The Driftless Foodie: Smokey Chipotle Cauliflower Tacos

By Jessie Woodward

I know what you might be thinking. Where’s the meat Jessie? It’s a taco!

I know what you might be thinking. Where’s the meat Jessie? It’s a taco! How could you not make it with a protein?! We live in the Midwest, where’s the beef and pork!? Hey, don’t forget about our veggie farmers, okay! Don’t feel bad; these are all things that went through my husband‘s head as well.
In fact, when we met up for lunch on recipe making day and I told him what was for dinner he immediately told me that he was bringing home chorizo to add to the soft corn tortillas. Typical husband move. You know what else is a typical husband move? Being forgetful. That’s right. You guessed it; he forgot the chorizo when he came home from work so he was forced to eat these meatless tacos. (Insert evil laugh here!)
However, once he took a single bite, I was told that I could add these to “the list.” If you’ve been around here for a while you know that my husband and I have an imaginary list that we add all of the good recipes to so that way we can come back and eat them again. Rest assured these made the cut. 
That being now in writing for everyone to see, there is a little secret with making a vegetarian taco taste extra indulgent. And that secret is blooming the spices. 

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You see, when we have dried spices and they sit in our cabinets and cupboards for weeks and months on end they start to lose their potency and vibrant flavor. But don’t fret, there is a way to bring them back to life with the blooming process. 
Essentially, you take the spices and dried herbs that you are wanting to use and heat them in fat, generally an oil, until they sizzle. This intensified their intended flavor like they haven’t been hibernating in the pantry for the last six months. You only need about three tablespoons of oil. It will be slightly paste-like. 
I use this process in the cauliflower tacos and I highly recommend not skipping it. It is sure to fool your husbands, too… and maybe even your kiddos! 

Ingredients for the cauliflower 
1 large head of cauliflower cut into small bite-size florets
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Ingredients for the tacos
8 corn tortillas
1 package precut slaw mix
1 cup of cilantro avocado dressing
Cilantro leaves
Lime wedges
Cojita cheese 
Pickled onions 
Sour cream

Bloom your spices in a skillet in some olive oil. (See above for the blooming process) Put in a bowl and set aside. 
In the same skillet, turn the heat to medium-high and add your florettes with about half the spice and oil mixture (use more if you’d like) and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook some so that the tips get crispy and the cauliflower is tender. Put in a bowl and set aside. 
Meanwhile mix the cabbage slaw with the dressing and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well and set-aside aside for assembly. 
Toast your tortillas so that they get slightly crispy but still pliable. 
Let’s assemble some tacos! In your toasted corn tortilla, lay down some slaw mix then the cauliflower. Top it with some Cojita cheese, cilantro leaves, pickled onions, and some sour cream. Serve with lime wedges. 
If you’re feeling extra spicy, I recommend mixing some chili lime seasoning into your sour cream. It is sure to kick these tacos up a notch. 

Remember, use the hashtags #TheDriftlessFoodie #TheHangryDiaries #GetHangry so I can follow along with you in your kitchens. 
Instagram: @jess.wooody
Facebook: TheHangryDiaries


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