worst part was knowing that the very next day I could eat solid food again and the anticipation was killing me!

Thursday, June 13 (post-cleanse)

Weight: 108.2 lbs., Body Fat: 19.2%

Exercise: again, no… I got my beauty sleep. I’ll start tomorrow.

Emotional State: Excited

  • Now that I’ve done the juice cleanse I feel like I have a fresh new starting ground. I followed a 100% raw vegan diet for the past 3 days and am excited to keep the healthy going…

Along with the physical benefits from the juice cleanse I found that I had a few mental benefits as well. Here’s what I learned on the juice cleanse:

Often, “hunger” is mental – I found that after drinking a juice I was completely satisfied for a good 2 hours. Because I knew I couldn’t snack on other things I focused my attention away from food. On a typical day at work I usually feel that I am “hungry” every 10 minutes. Now, this could been that I wasn’t nourishing my body correctly (though I doubt it since my snacks were mostly fruits, vegetables and other healthy options). But my guess is that it was my mind wouldn’t stop thinking about the delicious food I had in my lunch box.

Weight & Such – I know that a lot of people (especially those who know me and know my size) will probably read this post and think it’s absolutely ridiculous that I lost 4.8 lbs. in three days.  I assure you, I have a healthy relationship with my weight, body and self-image.  Because of this relationship and confidence in myself I know my physical and athletic potential. The purpose of this juice cleanse was not to lose weight but to reset my body and give it a rest. I am well aware that the number on the scale does not define who I am nor does it give a true picture of one’s health. I know that almost 5 lbs. of weight loss is a lot in a small girl my size. But did YOU know that an average person holds about 5 lbs. of digesting food and waste in their body at a time (an unhealthy person 10 lbs. or more). So hopefully you can put two and two together…

Cravings are a signal  A lot of people view a vegan diet as restrictive (something I’ve discussed in my previous post Preaching to the Choir). So when I started to get cravings I fear that it’s due to this “restrictive” diet. That when you tell yourself you can’t have something you want it even more. For some reason a couple of weeks before my surgery I was starting to get lax with my typical healthy eating. Everything was still vegan, but I wasn’t getting as many vegetables, and therefore nutrients, as normal. After this juice cleanse all my cravings have gone away. In fact, I have an intensified desire to eat a very healthy, nutritious vegan diet. What I realized was that those cravings weren’t my body/mind acting out because of “restrictions” but rather my body’s cry for help that it needed certain nutrients. With juicing (an even further “restrictive” diet) I was able to restore my body’s nutritional needs. The next time I’m craving anything… I think I might make myself a nice big juice (or two).

I am strong – Somehow my husband’s discipline to work out is just crazy strong. No matter how late he stayed up the night before watching his Heat play, he still finds the strength to get himself out of bed the next morning. I seem to really struggle with this discipline. It’s not a lack of motivation or will. I am totally committed. But sometimes it’s hard for me to dig deep and have the mental toughness to get me through an early morning workout when I’m feeling sluggish. After finishing this juice cleanse (mind you, I did it alone) I realized that I do have mental strength and I can have the discipline I desperately seek. While my hubby was munching on delicious smelling, looking and knowingly tasty food… I drank my juice. I didn’t falter once. I’m proud to learn that I am strong.

Hopefully after reading this recap of my experience you’ll be inspired to try your own juice cleanse. Please know that I am in no way advocating it as a quick weight loss method, but instead a way to cleanse your body and start fresh. It’s a good way to clean out the toxins that build up through the years. I know that I plan on doing more juice cleanses in the future just to reset.

*Disclaimer – Everybody’s experiences with a juice cleanse may be different. I am not a doctor or medical professional. Please read all warnings and preparation guides when/if starting your own juice cleanse.*

Here’s a little extra for you if you’re curious about the different juice recipes. Below is a detailed juice review by color.


