veggiefueled.

adventures of a plant-based athlete


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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

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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

Ingredients*:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  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. 😉

Enjoy.

Cauliflower: The Ninja Food

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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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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!

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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. http://www.sublimerestaurant.com

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…

 

*Update*

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

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