Growing up in Arkansas, Mexican restaurants were a regular stop for my family. Living in New England now for many years, I haven’t tasted a taco that rivals those of my younger years. I’ve grown to love fish tacos, but this recipe for tacos made with cauliflower, mushrooms and walnuts takes me back to the tacos of the “olden days”. You won’t miss the beef(or the fish)! The flavor combination of the Homemade Taco Seasoning simmered with the chipotle pepper, soy sauce and tomatoes and accented with the crunchy walnuts takes them up a notch from the many vegan tacos I’ve experimented with in the past. And if mushrooms are not your thing, you’ll receive all the miraculous health benefits that they offer without even knowing they’re there. VAMOS A COMER!
- 1 head cauliflower broken into small florets
- 5 baby bella mushrooms chopped
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil You can omit olive oil by water sautéing. If water sautéing, have about 1 cup of water on hand.
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 Tablespoons reduced sodium gluten free tamari or soy sauce or an alternative to soy sauce such as liquid aminos or No Soy
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce minced
- 1 Tablespoon adobo sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Homemade Taco Seasoning See link to recipe below or use a taco seasoning of your choice
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup walnuts chopped
- 10 corn tortillas
- Garnishes of your choice such as shredded lettuce, shredded cabbage, chopped tomatoes, chopped purple onions, sliced jalapeno, sliced avocado or salsa
- Heat the oven to 375F.
- Add the cauliflower florets and chopped mushrooms to a food processor and pulse until the mixture has a ground beef consistency.
- Heat about ¼ cup water(or 1 Tablespoon olive oil) in a large skillet over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions. Sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. (If using water for the sauté, add additional water to the pan as needed to prevent the onions from sticking.)
- Add the cauliflower and mushrooms and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If using water for the saute, add additional water to the pan as need to prevent the vegetables from sticking.)
- Add the gluten free tamari or its alternative, chipotle pepper and sauce, Homemade Taco Seasoning, and the diced tomatoes to the skillet and continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the walnuts.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place the corn tortillas between two layers of damp paper or cloth towels. Heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until soft.
- Brush both sides of each tortilla with olive oil, and carefully drape each tortilla over two bars of an oven rack.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Carefully remove from the oven.
- Fill corn tortillas with the cauliflower mix and toppings of your choice such as shredded lettuce, shredded cabbage, chopped tomatoes, chopped purple onion, sliced jalapeno, sliced avocado or salsa
For these Cauliflower Tacos, you’ll need,
an onion, a small head of cauliflower, five baby bella mushrooms(You could also use button mushrooms.), gluten free tamari, chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, taco seasoning, a can/box of diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup walnuts, corn tortillas and your favorite garnishes. You can reduce the heat with a little less seasoning and or chipotle peppers, but whatever you do, don’t leave out the walnuts. The texture of the nuts is what makes these rise to the level of the tacos of my youth.
Chop the cauliflower and mushrooms into pieces, and pulse them in a food processor until they are the consistency of ground beef.
This is what your mixture should look like when it’s ready to cook. Too much processing will take away from that “hamburgery” texture
To reduce the calories in finished dishes, I always water sauté my onions/vegetables instead of sautéing in oil. At 120 calories per tablespoon, I’d rather do without here especially as I don’t notice a difference in the finished product. For instructions on water sautéing, see the notes at the end of this post.
Once the onions are soft and translucent, you can continue sautéing the additional vegetables with water as needed.
Add the gluten free tamari, chipotle pepper and sauce, diced tomatoes and Homemade Taco Seasoning to the skillet and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Stir in the walnuts and season with salt and pepper to taste.
To make crisp corn tortillas, place each tortilla between two layers of damp paper or cloth towels. Heat in the microwave for a few seconds until soft. Brush both side with olive oil and carefully drape each tortilla over two bars of an oven rack. Bake for 7-10 minutes until crisp and carefully remove them from the oven.
Fill the tortillas with the cauliflower mix and toppings of your choice. Viola, amazing Easy Cauliflower Tacos in a jiffy.
Things You Might Like To Know About This Recipe…
My preference is to avoid the calories in oils whenever possible. Although some oils are healthier than others, one tablespoon contains about 120 calories. Sautéing with water or broth instead of oil is a great way to save those calories, and in the context of this recipe, the flavor will not be affected.
Heat your pan on high and add about ¼ cup of water. When the water is bubbling, add the ingredient(s) to saute. Stir constantly until the ingredients reach the doneness that your recipe requires. For example, if you are sautéing onions, you will most often want them to be soft and translucent before adding other ingredients. Continue adding a small amount of water as needed to keep the ingredient(s) from sticking to the pan.
In cooking school, I was taught not to wash mushrooms because they absorb water and will not brown properly. We were instructed to wipe them with wet paper towels. As somewhat of a germaphobe, I was never completely comfortable with this method, so I was delighted to see Cooks Illustrated’s analysis of cleaning and storing mushrooms. When they are whole, they absorb a minimum amount of water, so if you are washing them whole, place them in the basket of a salad spinner, rinse them thoroughly and then spin them until they are as dry as possible.. Wipe the mushrooms with a paper towel if any moisture remains.
Soy Sauce, Tamari, Liquid Aminos, Coconut Aminos?
Soy sauce is made with soybeans and wheat, therefore it is not gluten free. It is very high in sodium, but there are low sodium alternatives.
Tamari is also made with soybeans but it contains little or no wheat. If you are avoiding gluten, you should check the label carefully to make sure that it does not contain wheat. It is also very high in sodium, but there are also low sodium alternatives.
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos are made with soybeans, but it is wheat free and therefore gluten free. It is also high in sodium.
Coconut Aminos is made from raw, coconut tree sap and sun-dried sea salt. It is soy free and gluten free and lower in sodium than soy sauce, tamari and liquid aminos.
As always, check labels carefully to be sure what you are consuming.
For a more detailed analysis of the differences, see this article at Healthline.com.
Leftover Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce?
Usually a recipe will ask for a small amount of the peppers or sauce, and you will be thinking, what do I do with the leftovers? To save them for future use, place the remaining peppers and sauce in a blender and blend until smooth. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and dollop the sauce by tablespoons and/or teaspoons onto the pan. Freeze the sauce and once frozen, place the measured amounts into an airtight container or plastic freezer bag. When a recipe calls for chipotle peppers in adobo, you can remove the dollops from the freezer in the quantity needed and defrost or if appropriate, just add the frozen dollops directly to your cooking. They melt quickly. ***
***Word to the wise……always label your freezer containers, both so you can easily be reminded of what’s inside and in this case, so that no one in your family grabs a dollop of chipotle thinking it’s a chocolate cookie. Trust me, I know this from personal experience.
How To Make Your Own Taco Seasoning?
To make a homemade taco seasoning combine 2 Tablespoons chili powder, 3 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. For this recipe, you’ll need about 1 tablespoon of the taco seasoning. Add a little less if you prefer a less spicy taco. Store the leftover taco seasoning for another use. Experiment with the proportions to suit your taste buds.