Transforming veggies into unexpected food items like noodles, sauces, buns, and even “meat” seems to be all the rage these days. And as crazy as all of this sounds, I can’t get enough. I’ve done my fair share of veggie spiralizing, but recently, I’ve taken a liking to cauliflower. The things this vegetable can do are nothing short of amazing.
For example, the other night I made cauliflower buns for burgers. Yes, it’s possible and far better than a lettuce bun. In addition to that, I’ve jumped on the cauliflower pizza crust bandwagon. I’ve made Pinch of Yum’s creamy cauliflower sauce for pasta. And every week, cauliflower rice seems to make it on the dinner menu. My poor food processor is working overtime!
But let me explain what I’ve done with the cauliflower in this recipe. No food processor needed. I’ve transformed the cauliflower into crispy baked florets breaded in a chili powder-infused panko breadcrumb mixture. These crunchy florets are the “meat” for these lightened up tacos. And to complement the boldly spiced cauliflower, I’ve stuffed the taco with a healthy spoonful of this sweet and tangy Corn and Jalapeño Slaw and a drizzle of spicy chipotle sour cream.
On New Year’s Eve, we visited family in Madison and enjoyed a fabulous meal at a little Mexican joint serving up some lip-smackingly delicious margaritas and the most unique variety of tacos I’ve ever seen on a menu. The meat tacos all sounded outstanding, but what I really wanted to do was devour all 7 of the vegetarian tacos. I restrained myself because most contained fried veggies. Fried Brussels sprouts, fried avocado, and yup, fried cauliflower. Given my current love affair with cauliflower, I had to go with that one. And it knocked my socks off. After one bite, I proudly declared that I would create a healthier version. To which my sister-in-law replied, “But the reason it’s so good is because it’s deep-fried.” Challenge. Accepted.
And that’s how these Crispy Cauliflower Tacos were born. Yes they’re baked, but the panko breading gives them a perfect feel-like-its-fried crunch. And with the refreshing slaw and the spicy dose of chipotle cream, these tacos are an indulgent explosion of texture and flavor.
If you’re not in the mood to bust out the tortillas and taco fixings, enjoy the cauliflower as an appetizer. Skip the slaw and tortillas and just serve the baked cauliflower with the chipotle cream as a dipping sauce on the side! Either way, join me on the cauliflower bandwagon!
- 2 eggs
- ¾ teaspoons salt, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- ½ large head of cauliflower, chopped into about 40-50 medium-sized florets
- 10 small corn tortillas
- ½ chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 ½ cups Corn and Jalapeño Slaw
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Beat the eggs in a bowl with ¼ teaspoon salt and the pepper. Set aside. In a separate shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, ½ teaspoon salt, chili powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.
- Working in batches, dip the cauliflower florets into the egg. Then evenly coat each piece in the bread crumb mixture. Place the coated florets on a lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
- While the cauliflower is baking, prepare the chipotle cream and slaw. Combine the chipotle cream ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Then, make the Corn and Jalapeño Slaw using this recipe.
- To prepare the tacos, place 4-5 florets in a tortilla. Add about a ¼ cup of the slaw and about 2 teaspoons of chipotle cream over the top.
Serving size: 1 taco
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 165 Fat: 4.6g Carb: 27.1g Fiber: 4.6g Protein: 6.2g Sugar 4.3g Sodium: 624mg