Cauliflower Tacos + Dragons Love Tacos with This Picture Book Life

Everyone I know loves tacos — Moms, Dads, Grandmas, kids… and dragons?

 

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According to Dragons Love Tacos (written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri), dragons love tacos and parties. But taco parties are their favorite. In Dragons Love Tacos, the narrator and his dog invite some dragons over for a taco party. The dragons are delighted and everything is going well until — oh no! The little boy realizes that he picked the WRONG SALSA! Dragons do not like spicy food because it upsets their stomachs. But the narrator has accidentally bought mild salsa with jalapenos added! He tries to stop the dragons from eating the spicy salsa, but too late. And dragons with upset tummies can definitely ruin a party.

 

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When I first read this book, I immediately thought of Danielle Davis of This Picture Book Life. I love the wide selection of picture books she discusses on her blog — from the cute, funny, and heartwarming, to the serious, thoughtful, and heartbreaking, she talks about them all. So when we started talking about taco ideas to celebrate Dragons Love Tacos and she suggested that I think up a recipe for veggie tacos that any meat-lover (or dragon) would enjoy, I knew I had to think up something good. So I came up with a cauliflower taco.

 

Taco Model

 

Cauliflower — in a taco? It might sound weird, but actually the texture is perfect for tacos. Not too soft, but not too crunchy, and they can stand up to Tex-Mex flavors surprisingly well.

 

And because cauliflower tacos aren’t crazy enough, I made crispy taco shells — with my microwave! There are lots of recipes for how to fry your own taco shells, but all that popping oil is a little intimidating. So when I saw Geoffrey Zakarian make crispy taco shells in the microwave during the Warming Winter Meals episode of The Kitchen, I knew I had to try it. And it works! (Although your mileage may vary depending on your microwave and the brand of tortillas you’re using.) No popping oil or messy kitchen to clean up. And I have a hunch that you could make a few at once, so they’d be extra great for any taco parties you might be planning.

 

Taco Platter (2)

 

These tacos are delicious enough to convert the most meat-loving dragon you know. Just don’t add any jalapeno!

 

Spicy Pico de Gallo:

– 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped, with seeds removed (should be about 2 cups)

– 1/2 minced jalapeno, seeds removed

– 1/4 cup minced white onion

-1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped

– juice of 1 small lime

 

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in the refrigerator to let the flavors marry. (This can be made the day before.)

 

Tacos:

– 2 tsp. ground cumin

– 1 tsp. garlic salt (if you don’t have garlic salt, you can use 1 tsp. Kosher salt + 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)

– 1/2 tsp. chili powder

– 1/2 tsp. ground coriander

– 2 small pinches cayenne pepper

– 1 pinch black pepper

– 1 large head cauliflower

– 1/4 cup minced white onion

– 2 tbsp. Canola or vegetable oil

– 6-8 small corn tortillas

– 1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped romaine

– Your favorite taco toppings

 

Preheat oven to 350°.

 

Coarsely chop cauliflower, removing as much of the stem as possible. Add onion to cauliflower in a large bowl and stir to combine.

 

Stir spices together in a small bowl until they are evenly mixed. Add oil and stir until well combined. Drizzle over cauliflower and gently toss until cauliflower is evenly coated in spice mixture.

 

Spread cauliflower mixture evenly onto a foil-lined medium baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cauliflower is slightly tender.

 

Meanwhile, lay 1 corn tortilla on a paper towel and insert a microwave-safe mug — the narrower the better. Make sure the tortilla is as skinny or wide as you want your final taco shell to be, then place mug (upright) in your microwave and heat on high for 30 seconds. If tortilla is still slightly soft, heat for an additional 15 seconds. Carefully remove mug from microwave, and then remove paper towel and shell and set your now crispy corn tortilla shell aside on a plate. If there is any excess moisture inside the mug, dry with paper towel before repeating with other tortillas. Note: the mug will be hot after it’s been in the microwave, so make sure you hold it by the handle and be very careful when removing the tortilla shell.

 

Once your cauliflower is cooked and all your tortillas are crispy taco shells, it’s time to assemble! Layer cauliflower, chopped romaine, and Pico de Gallo, and then add your favorite taco toppings. We like Sargento’s Mexican cheese blend and maybe some hot sauce, but you can add sour cream, guacamole, black beans, corn salsa, or anything else you like. Enjoy!

 

Taco Platter and extra Pico

 

To keep the fun going, Danielle is talking about Dragons Love Tacos over at This Picture Book Life, so be sure to check it out! We hope you’ll make these tacos. But remember, if you invite any dragons for dinner, you might want to leave out the spicy Pico de Gallo!

 

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5 Comments

    1. Thanks, Abbigail! And I totally understand – I was worried that the cauliflower would taste like an apology for not being beef or chicken, but it was surprisingly good! But if you’re not a cauliflower fan I think the spice mix would totally work on beef or chicken, and the pico de gallo is so addictive. (Or maybe it’s because I’ve been on a major Tex-Mex kick lately haha.)

      And the book is so adorable! The illustrations are great and super funny, and they’re even better in person!

    1. Oh wow, thanks so much for collaborating, Danielle! It was such a fun project, and I really enjoyed it! And actually Teddy and I were talking about how you could trick kids into eating cauliflower by telling them it’s like a potato – because kids might be willing to eat something that sounds more like a French fry than steamed broccoli. But disguising the cauliflower as fish is totally an option too! 😉

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