I stumbled upon the coolest thing the other day… meat crumbles made from ground cauliflower and walnuts!!
Doesn’t sound too exciting really all on its’ own. You really have to bake yourself up a batch before you can get enthusiastic about it. The mixture really does look like ground beef. (Note how I say look, not taste. Haha)
The first time I made some was in Ricki Heller’s Vegan Cassoulet. Before I even began the recipe I had my doubts about how ‘meat-like’ it was going to be. I thought, “There is no way that cauliflower and walnuts are going to turn out anything like ground meat”. Well, the joke is on me!!! Because it totally DOES look like ground meat! Even Dave was really confused when he sat down for dinner that night, “Uh… babe? What is this? Because you’re kind of trippin’ me out right now…” Haha poor guy. Like I don’t put him through enough right now, but I have to tease him with faux-meat on top of it. What a good sport, ha.
Anyways, after that whole debacle I came up with the idea to use the cauliflower-walnut ‘meat’ concept in… you guessed it! TACOS!!
And why wouldn’t I? It’s got to be one of the best options out there for substituting the traditional ground beef filling. Especially if you are like me and don’t consumer those fake soy-like wanna-be’s at the grocery store. And it beats using a basic walnut filling, which is what we had been doing up until this point.
I took some ‘how-to’ photos of this recipe for you guys. Thought you might find it interesting how easy it is to make this.
Please excuse my pictures taken in an intensely dark kitchen/some with the overhead lights on (that is what happens when it starts getting dark at 4 pm now a days…)
Throw 450 grams cauliflower florets and 250 grams walnuts into a food processor. (I didn’t soak my walnuts this time, but next time I think that I might to see what difference it makes in the end texture).
Process it to the texture you desire. I didn’t let mine go too, too long. I didn’t want it super grainy.
Dump it into a big bowl and stir in all the spices and seasonings.
On to a parchment lined sheet pan the mixture goes! And into a 350°F oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, give it a toss and let it brown another 15 minutes longer. If the mixture hasn’t browned nicely by then, you can continue to let it bake another 15 minutes. But! I found that last session really dried my mixture out. Next time I will cap things off at 45 minutes total to keep it just a bit more moist.
Now fill ‘er up!
The first night we had these I kept things simple. Just some lettuce and salsa. After I got my sea legs, I got more comfortable adding things. The next night I made a HUGE taco salad with the ‘meat’- filling, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped red onion, diced avocado, shredded carrot, and chopped olives. All topped with salsa. TO-DIE-FOR!
Since Dave is an enormous taco advocate and he 100% approved this recipe as a filling replacement, we WILL be making these again.
No complaints over here.
P.S. (Scarlett wouldn’t eat this- of course- but she did love eating the shells. Baby steps right? Maybe next time she will actually put something in it.. haha)
- 1 pound (450 grams) raw cauliflower florets
- 2 cups (250 grams) raw walnuts
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tamari, bragg's liquid aminos, or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine cauliflower and walnuts. Process until mixture reaches desired consistency (not too fine! Kind of like rice).
- Dump mixture into a bowl and stir in all remaining ingredients, combining well.
- Pour mixture onto sheet pan and spread out evenly.
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Remove and toss mixture. Return to oven for 15 minutes. Remove. If mixture has not yet browned, then toss and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Otherwise, serve and enjoy!