Carrot-Apple-Lemon – This one was quite tasty! In fact, delicious!! I would totally drink this as my “orange” juice in the mornings. In fact I told my husband that if I am ever a stay at home mom I promise to make this juice for our family every morning… it was that good…

Carrot-Apple-Ginger – Good, but I prefer the lemon. But if you’re a ginger person… this just might be your favorite morning juice.

Sunrise – I love beets, but I definitely wasn’t a fan of beets first thing in the morning, but it was tasty and filling. Not nearly as good (or sweet) as the other two “orange” juices


Garden Variety – I’m already used to drinking green juices, so it wasn’t that bad. But I will say this one definitely wasn’t my favorite green juice.

Green Lemonade – Mmm mmm mmm! Move over mean green… this just might be my new favorite green juice! Nice and fresh. The spinach is a little bit hard to juice so I wrapped it in a kale leave and paired with celery when sticking in the juicer.

Joe’s Mean Green – This was the first juice recipe I had ever tried. It takes a little getting used to when you first start juicing, but I actually really enjoy the taste of this green juice.


Un-beet-able – This one was pretty good. Somehow made an ungodly amount of juice (around 20 oz. instead of the typical 10-12 oz.). Also, I guess I should have mentioned this in the first beet juice recap, but to get rid of the “dirt” taste that often comes with beets I suggest cutting the ends and peeling off the skin.

Sporty Spice – Again, love beet juices… but this one not so much. However, might’ve been my fault entirely. I wanted to use up some leftover radishes and read that you can substitute radishes for beets in a juicing recipe. So instead of two beets I made it with 1 beet and a bunch of radishes. Oh ya, and I ran out of celery so I used a couple slices of yellow bell pepper instead (which isn’t a substitute for celery). I’ll definitely try again with the right ingredients.

Watermelon Crush – This just can’t be healthy… it tastes way too good. This juice of watermelon and basil I would serve to friends on a hot summer day. This was a pure treat to drink. No need to be strong for this one.


Peach Pie Delight – Oh. My. God. I think I can safely say that this was my absolute favorite juice throughout the entire plan. I don’t know if it was the perfectly ripened peaches or the dash of cinnamon. But I swear to you it tasted like I was drinking peach pie.

Purple Passion – This one was so good. Something I would make for my children for lunch instead of giving them juice boxes or juicy juice. But that might be a little odd of a statement since I don’t have any children. Hahaha

Red, White, Blue (& Green!) – This was my least favorite of the dessert (purple) juices. Again, might’ve been my fault… I used rainbow Swiss chard instead of kale (ran out).  Maybe I’ll give it another shot with kale, but I don’t know what business kale and watermelon have doing together.

Juice Cleanse Plans:

Reboot with Joe


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Two Hot Tamales

I was a strange kid. I guess you could say “creative” but I think I was probably just weird. One of the funniest things I remember is playing pretend. I used to keep my mom’s old school paperwork and play school with my little sister. It wasn’t just any pretend school; I took attendance, made lesson plans and even assigned homework to my 5 year old sister (who did not enjoy being my student.)

My cousin and I had a few pretend games we would play too – we made up our own TV shows. By far the best one was New York, New York; a show about two teenage twins growing up in New York City. Again, not just any kind of pretend play, we had a theme song. We would come out of the bathroom in my room the exact same way every time and sing the exact same theme song dancing around like we were being filmed. And, just to make sure I embarrass myself entirely, we had a progressive plot and story line. Ya, that’s right…

From Little Kid’s Bedroom Studios, in association with

What a Weirdo Productions…

New York, New York

Starring: two very odd little girls

Guest starring: the annoying little sister

This wasn’t our only TV show though; my mom’s favorite was probably Two Hot Tamales, our cooking show. Unfortunately, we never got too creative with the meals… it was always the same ‘ole dinner side salad with romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cheese and croutons. But boy did we do an excellent job of chopping those veggies and entertaining our studio audience! We’d set up the entire kitchen table with all the ingredients and tools. Then it was lights, camera, action

“Welcome to Two Hot Tamales! Today we’re going to show you how to make… you guessed it, another delicious side salad.”

