Crispy Coconut Cauliflower Tacos

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I am so grateful for other food sites, like Splendid Table, that post amazing and inspiring recipes. These recipes are often the catalyst for my kitchen adventures. The Baja-Style Cauliflower Tacos are phenomenal. They have the perfect amount of heat; slight crunch from the panko/coconut breading, and a soft earthy flavor of the cauliflower.

While I did not make the slaw in the recipe, I opted for a similar one with a pre-made chipotle-tomato dressing. I also served the tacos with this delicious Tomato Rice.

I also changed the process of where I added the spice – I put most of the spice in the breading mix, leaving the coconut milk plain. The downside to this was if the breading fell off, the cauliflower was a bit more bland.

 
Ingredients

  • 1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 head cauliflower (1 pound), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Corn tortillas, warmed

1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix coconut, panko and spices in a bowl, set aside.

2. Whisk coconut milk. Dip the cauliflower into coconut milk mixture; coat well.

3. Once cauliflower is coated with coconut milk, roll in the seasoned panko/coconut topping. Place on a baking sheet.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning cauliflower pieces halfway through.

 

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Spaghetti Squash Tacos

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Tacos are an incredibly versatile dish. You can keep it traditional with your protein asada or you can get creative and add new veggies, like spaghetti squash.

What I loved about this meal is that it was ready in less than 30 minutes. If you bake your spaghetti squash the night before, all you need to do the next night is marinate and heat the squash. I added corn to my squash, but you can add peppers, onion, beans, etc. I hope this recipe inspires you to get creative the next time you are craving tacos!

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash, roasted, set 2 cups aside
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp chipotle sauce, if you like more heat, add 1 chipotle pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ c to 1 c vegetable broth or water
  • 1 c corn
  • ½ c black beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Corn tortillas and toppings of your choice (cilantro, red onion, avocado, fresh lime, pico de gallo)

 

  1. Make the spaghetti squash ahead of time. Slice squash in half, scoop out the seeds* and coat inside of squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast flesh side down at 400 F until fork tender. Set aside to cool. Pull squash out using a fork.
  2. In a skillet, sauté olive oil, spices and garlic. After 3-5 minutes, add ½ c of broth or water
  3. Next, add the spaghetti squash, corn and beans into the marinade. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes or until warm.
  4. Season as necessary. Heat the tortillas, add the butternut squash filling to each taco and garnish with desired toppings

Layered Veggie Enchiladas

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Normally when I make enchiladas, I make them one by one: warming the tortilla, drenching it in enchilada sauce, filling it with veggies, then rolling them into place.. This time, I deconstructed the process a bit. Rather than filling and rolling, I layered it like a lasagna. It worked wonderfully!

I still warmed the tortilla, then I started each layer with enchilada sauce – tortilla – more sauce – veggies/beans/cheese – repeat. The middle layer, I omitted the sauce and put a thin layer of chili – I had some on hand that I wanted to use up. If you don’t have chili, you can just add more beans. This enchilada powder mix from Simply Organic is my go-to sauce.

Have fun with this recipe – feel free to get creative with the layers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of frozen tri-colored peppers (red, orange, yellow)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • Chili
  • Cumin
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 c chili (optional)
  • Enchilada sauce – Simply Organic powder mix and 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • Small corn tortillas
  • Cheese (optional)
  1. First, prep the veggies. Sauté the onion in some oil for about 5 minutes, then add the peppers. If using frozen peppers – be ware the skillet might sizzle a bit
  2. Next, add some seasonings – I used a few pinches of chili and cumin – taste and adjust as needed
  3. Get the enchilada sauce together – following instructions on the packet
  4. Heat the tortillas in a skillet
  5. In a casserole dish layer enchilada sauce, tortilla, sauce (enough just to cover/saturate tortillas), veggies, beans, and cheese (if using). The top layer should be tortilla, sauce and cheese.
  6. Bake at 350F until cheese is melted – it took about 45 minutes for ours to heat all the way through

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Oven Roasted Cauliflower

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This recipe comes from Alon Shaya, courtesy of Food52. While I did not make the whipped goat cheese that is supposed to accompany the cauliflower, I did make a sun-dried tomato sauce that I wanted to eat with a soup spoon. I simply simmered some sun-dried tomatoes in some fresh cream. Once the cream went down in size by a third, I puréed the cream and tomatoes and added some garlic, salt and pepper. You could easily make this meal vegan by using a non-dairy creamer in place of the fresh cream.

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I absolutely love the idea of roasting a whole head of cauliflower. This is such a beautiful dish that is so satisfying, you won’t be able to resist seconds.

Chipotle Corn Chowder

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Nothing like coming back from a blogging hiatus with a smoky soup to awaken your senses. Life certainly has a way of interfering with fun hobbies. The past two months have been occupied with job interviews, relocating and embarking in a new career. So far, so good. The only downside is getting used to my new shift and schedule. And so it goes.

Here I am now though and let me tell you, this soup is pretty amazing. I first made a batch this weekend, taking the ingredients from this recipe and just winging it. I do that a lot with soup and somehow it works. The downside is that when I come on here to blog about it and tell you how delicious it was…I am out a recipe. For me, soups are one of the best dishes to play around with. Not a fan of heat? Sub in a mild curry or cumin or paprika. Mix it up. See what happens! You can almost always (I say almost because some cooking catastrophes cannot be resurrected), balance a soup out by adding herbs, oil, salt, vinegar, starch, etc.

