Cauliflower tacos? Spicy grated cauliflower and lentils make a delicious but light vegan taco filling. Gluten-free too!
Welcome to the latest edition of Cauliflower Magic Tricks! In today’s exciting episode, our hero will enter a food processor as an ordinary head of cauliflower only to emerge as…RICE! And then that rice will, through the use of culinary arts, be transformed into a delicious, spicy, low-calorie filling for tacos.
In past episodes, Cauliflower has been magically transformed into vegetable steaks, a creamy alfredo sauce, creamy mashed potatoes, and a rich Indian curry sauce. Today will be Cauliflower’s first attempt on this blog to become a grain. Our hero has been performing this trick to much acclaim on other blogs (see notes at the bottom), but until this moment has not dared to attempt it on the site of an avowed brown rice lover. The stakes are high. Let’s see if Cauliflower can pull this off…
Ta da! Cauliflower magically transformed into rice–or, at least, something that looks like rice and behaves like it but has a fraction of the calories.
Cauliflower rice has been playing to packed houses for years. Here are some of its best performances:
Lentil and Cauliflower Rice Taco Filling
- 1 cup brown lentils uncooked, or 3 cups cooked lentils
- 3 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large head cauliflower (or 24-32 ounces of frozen cauliflower rice)
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons mild chili powder divided
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne pepper to taste
- Generous grating black pepper
- Salt to taste
- If you’re starting with uncooked lentils, rinse and drain them and place in a medium-sized saucepan with 3 cups of water, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and a little salt, if desired. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until just tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Prepare the cauliflower “rice” by removing the leaves and bottom stem from the cauliflower. Grate the cauliflower using either a box grater or the food processor to produce rice-sized pieces. To use the food processor, cut the cauliflower into quarters and then cut or break each quarter into pieces. Process one quarter at a time, pulsing on and off, until grated. Be careful not to over-process or you’ll have cauliflower dust! (If you’re using frozen cauliflower rice, skip this entire step and just add it to the pan, still frozen, in the next step.)
- Once the cauliflower is grated, heat a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown. Add the cauliflower and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of chili powder and continue cooking until the cauliflower is tender, about 4 more minutes.
- Drain the lentils well and add them to the skillet. Add the remaining chili powder and all remaining seasonings. Cook on medium until heated through and flavors are combined. Add salt to taste.
- Makes about 7 cups of filling. To serve, place about 1/3 cup of filling in a small corn tortilla and garnish with lettuce, tomatoes, and any other fillings you like. Serve with salsa. Allow about 3 tortillas per person. (Here’s how to make your own tortillas.)
Nutritional info is approximate.
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