There’s a reason for all the reminiscing and self-embarrassment. From a very young age, I have LOVED to cook! I loved to cook with my mom, cook with my dad, cook on my own (when I was old enough). I just really loved creating “masterpieces” in the kitchen. It was a place for me to experiment, sometimes they it horrible and sometimes it was just pure culinary genius.

Here’s my latest creation. It all started with a pre-made can of chili and two poblano peppers. I was doing quick grocery shopping on a late Sunday afternoon after our trip to Colorado. I saw a can of Amy’s Organic Mild Vegetable chili. I was intrigued and still in a “tex-mex” mood. “Hmm, let me inspect that label… vegan, all whole ingredients, low-ish sodium… looks good to me!” Then as I was perusing the produce department I saw some beautiful looking poblanos… “I can definitely do something with those!” It hadn’t clicked just yet… it would still be a few hours before the idea for my masterpiece formed in my mind, most likely in the middle of the night when I’m tossing, turning and desperately trying to sleep.

So I’ve built it up enough… *drum roll please*….

Chili and Quinoa Poblano Stacks


Disclaimer: There are no specific measurements for this recipe. It’s an easy one, but maybe best attempted by a somewhat more “experienced” cook – someone who can guestimate and taste test through to a finished product. I’ll try and make it again in the near future to put together a more traditional recipe.

Serving Size: 2 people (add 1 poblano per person – or more if you eat a lot)


  • 2 poblano peppers
  • Red quinoa (1 cup dry)
  • Vegetable broth (read quinoa directions)
  • Non GMO frozen corn (about 1 cup)
  • 1 can of Amy’s Organic Medium Vegetable Chili
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 Haas avocado
  • 1 lime


Cook the quinoa according to direction (I made one cup dry quinoa – and cooked it in vegetable broth).

While the quinoa is cooking (usually takes about 20 minutes), I sliced the poblanos in half, seeded and cut the onions into large slices. Then put on a Cuisinart Griddler (so grill however you can).

As everything is cooking, heat up the Amy’s Organic Chili in a pot. Also, in the last 3 or 4 minutes that the quinoa is cooking throw the frozen corn in with the quinoa to cook.

Once everything is ready (onion and peppers will be somewhat soft and have grill marks), begin your stack…

Place the peppers on the plate first, then a little bit of quinoa/corn mixture, then the chili, then grilled onions. Garnish with diced avocado and a squeeze of lime.

Voila! Gourmet meal in 20 minutes!

Hope you enjoy! If you try the recipe, post a picture on instagram and #veggiefueled! And feel free to get creative with it… just make sure to let me know so I can try it too!

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You’re having WHAT for dinner?!

Sometime throughout history it was determined that dinner should consist of a meat, a grain/starch and a vegetable (or at least that was my impression). In fact, growing up I was a huge fan of those divided plates… you know, the one’s that ensured none of my food would touch any of my other food because THAT would be disgusting and I couldn’t possibly eat my potatoes after they were contaminated with vegetable juice…but I digress… Even when you google images of “what should your dinner plate look like” you’ll see an array of divided plates.

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Unfortunately, this rule of how a dinner should be served causes some problems for new vegetarians/vegans. I remember when we first started our meat-free lifestyle it was very difficult to find recipes that I felt were appropriate dinners. I was desperately searching for a main course in a world of what seemed like side dishes. The most ironic part was that I was determined to have my plate look a certain way because I felt it was healthier. Oh and don’t get me started on how worried I was to make sure we had a replacement protein source… *slaps hand to the forehead*

Luckily, it didn’t take too long to breakaway from this dinner plate stereotype. Thanks to the wonderful, delicious and nutritious brussels sprout… the vegetable that saved the day (or more so the dinner plate). We had a great brussels sprouts dish at a restaurant and decided to try them out at home. (Check out the recipe here, just leave out the parmesan cheese to make it vegan – it rocks!) We planned on the sprouts being a side dish for our dinner, but they were done a little earlier than expected. We started to munch on them until dinner was ready and next thing you know… we ate them all, the entire 1lb. bag between the two of us! We topped it off with a little green juice and we were good to go for the night.


