Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

I don’t like to keep coming back to the same topic, but let’s be real: tacos are the bomb. It is less well-known, but no less true, that roasted cauliflower is also the bomb. You can probably guess that I believe roasted cauliflower tacos to therefore be the bomb. You would be right. I’m probably also making it clear that my grasp of post-nineties slang is not all that and a bag of chips, as it were. Sue me.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos – A Delicious, Healthy Treat

We got ourselves some gorgeous purple cauliflower in our Hungry Harvest box this week, and we immediately knew we were going to make tacos with it. It turns out cauliflower is perfect for tacos. The nooks and crannies of the florets soak up cooking oil and spices, and they get nice and brown and crunchy in the oven. On top of a toasted corn tortilla, alongside an appropriate set of garnishes, there’s basically nothing better.

I wish I’d known earlier in life how delicious roasted vegetables were. I wish my kids were more receptive to my trying to teach them the lessons I wish I’d learned at their age. I wish that last sentence were easier to parse (but it makes sense, I promise!).

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

Ingredients:

Cauliflower:

Two small heads of cauliflower (we used a pretty purple kind)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp smoked paprika
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp chili powder

Slaw:

1 kohlrabi cut into matchsticks
1 carrot cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup mayo
Juice of 1 lime

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Cut cauliflower up into medium florets and toss with oil and spices. Roast on a lined baking sheet for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all of the ingredients of the slaw together in a medium bowl. Toast a few corn tortillas lightly on the stovetop. Serve the tacos with diced avocado.

Simple Peach Pie Energy Balls

We love energy balls. Seriously, we really love them. We make them as snacks all the time. They seem small and unassuming, but they’re little dense bites of deliciousness, and they help stave off the hunger that creeps up between breakfast and lunch. As filling snacks go, these peach pie energy balls fit the bill quite nicely.

It’s also the end of summer and the beginning of fall, even if the weather hasn’t quite gotten the memo. Peaches feel like a summer food, but peach pie is what you make in the fall from all the peaches you thought you were going to eat and didn’t. These energy balls are the perfect fusion of summer flavor and fall comfort.

Peach Pie Energy Balls

This recipe really couldn’t be simpler. If you’ve got some measuring cups, a food processor, and five minutes, you’ve got everything you need to make these. When you’re getting meals ready for the week and there are three kids underfoot, it’s a small blessing to have a recipe that’s so simple. And one that doesn’t involve opening a hot oven when the kids are running around and curious.

These are also the kind of thing that makes packing lunches at 5:15 am a breeze. The more we’ve got already packed, that we can just grab and go, the better.

Peach Pie Energy Balls

Ingredients:

1 cup dried peaches
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup coconut
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

Just dump all of the stuff into a food processor, blitz until it’s crumbly, and then make it into balls and refrigerate. Eat one for a quick, delicious pick-me-up when you’re feeling hungry in the midmorning. That way you won’t be tempted to run out for a coffee and a donut because Royal Farms has Krispy Kremes and they’re delicious. Not that I’ve ever done that. Of course not.

Baked Sweet Potato with Shiitake Bacon

We got ourselves a surfeit of sweet potatoes this week. We decided to dice and roast some for adding to grain bowls, but we were still left with a few big ones. Jocelyn had the brilliant idea for a baked sweet potato recipe, covered with toppings that feel decadent but are actually really healthy.

Baked Sweet Potato: A Sweeter Take on a Classic

Turns out a baked sweet potato is just like a baked potato! People probably already knew this, but I’m slow. Don’t judge me. Anyway, we all know that what makes a baked potato isn’t the potato itself, but the toppings. We were determined to find a combination of toppings that felt rich and delicious, but was also decently healthy. We settled on some “cheese” sauce, avocados, crispy fried onions, and some shiitake bacon.

Now I, like all right thinking people, was skeptical of this whole shiitake bacon idea. Before we started eating vegetarian, I was a fan of bacon. The internet’s extreme enthusiasm for bacon in everything ever blunted my appreciation, but I still had fond memories of it. I was skeptical that making something out of mushrooms and calling it bacon would be anything but a cruel joke.

Guys? This shiitake bacon is no joke.

For real, it’s meaty and salty and smoky and just really wonderful. Much more than I could ever have imagined. So run, don’t walk, to your nearest sweet potato monger and demand several of his or her finest sweet potatoes. You’ve got a meal to make.

Baked Sweet Potato

Ingredients:

Two big sweet potatoes
One batch nacho cheese sauce
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tsp smoked paprika
Avocado, cubed or mashed
As many crispy fried onions as you can handle

Directions:

Bake sweet potatoes (about an hour at 350° F, or you can microwave if you’re in hurry).

While the potatoes are baking, marinate mushrooms in soy sauce, olive oil, and paprika for about half an hour. Sautée until crisp (about ten minutes). This is the shiitake bacon.

Cover the sweet potatoes with all the toppings and shove in your face.

