Friday, February 19, 2016
In this recipe, roasted cauliflower gets Tex-Mex treatment for huge flavor and texture that makes a deliciously healthy side—and it’s terrific stuffed into tacos!
Ah, roasted cauliflower. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Cauliflower in three colors, a work of edible art? Check. Sicilian style? Check. Smashed? Check. Indian curried? Check. Soup? Quadruple check: simple roasted, artichoke and leek, broccoli, and pesto parmigiana.
And I’ve even created a Super Bowl version where I drenched cauliflower with buffalo sauce and served it with blue cheese dressing.
Today, one of my favorite crucifers goes South of the Border when it’s dressed up all pretty with tomatoes, peppers, and pinto beans, a spicy side dish bursting with fiery Mexican flavors. And, no, this wasn’t planned specially for my recent “Bring on the Heat” series, but it certainly fits the bill with its three different varieties of peppers (poblano, jalapeño, and chipotle): watch the quantities as you go, taste often, and make it as hot—or not—as you like!
- 2 medium heads of cauliflower, broken or chopped into chunks (about 10 cups)
- ~1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
- 3/4 cup poblano pepper, chopped (or a combination of poblano and green bell)
- 1/2-1 jalapeño, finely minced (discard seeds if you fear heat)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped chipotles in adobo (1 of the chopped chipotle, 1 of just the sauce, or more of both if you want it even hotter)
- 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes, unsalted (about 5 cups chopped; if using fresh you may want to add additional canned tomato sauce)
- 2/3 cup cooked pinto beans (or more, if desired)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 cup beer (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
1. Roast the cauliflower. Chop the crucifer and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in a hot oven as directed here.
2. Sauté the vegetables and aromatics. While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the oil over medium and cook the onion and peppers until softened, about 6 minutes. Mix in the garlic, seasonings, and salt until fragrant, about 45 seconds.
3. Stir in tomatoes and beans.Pour in the canned tomatoes and beans and mix to combine, taking care not to crush the beans, then stir in the lime juice and beer. Simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. (Note that if you are using fresh tomatoes you will need to allow an extra 20 minutes or so for the raw tomatoes to cook and break down.)
4. Stir the cauliflower and cilantro into the tomato mixture until everything comes together. Taste and reseason with salt, pepper, spices, and chipotles as desired.
5. Serve and enjoy, perhaps with a scatter of cilantro (fresh coriander) to brighten the dish and make the colors pop.
This blog post is dedicated to my faithful and fabulous Facebook fans, many of whom begged for the recipe after drooling over my dinner last weekend. If you’re not a fan already, I’d love it if you gave my page a like here to stay in the loop on all things food, nutrition, and sustainable eating.
I hope you all enjoy this incredibly tasty recipe, and do stay posted for how I put this spicy side dish to work in some inspired leftovers.
Like, say, cauliflower tacos and hearty Mexican vegetable soup…
This article was originally published in 2015 but I was forced to delete it due to relentless spam. It’s one of my most popular recipes, so I hope you enjoy it here again!
I have a couple of questions about your Mexican Cauliflower recipe. First of all, regarding beans: the recipe calls for 2/3 cup pinto beans. I suppose that must mean “cooked or canned,” since the fifteen minutes’ cooking time that they get wouldn’t be enough to cook dried beans. On the other hand, 2/3 c. of beans doesn’t seem like it would have much of a presence with that amount of cauliflower. 2/3 c. of dried beans would yield about 2 cups cooked, which sounds more reasonable, but in that case we’d need instructions for cooking the beans first. I don’t know what function the beans have in the finished dish (major ingredient or seasoning, I mean–I know about the protein part), but in any case, seems like it would be good to have a little more information, one way or another. My other (smaller) question is about when to add the chipotles. My instinct would be to throw them in with the tomatoes and beans, since they probably don’t need that moment of “blooming” that the garlic and dry spices require, but all that suggests that is the position of the ingredient in the list. Probably doesn’t make a difference, but it’s a detail that might seem confusing since you don’t mention it in the instructions. Finally–how many is this dish meant to serve? I’m sure that information is someplace in the blog, but I don’t seem to see it. Thanks.
These are great questions, Annette, and thank you for taking the time to comment, and for reading! (1) Cooked beans: I’ll make that change in the recipe. I love beans, and they balance out the dish’s nutritional content through the addition of protein and adds flavor and texture in my view. This is to taste: add as many or as few cooked beans as you wish, or not at all. (2) Chipotles in adobo: in directions, though it doesn’t matter too much when you add I do so later so you can ensure you want to add them; may be the flavor is desirable without it. Remember: they are HOT. (3) Portions: While I know it’s not ideal for some cooks, I really don’t like using serving sizes, since it varies so much by person, age, etc. I cook a lot at one time / in relative bulk (as pictured) because I eat leftovers throughout the week; turn leftovers into soups and tacos; and freeze portions for another day. And of course depends on whether you serve this as a main dish or side. Let’s say a lot of side portions (more than 4) and taco fillings (around 10 tacos) with leftovers. I hope that helps a bit. Cheers, PKN 🙂