Ok. I had to double post on both SKCC and here because so many of you asked me for this recipe. The first time I made this, I was literally grasping at what was left in the fridge. It made a wet gross mush in a pot that I had no interest in eating, so I tried to save it by drying it out in the oven because I HATE wasting food. It had crispy edges and a deep tomato flavor and I ate it for three meals straight. To be honest with you, I cannot get it as good as it was the first time. Below is something pretty damn close.
My family does eat meat, but in an effort towards sustainability and health, we eat a lot of vegetarian meals. Love a good mushroom taco, or even some saucy tempeh, but this mixture has the crumbly, spicy, crisp edges I remember from the ground beef tacos of my youth. Chili, sloppy joes, tacos, hamburger helper, any other babies of the 80’s know that dinner rotation?
If you give it a whirl. Let me know your thoughts. I’ve used it in tacos, as shown, but also sprinkled it in a salad with avocado and peaches and pepitas, and put it in burritos for my wee ones. You could add rice and stuff it into bell peppers (there is a recipe in my story highlights). Anyway, you get the idea.
LENTIL-CAULI TACO MEAT
Makes about 4 cups / Serves 6
If you need to cut a corner, use the steamed lentils from Trader Joes. I actually prefer them - they are drier than the ones I cook at home. Keep an eye on it while it’s in the oven, and stir it around. We want to dry it out to get some crunchy edges.
Try it in tortillas with smashed avocado, cabbage and taco sauce below.
Quicky Taco Sauce
- Blitz Together:
- + 1 cup plain, whole greek yogurt
- + 1 jalapeno
- + 1 large garlic clove
- + zest & juice of 1 lime
- + small bunch cilantro
- + salt & pepper
2 Tbsp. avocado or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 (1.5 lb.) head of cauli, leaves and core removed, broken into florets (or 12 oz. fresh, not frozen, riced-cauli)
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt/ 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. coriander
1 cup canned tomato sauce (I like Muir Glen!)
1 cup cooked lentils, drained
Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Preheat the oven to 400’ and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
Into a food processor, add the onions and garlic. Pulse a few times to chop well. Transfer to the pot with the hot oil and give it a quick stir. Put the cauli florets into the food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides every few times until it is in tiny rice-like pieces. Add it to the pot along with salt and pepper, sauté about 5 minutes until things soften and get golden in places.
Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander (or about 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning) and stir. Add the tomato sauce and lentils, stir again. You’re going to think it looks like a soggy mess, but press on! Turn off the heat, let the mixture cool down.
Transfer the cauli mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread it in an even layer. Let all the steam off, then bake it in the upper third for 35 minutes, stirring once or twice during the baking time. Turn the oven up to 450’, and cook another 5-10 minutes. Turn off the oven, but leave the tray in there for another 10-15 minutes to dry it out further. The moisture level will be different per person because some cauli can be pretty watery, lentils can have different textures etc. It should look a little charred in spots. Stir it around to cool.
Assemble as you wish - into a taco or roasted sweet potato or room temp into a taco salad. We didn’t make it super spicy so it would be kid-friendly too.
Store covered in the fridge for up to five days, or freeze for up to a few months.