Sometimes you just need to lighten up. While I mean that in both your attitude and in your food…for this post we’ll just address the food. I’m no Oprah, or Dr. Phil, so who am I to talk to anyone about lightening up? These vegetarian tacos are so rich with flavor, you might not even miss the meat. I’m not saying they taste like meat at all, but they’re certainly not boring and they’re really easy to whip up.
I’m a big fan of the white vegetable known as cauliflower. I use it in a lot of things and in ways you probably would not expect. Of course I make trays of roasted cauliflower just to eat as a side dish, but you can do so much more with this vegetable.
Roasting cauliflower gives this seemingly bland and boring veggie a whole new life, and I’ve got quite the list of cauliflower recipes. I make a roasted cauliflower hummus (same great taste as regular hummus, but with a lot fewer calories). There’s the roasted cauliflower and leek soup that’s so creamy you’ll swear there’s dairy in it. I puree the roasted cauliflower and use it as a base for a low cal cream sauce. Of course I also chop it up and mix it into mac and cheese and no one has any idea that it’s in there (woo hoo…a sort of healthy mac and cheese dish). Then there’s a gluten free tabbouleh salad that I make with fresh cauliflower. So as you can see, cauliflower is a great way to lighten up!
These vegetarian tacos came about completely on a whim. Craig was grousing about wanting to have some tacos and I didn’t really feel like making the usual. You know…ground meat, taco seasoning, cheese, salsa, blah, blah, blah. It just sounded so booooring. Apparently Craig didn’t really care what he was being served so long as it was stuffed into a corn tortilla. Because when I gave him his plate of tacos he didn’t even bat an eye at me. No smirk, no smart ass comments…he just started stuffing his face.
I’m not saying that he would have caused me to do anything different if he had started carrying on about things like “where’s the meat,” “you call this a taco” and the like. I would have just shot him a look and walked away. At some point the man has to understand that he’s not living in a restaurant with a chef at his beck and call (or a chef period). But I digress.
These roasted cauliflower vegetarian tacos (aka tacos) are really filling and do have a tremendous amount of flavor to them. One of the main reasons is the salsa verde that’s spooned on top. Unlike a Mexican salsa verde which uses tomatillos and jalapeños, this recipe is more of an Italian salsa verde. It’s got a piquant flavor from the lemon zest and capers that are in it.
Oh, I almost forgot…these roasted cauliflower tacos are not only vegetarian and really good for you, but they’re also gluten free (just double check the package of corn tortillas you buy). That’s a whole lotta good for you in a dinner recipe isn’t it?
Is there anything else you’d add to these? Maybe some black or pinto beans? How about some roasted squash?
- 1 Head Cauliflower (chopped into florets)
- 2 Fresh Poblano Chile Peppers (stemmed, seeded and sliced into strips)
- Olive Oil
- Salsa Verde
- Small Handful Flat Leaf Parsley (about ⅓ cup)
- 10 Sprigs Cilantro
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Capers (drained)
- ¼ Cup Unsalted, Roasted Pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
- Juice of 1 Small Lemon
- ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- ½ Cup Olive Oil
- Corn Tortillas
- Red Onion (sliced thin)
- Avocado (sliced thin)
- Crema or Queso Fresca
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
- Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil and arrange cauliflower on one and poblanos on the other. Drizzle both with some olive oil and stir around to make sure everything has a coating of oil on it.
- Slide baking sheets into the oven for 20 minutes. Stir cauliflower and peppers and re-arrange pans to cook vegetables evenly. Cook for another 10 minutes. (Cauliflower is done when its softened a bit and has a nice golden brown color in spots. Peppers are done when soft and darkened in color.)
- Remove from oven to let cool.
- Add all of the ingredients for the salsa verde into the bowl of a food processor and buzz until there are no large chunks.
- Give salsa a taste and adjust ingredients to your liking. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
- Toast tortillas in a hot pan for a few minutes on each side.
- Arrange tortillas on plates and top with roasted peppers and cauliflower. Add sliced onion, avocado and drizzle with salsa verde and crema. Add some pepitas and cilantro if you like. Finish it off with a squirt of lime.
- To add more spice, you could also add sliced jalapeños to the tacos.
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