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Recipes from the LL Balanced Kitchen: Vegan/ Paleo Cauliflower Walnut Tacos

Thursday, Tuesday, Tacos...they all start with T. And who really needs a Tuesday to justify eating tacos. Nobody! Welcome, Taco Thursday!

When we were greeted with this fresh concept, vegan/ paleo taco recipe from Laura Lea it was love at first sight. Tacos rank high on the food happiness scale in our world and the lighter, fresh feel of these is summery and oh SO dreamy! So grab yourself a margarita and take a peek at these guilt-free tacos!

I am always looking for creative and delicious plant-based dishes that satisfy both myself and my husband (the real test) the way that animal proteins do. THIS Cauliflower Walnut Taco Meat does that so successfully, that my husband actually ate an entire bowl thinking he was noshing ground turkey!

I packed this taco "meat" full of umami with roasted walnuts, meaty mushrooms and cheesy nutritional yeast. I'm also not shy on seasoning; it may look like a lot, but I think it perfectly replicates the signature taco flavor I know and love. It's really important not to over-pulse the mixture, or it will turn into a paste. You just want everything to incorporate.

I have adored this "meat" in several different ways! It's wonderful in taco salad form, in both hard shell and soft corn tacos, and I've also made cheesy quesadillas with it. Oh, and I occasionally much on it straight from the fridge; it's THAT good!


TOTAL TIME: 45 MINS
6-8 SERVINGS
INGREDIENTS


TACO MEAT

  • 1 cup raw walnuts (sub 2/3 C sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
  • 12 ounces 1" cauliflower florets (I buy bagged from Trader Joe's; equals 4 1/2 cups)
  • 8-10 ounces sliced baby bella or button mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • For Serving: tortillas or shells, guac, salsa, avocado, clantro, shredded lettuce

TACO SPICE MIXTURE

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and add walnuts to a baking sheet (can be unlined). Roast walnuts until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, approximately 10 minutes (start checking at 8).
  2. Remove walnuts and place in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Turn oven up to 400 degrees. Now line baking sheet with parchment paper. Add cauliflower and mushrooms to the baking sheet. Drizzle oil over vegetables and toss gently to coat.
  3. Roast veggies for 20 minutes, until the cauliflower florets have golden brown edges. While roasting, make Taco Spice Mixture. Add 1/4 cup of spice mixture, walnuts and nutritional yeast to a food processor. Pulse just 1-2x to incorporate.
  4. When veggies have finished roasting, allow to cool until they are easy to handle with your fingers but still warm to touch. Add to food processor and pulse another few times, until mixture is incorporated but still has a chunky texture. Taste and stir in extra spice mixture and salt as you like—I personally use all the spice mixture and add an extra 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy! Leftover "meat" will keep tightly sealed in the refrigerator up to 5 days or frozen for 1 month.

AND if you are loving Laura Lea's recipes as much as we are...you have GOT TO get her new (first ever) cookbook coming out on Saturday! To pre-order the Laura Lea Balanced cookbook click here.

All photos from Laura Lea

For more about Laura Lea click here.


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