Healthy Mexi Meal: Cauliflower Tostada
Today I'm mixing up two items – a new popular way of cooking cauliflower plus one of my mom's favorite quick Mexican meals.
Cauliflower seems like all the rage these days. Lucky for me, my husband loves it, so we've been experimenting a lot. We've made cauliflower pizza crust using finely ground cauliflower, eggs, herbs, and cheese; we've made cauliflower couscous; we used cauliflower like a grain for salads and side dishes. For this recipe we cut the cauliflower into steak like pieces and toasted them in the oven with a few Mexican spices, and then we used them as the “tortilla” for a Mexican tostada.
Growing up in West Texas there was no shortage of good Mexican food. We could get it quick and cheap or we could go out for a nice luxurious Mexican dinner, complete with unending chips and salsa and a finale of sopapillas. I distinctly remember my mom bringing my sister and me to a Mexican fast food joint, where we would all get our favorite quick bites. I commonly ordered a bean burrito or chicken soft tacos but my mom always ordered the same thing, tostadas.
Tostadas are simply the base of a crispy deep-fried tortilla, covered in refried beans, then topped with tomatoes, cheese, and a variety of other toppings. For these tostadas we baked the cauliflower instead of frying it and then topped it with a few easy ingredients. You can feel free to get creative with your own toppings or make a topping bar and let your family choose which toppings they'd prefer. This easy recipe is perfect for quick weeknight meals or for a healthy Mexican dinner. Enjoy!
Cauliflower Tostada (Serves 3-4)
1 medium-sized cauliflower
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
1 pepper (red, orange, or yellow), halved and sliced
Handful of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 150z can refried beans (Amy's Organics makes a great can of refried beans)
1 teaspoon cumin
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup shredded cheese–I used queso fresco
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While you're waiting for the oven to preheat, wash the cauliflower head and remove the bottom leaves and about an inch from the stem. Cut the cauliflower into “steaks” or “top-to-bottom” slices. The first and last slices will most likely fall into small pieces, but you should be able to get 2 or 3 complete “steaks” from one head of cauliflower. Grease a baking dish with olive oil and place the cauliflower steaks and pieces on the tray. Drizzle with olive oil, making sure both sides have a thin coating. Sprinkle the tops of the cauliflower steaks and pieces with cumin, and place tray in preheated oven for about 15 minutes. After about 7 minutes, flip the cauliflower with a spatula to make sure both sides cook evenly. The cauliflower is done when it is soft at its thickest point.
While you're waiting for the cauliflower to cook, heat the refried beans in a small pan over medium heat (you can add a little olive oil to keep the beans from sticking) and cook the peppers in a skillet with a bit of olive oil. When the peppers just begin to blacken, add the tomatoes and sauté for 3-5 minutes.
When the cauliflower is finished baking, remove from oven, but do not turn the oven off. Spread a heaping spoonful of refried beans over each cauliflower slice/”steak” and top with pepper/tomato mixture, avocado, and cheese. Bake for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Add cilantro leaves, sprinkle with lime juice, and serve!
*Feel free to get creative with the toppings!