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Red Walnut, Roasted Cauliflower, and Crisped Shiitake Soft Tacos


Years ago I saved a recipe for Roasted Walnut and Cauliflower "Meat"; you can read the recipe here. If you're looking for a tasty, meatless option for Taco Tuesday, try it!


I was intrigued by the combination of nuts and cruciferous and decided to give it a go. And, for a quick weeknight meal, after robotics meetings and music lessons, I assembled soft tacos for the family.

According to a survey conducted by the California Walnut Board, flavor and texture are the top reasons people choose meat-centric dishes over plant-based alternatives. This dish mirrors the meatiness with a hearty vegetable and a toothy nut.

Red Walnut, Roasted Cauliflower, and 
Crisped Shiitake Soft Tacos 
original recipe serves 6

Ingredients
walnut-cauliflower "meat"
  • 1 pound cauliflower florets
  • 1 C walnut pieces, chopped (I used raw red walnuts)
  • 2 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 shallots, peeled and minced
  • ½ C chicken stock (or water)
  • ¼ C tomato paste
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin, ground
  • 1 t fresh oregano 
  • Also needed: food processor, baking sheets
crisped shiitakes
  • 2 C shiitakes, desteemed and sliced
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
for serving
  • corn or flour tortillas
  • shredded cheese
  • guacamole
  • salsa
  • fresh cilantro

Procedure
walnut-cauliflower "meat"
Preheat oven to 475ºF. Place cauliflower florets in a mixing bowl and toss with 1 T olive oil and 1 T lemon juice. Spoon cauliflower out onto a silicone mat-lined baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned.

Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and sprinkle walnuts on top of the cauliflower. Return sheet to the oven and roast for an additional 5 minutes.

In batches, pulse the walnut-cauliflower mixture until it resembles the texture of cooked ground meat.

Heat remaining (1 T) olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic. Sauté until shallots are softened, approximately 5 minutes.

Stir in stock or water, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Stir in the cauliflower mixture. Cook until mixture is thick and liquid has reduced.

crisped shiitakes
Melt butter in olive oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. When the butter begins to brown, lay your mushrooms in the pan. Make sure that you can see the bottom between the mushrooms and that the mushrooms aren't touching.

Let the mushrooms brown and crisp. Flip the mushrooms and crisp them on the other side. Only after they are crisp should you season them. Adding salt when they are cooking will lead to soggy mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

for serving
Warm your tortillas and melt a handful of cheese onto the tortillas. Spoon the meat into the tortilla. Top with crisped mushrooms and fresh cilantro. Let diners add guacamole and salsa if desired.

Comments

  1. We have been doing taste tests around town of the roasted cauliflower appetizer options--(sometimes trying to mirror buffalo wings). I want to try this. I wonder if you could fool the taco eater?

    ReplyDelete

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