Pasta and Vegetable Casserole

I love casseroles and I can’t get enough of ’em. I used to think I didn’t like them when I was a kid, but man, I was wrong. They’re a beautiful melange of flavors, all mixed together and adding to each other and creating a whole new experience. Ever since we started getting big boxes of delicious vegetables from Hungry Harvest*, we’ve had to find creativeways to use lots of veggies. It turns out a delicious vegetable casserole is a great place to pack a ton of healthy vegetables into a meal.

*The link above is a referral. If you click on it and order a Hungry Harvest box, you and we both get $5 off!

Vegetable Casserole: Homey and Healthy

The great thing about casseroles is that you can get a ton of flavor from just a few simple ingredients. For the filling here, we mixed our vegetables and pasta with some vegetable stock, salt, and garlic, and that was it! Reducing the stock concentrated all that wonderful flavor, and then we topped the whole thing with a sunflower seed crumble that browned nicely in the oven. The ingredients are simple and healthy, but it tastes like one of the hearty casseroles my grandparents made when I was a kid.

We used some multicolored fall pasta that our son picked out for this casserole, and I think it made it look really beautiful! It’s a shame that it didn’t make him want to try any, but we expected that.

Pasta and Vegetable Casserole

Ingredients:

2 cups pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups vegetables (we used sweet potato, carrots, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes)
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flour
2 cups vegetable stock
1 15-oz can cannellini beans
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Salt and garlic powder to taste (or go nuts and use Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel spice mix*)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cook pasta. Meanwhile, sautée vegetables and garlic until cooked through. Sprinkle flour on top, stir in stock and cook until thick. Add in beans and pasta and pop into an oven safe casserole dish. Mix sunflower seeds, coconut oil, and seasoning in food processor until a crumble forms, and sprinkle on top of the casserole. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes.

*The link above is from Amazon Associates. If you click on it and buy something, Amazon will kick back a percentage of your purchase to us!

Healthy Meal Prep – Mix & Match Lunch Salads

Here at Our Chaotic Kitchen, we’re all about healthy meal prep ideas. When we’re doing our weekly meal prep, we prioritize vegan recipes, since we’re all about those vegetables. We also like to keep things gluten-free if possible. Nobody in our family has gluten sensitivity or intolerance, but we want to be inclusive to those who do. Finally, we want to do what we can to make our weekly meal prep as easy as possible.

Healthy Meal Prep: The Foundation of a Healthy Week

This week we got a surplus of greens from Hungry Harvest*, so we knew we’d have to make ourselves some salads. We wanted to make sure we stayed within our healthy meal prep guidelines, but we also wanted to find a way to not eat the same exact thing every day. This mix-and-match solution was easy and fun!

*The link above is a referral link. If you click it and order, you and we each get $5 off our next order, so everybody wins!

The base of each salad is the same: diced cucumber, diced cubanelle pepper, shredded hearts of romaine, and sliced grape tomatoes. Cucumbers and peppers sit at the bottom of each quart jar, so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy. The tomatoes get their own quarter pint jars. Each salad then gets a topping and dressing of its very own! We decided this week to make two different types of salads.

A good supply of mason jars is the cornerstone of healthy meal prep

Falafel and Beet Hummus Salad

We had some leftover beet hummus in the fridge, so we used the rest of it as a dressing. We’ve written before about our love of easy falafel patties, and they seemed like just the right thing to spruce up this salad. The result is a beautiful, vibrant salad full of Middle Eastern flavor. Here’s a quick recipe for easy falafel patties using chickpea flour.

Ingredients:

1 cup chickpea flour
3/4 cup water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 Tsp baking soda
I Tbsp ras al hanout
1 Tsp cumin
1/2 Tsp salt

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together into a thick batter. Heat some olive oil on medium high heat. Once hot, place heaping tablespoon-sized dollops of batter into the oil. Fry evenly on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown.

Taquito Filling and Black Bean Dressing Salad

We made taquitos this weekend for some tasty lunches this week (recipe to follow!), and we had some leftover filling. The filling was made from cauliflower rice, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and taco spices. It made an ideal topping for a Mexican-inspired salad! We used the black bean dip that we made to go with the taquitos as a base for the dressing.

Healthy Meal Prep Can Be Easy Meal Prep

The important thing here is that we didn’t have to go far out of our way to make delicious, healthy salads for the week. We just made smart use of foods we already had around. Maybe you don’t like hummus or black bean dip or falafel. That’s fine! Sometimes keeping things healthy is all about keeping them easy, so that we have less excuse to slip up. So go ahead and use whatever leftovers you’ve got in your fridge to make a lunch salad more fun!

Vegan Dessert – Coconut Walnut Beet Cake

Hungry Harvest* gave us some beets this week, and we’re never sure what to do with them. They taste too earthy, and in a way that’s hard to mask. We were also aching for a new vegan dessert, and coming up blank on how to use those beets, so we arrived at two (count ’em, two!) separate beet-based dessert recipes. This is the first one, and man, it’s a beauty.

*The link above is a referral, and if you click it and order, you and we will both receive $5 off of our next Hungry Harvest order!