And that, my friends, was the start of the random “whatever we’re in the mood for” dinners. Don’t get me wrong, we still have a typical divided plate meal every now and then, but we no longer stress to have a traditional plate planned. Here are some things we’ve been known to chow down on for dinners:

  • Bowl of roasted brussels sprouts
  • Roasted cauliflower with buffalo or barbecue sauce
  • Just juice
  • Guacamole, taco seasoned veggies and chips
  • “Tapas” style leftovers
  • Random vegetables (either in salad or non salad form)
  • Cereal (not too proud of that one…)

Just remember, a dinner (or any meal for that matter) can be anything you want it to be as long as it consists of whole, natural and plant strong foods!

Speaking of stereotypes… My husband was at WholeFoods the other day purchasing The Complete Vegan Kitchen when the cashier said to him “You’re not a vegan, are you?” Well, maybe he’s vegan, maybe he’s not… but what exactly does a vegan look like? Can we break that mold too? By the way, he was surprising me with a new cook book! Isn’t he wonderful! 🙂


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That’s entirely too much produce.

Forgive my reference to Comedy Central’s Kroll Show. Really not all that funny, but for some reason the “Oh, Hello – Too Much Tuna” prank show sketch just cracks me up.

photoHere’s a link for a snippet of the sketch:–hello—too-much-tuna

Now we can get to the real point of my post… Too much produce. We’ve all done it, gone grocery shopping (with or without a set list in mind) and have gotten mesmerized with the beautiful greens, yellows, oranges, and reds of the produce department. “Ohh look ______ are in season, I’m sure I can find something to do with them!”

Well I’m a sucker… every damn time. I always buy too much produce. Some weeks I’ll intentionally buy less because I bought too much and wasted the week before, but I always end up running out too soon and fall into the same trap the following week. 

So here are some tricks I’ve learned when you’ve bought entirely too much produce: 

Drink It

Whether you juice or make smoothies (or make hybrids like me), drinking your produce is a great way to use too much produce. The last day before grocery shopping day I take inventory – whatever produce is still good, but at the end of its life will go into either the juicer or the blender. Dylan and I make an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink smoothie once a week. Usually it will substitute one of our meals on the weekend and surprisingly it has led to some of our most tasty concoctions.

Hybrid Recipe: Juice your produce (ex: carrots, cucumbers, lemons, apples, peppers, etc) and then put the juice in the blender with your greens (ex: Kale, Spinach, Chard) and fruit or unjuice-able produce (ex: bananas, pineapple, mango). Add ice and blend!


Roast It

Have cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, peppers, etc etc etc? Throw it on a roasting pan, drizzle with a little oil, salt, pepper and spices (or leftover herbs you haven’t used up) and stick in a 500 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Look at that, another quick, easy and money/produce saving meal.

You could also toss the roasted veggies into a blender and make a vegetable soup puree. Leave some bigger pieces for more texture.

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Freeze It

So you don’t want to use it all right now? That’s fine, let’s freeze it! Got ripe bananas, make ice cream? Or freeze the peeled bananas whole to make into ice cream or banana bread later. Herbs or greens that are about to go bad? Blend or juice them and then freeze in ice cube trays for later use. Love making tomato sauces? Boil, peel and puree your ripe tomatoes and then freeze in tupperware. The possibilities are endless!

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Chop It

This one may be a better tip for when you first purchase the produce to prevent from wasting – take the time to prepare it for the week. I’ve found that if I have a date with my mandolin (food slicer) once a week and slice up radishes, peppers, onions, and other delicious veggies that I’m much more likely to throw together a healthy, nutritious and exciting side salad. Have a salad bar in your fridge, it’s much easier than preparing the vegetables every day.

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Unfortunately the stuff that’s good for you has an expiration date and doesn’t last forever *cough cough*, twinkies. But that doesn’t mean you should be scared away from making the healthy decisions at the grocery store. You just have to make an effort to do more planning (coming soon in a new post: how to plan your grocery list) and get more creative (another soon to come post: breaking the recipe mold).