Ok, so with this outstanding soup, the first time I made it, I followed the recipe pretty closely. And by closely I mean I used 90% ingredients with 0% measurement accuracy. The second time I created a recipe similar to this:

  • Olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 5 small potatoes, I used red and yellow, peeled and diced
  • 1 c of corn
  • Dashes of chipotle powder and paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 tsp veg base
  • 1-2 c plain almond milk
  1. Saute the onion and celery in oil until soft, add the diced potatoes
  2. Sprinkle in your seasoning, start off light, you will taste as you go and adjust as needed
  3. After a few minutes of marrying the seasoning with veggies, add the corn, bay leaf, veg base and almond milk
  4. You want enough liquid so the veggies are comfortable and have some room, with about an inch of liquid above them. If 2 c almond milk isn’t enough, add more or you can add water (*note using full fat coconut milk is really the way to go here)
  5. Simmer everything until potatoes are tender. You can either leave as is or take half out and puree

Catching Up Over Couscous

I visited the World Market last week and forgot how fun that store is. I was the classic retail therapy shopper, entering the store needing nothing in particular and leaving with an armful of “must-haves.” One of the items I found was this Israeli couscous:

  
I enjoyed the concept and it was a nice change of pace, veering away from boring rice. Some things to be mindful of, it’s a little plain. Although, at 5mg of sodium, I can’t blame it. To add more flavor, I incorporated mushrooms (shiitake) that were sautéed in oil and garlic, along with sautéed kale and an herbed goat chèvre. You can easily keep this vegan by leaving the chèvre out. 

I would definitely buy this dish again. It made more (in my mind) than 2 servings and by adding greens and other veggies, you can definitely squeeze a few meals out of this tiny box!

  
 

A Simple Stir-Fry with Teryaki Chik’n and Ramen Noodles

 
Tonight, dinner was ready in about 20 minutes. I used 1/2 an onion, one yellow pepper, 1/2 c edamame, garlic, ginger, tamari, Gardein Teryaki Chik’n and two ramen noodle packages. You could use whatever veggies you have on hand. And while the Gardein Teryaki sauce was flavorful, I enjoyed the extra garlic and ginger for a deeper flavor.

If you are a fan of spice, like I am, don’t forget to dress the noodles in Sriracha. 

For a quick rundown on the process, I sauteed the veggies and once they were soft, I added the garlic, ginger and tamari. As this became fragrant, I added the Chik’n and covered until the Chik’n was cooked through. I poured in the sauce packet and added the noodles next. I simmered everything on low heat for about 5 minutes. 

Ready Made Dinners

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I’m sure most of you can relate, there are some nights where food is the last thing on your mind. While I try and steer clear of frozen meals, sometimes, it’s a must. This meal exceeded my expectations. I found a sweet and spicy ‘chicken’ at Target and paired it with fresh green beans (with a brown butter sauce, topped with toasted almonds) and Trader Joe’s Quinoa Pilaf which had a subtle curry undertone.

We all need meals like this from time to time and I feel these products were great at getting the job done!!

Curried Sweet Potato Noodle Salad with Roasted Cauliflower

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I LOVE THIS DISH. A dish which happened to be a very random creation. I had some sweet potatoes to use, so I thought I’d pull out the spiralizer. Other ingredients I had to work with included cauliflower and celery. It didn’t take long for me to think of a curry roasted cauliflower salad, and it seemed fitting to use the sweet potato noodles as a base.

First, I quickly blanched the spiralized noodles. This is optional, it simply removes some of that unpleasant starchyness.

Next, roast the cauliflower (toss florets in coconut oil, salt, pepper and a dusting of curry powder) at 400F until tender.

Then, dice the celery. Soak some golden raisins in boiling water, drain. Toast a handful of blanched slivered almonds. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with the blanched noodles. Add the roasted cauliflower once it has cooled.

Finally, the dressing! I used a specialty curry powder with a little garam masala. To this I added honey and rice vinegar. I mixed this mixture well, and slowly drizzled in olive oil. Taste along the way to determine which flavor you need more or less of. For example, too vinegary? Add more oil. Too bland? Add more spice/salt.

Chickpea Sloppy Joes

The Splendid Table recently ran a recipe for a vegan sloppy joe which immediately caught my eye. I gratefully had a helper in the kitchen who went to town on mashing the chickpeas. Unfortunately, my instructions, “mash the chickpeas, some chunks are ok” was not very clear. On the plus side, I have a set of hands that can make hummus without a food processor!!

As we got to sautéing the veggies, my helper’s optimism was waning. And when we added the mashed chickpeas, the look on his face was priceless. I even suggested we preheat the oven for a frozen pizza, just in case. But, we carried on. I decided to add some TVP to compensate for the, um, lack of texture with the mashed chickpeas. That was honestly a hit. I also added a few dashes of my secret, go-to ingredients like Dijon and Worcestershire.

Feel free to play around with the recipe!

– 2 cans of chickpeas
– olive oil
– 1/2 medium red onion, diced
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
– 1/4 c tomato paste
– 3 Tbls liquid aminos
– 2 tsp dried oregano
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
– liquid smoke
– 1 tsp Dijon
– 2 tsp Worcestershire
– 2 Tbls barbecue sauce
– 1/2 c TVP
– water
– Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Roughly mash chickpeas
2. Sauté the onion and red pepper over medium heat for about 5 minutes
3. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 15 minutes, adding water if necessary
4. Top with sriracha or barbecue sauce

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