Do you have any tips on how to use up too much produce? I’d love to know!

Cauliflower: The Ninja Food


I can honestly say that before becoming a vegetarian the only time I really ever saw cauliflower was on those vegetable party platters, the ones that no one ever likes but for some reason someone always brings… Not sure if I actually ever tried it before deeming it broccoli’s albino cousin and deciding that I didn’t like it?

But now this veggie holds a special place in my heart; oftentimes the MVP of my weekly grocery lists. When I first cut meat of out of my diet I thought I was doomed to a life of texture-less vegan “mush-mush.” My first homemade vegan burrito made me feel like I was eating baby food wrapped in a tortilla. Meat seemed to offer some texture, something I was desperately missing as a new veggie.  I mean sure, you could add other veggies but none of them really stood up to my expectations.

That is… until I discovered cauliflower. When roasted it has a nice sturdy texture and mild flavor. It seems to absorb seasonings and flavor, matching well with any cuisine. I started experimenting and came up with a few different recipes for my beloved cauliflower: Cauliflower Stir-fry, Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers, Cauliflower Picadillo and my favorite, Cauliflower Tacos.

Here’s the recipe for my yummy Cauliflower Tacos:

Cauliflower Tacos with Grilled Veggies and Black Bean Corn Salsa

Serves: 4 people

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 head Cauliflower (see directions for prep)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (sliced in thin strips)
  • 1 bell pepper any color (sliced in thin strips)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes (cut in quarters)
  • 1 cup non-GMO frozen corn (thawed)
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro (minced)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 avocado
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  • 2-3 tbsp Taco Seasoning (see homemade recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 corn/flour tortillas or taco shells


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, cut cauliflower into large pieces separating the top pieces from the stalk. Roast cauliflower for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut and prepare onion and peppers for grilling. If you don’t have a grill or don’t want to make a mess grilling just a few veggies, you can sauté the peppers and onions in a small pan with a little oil (you can start grilling/sautéing when the cauliflower is almost done in the oven).

Prepare the black bean corn salsa by mixing the beans, tomatoes, corn, cilantro and juice from 1 lime. Set aside to marinade.

When the cauliflower is done, remove from oven and let sit to cool for 5 minutes. Leave the oven on to heat the tortillas.

While cauliflower is cooling, heat oil in a large pan over medium-high, mince the garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until light brown and fragrant. Crumble (for “ground beef” texture) or chop (for “chicken” texture) the cauliflower into small pieces and toss in with the garlic. Cook the cauliflower and garlic for a minute, stirring to prevent sticking. Stir in taco seasoning and water to coat (adding more water if necessary). Bring mixture to a simmer and then turn the heat to low and cover pan. Let sit covered for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the toppings.

Warm tortillas in oven. Mash avocado, leaving some chunks in a medium sized bowl.

For the perfect taco construction:

  1. Put avocado mash on tortilla
  2. Load up with cauliflower mixture
  3. Top with onions and peppers
  4. Don’t be shy with the black bean corn salsa

Taco Seasoning

Serves: who knows? Makes enough for a couple times of taco cooking

Prep Time: 5 minutes, if that

Cook Time: NONE!


  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Store leftover seasoning in an airtight container in the pantry.

IngredientsChopping onions and orange bell pepper Squeezing Lime Chopping Cauliflower IMG_1269 IMG_1273 IMG_1287

Get creative with your cauliflower mixture – burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos… the sky’s the limit! Bon Appétit!

Oh and I can’t leave you without this… If you’re in the South Florida area, you have to check out Sublime’s Frito Misto (fried breaded cauliflower with a asian orange sauce). Uh-may-zing! Not necessarily healthy, but it’s good vegan cheat food.

Let me know what you think of the tacos! Do you have any suggestions? Questions? Ideas? Let me have it… I’m here to learn while sharing what I know…



Check out my recipe on the veggie nook’s Healthy Vegan Friday post.

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