We made the crumb topping from coconut sugar, coconuts, and walnuts, and it’s sweet and delicious. The cake itself is sweet and subtle and gorgeous to look at. I honestly just want to bring this cake to my room and look at it for a couple of hours because of how pretty it is. We’ve made a lot of vegan dessert by now, and this is definitely one of the best.

One thing we’ve noticed with a lot of gluten free recipes is that breads, cakes, etc., tend to be far more crumbly than their gluten-laden counterparts. We had come to accept this as a sad but inevitable truth of the gluten-free vegan dessert game. Friends, I have come to tell you that this beet cake is proof that what I had taken as an iron law of gluten-free vegan dessert is simply not so. The cake was moist, the crumbs had just the right consistency, and above all else, everything was absolutely delicious.

A tiny, gorgeous vegan dessert cake made from beets

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 medium sized beet
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup walnuts
1 cup brown rice flour
1 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp salt
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
3 Tbsp water
1/4 cup maple syrup

Topping:

1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup coconut

Directions:

Wrap the beet in foil, throw it in the oven at 400° F, and literally forget it’s in there until an hour or two later when your husband asks what that thing in the oven is. Once cool, peel the beet and pop it in the food processor with the coconut oil and walnuts, process until smooth. Mix the flaxseed meal and water to form “egg”. Stir the rest of the ingredients for the cake and then dump in the beet purée and flax. Pop into a small cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes at 400° F. Stir topping ingredients together and after that 30 minutes turn on the broiler, sprinkle on the topping and go to town until it’s browned like a good crumb topping should be. Eat warm from the oven straight out of the pan with a fork. No judgement and no regrets.

Vegan Kid-Friendly Slow Cooker Chili

Fall is Jocelyn’s favorite season. She loves apple picking and sweaters and Thanksgiving. She’s so determined that fall arrive that every time the weather turns a little bit colder, she lights candles and sends our kids to day care dressed as pumpkins. She is serious about autumn.

One of our favorite autumn treats is healthy slow cooker meals. They’re so easy, and dinner is ready when we get home, its smell permeating the whole house. The other day when the weather got a little bit cold, Jocelyn leapt at the chance to make us a big batch of vegan slow cooker chili, and brother, it was great. She bumped up the veggie to protein ratio, and so not only was it delicious, it was even healthier than usual. We’ll be making this one a lot as the mercury drops.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onion, diced

4 carrots, chopped

2 peppers, bell or cubanelle, diced

1 1/2 cups of vegan meatless crumbles

2 cups corn kernels 
3 lb tomato, diced
2 cups dried kidney beans, soaked
4 cups vegetable stock (or less, as needed)
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
Salt to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in a large, deep sauté pan on medium high heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, peppers, and veggie crumbles. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion and pepper are soft, about 10-15 minutes.

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, making sure the vegetable stock doesn’t cause the pot to overflow. Stir everything up and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Enjoy topped with whatever you like! We like tortilla chips and avocados.

Cauliflower Veggie Flatbread

We try to eat a mostly vegan diet, but sometimes it can get a little boring.  I love roasted cauliflower, but I find myself suggesting we roast every cauliflower that comes into our house, and it gets to feel a little bit monotonous. As they’d say on Chopped, I’m not really transforming the ingredient.

Jocelyn has no such problem.

She took that cauliflower and made it into the crust for an amazing healthy vegan flatbread using the avocado pesto we posted about the other day. She also topped it with crispy fried onions, and those are basically my kryptonite. I don’t even like onions that much, but fry them until they’re crispy and sprinkle them with salt and I’ll eat them all day and all night.

This was a kid’s portion of the cauliflower flatbread that was destined to go uneaten.
This is the real deal, folks. As delicious as it looks (which is delicious!).

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower

2 Tbsp chia seeds

1/4 cup water (more as needed)

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 Tsp garlic powder

1/2 Tsp salt

1 1/2 cup broccoli florets

2 Tsp olive oil

Avocado kale pesto

1 onion, thinly sliced 

1/3 cup chickpea flour 

Oil for frying

1 bell pepper

2 ears corn, kernels cut off

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Grate the cauliflower (or pop it in the food processor–you can buy frozen pre-riced if you prefer) and steam or boil for about 5 minutes. Pop in a colander to drain while it cools and while you chase two tiny kids who are yelling about needing grapes out of the kitchen. Meanwhile, mix chia seeds and water in a small bowl. Once cauliflower is cool and children are occupied with grapes, squeeze out any excess water. Mix cauliflower, chia seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and any more water it needs to hold together (We ended up adding another tablespoon or so). Spread dough out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

While the crust is baking, coat the broccoli in olive oil and pop in the oven to roast. 

Heat the frying oil on medium high heat in your preferred frying pan. While oil is heating, mix the onion and chickpea flour, once the oil is hot, fry those onions to your desired brown-ness and salt them to your desired saltiness (ours: very and very, respectively).

Sautée the corn and pepper lightly with a spray of olive oil in a nonstick pan. Once the crust is done, spread on the pesto, pile on the toppings, and enjoy while you watch children pick off the bits they like and destroy the rest.

Proletariat Shortbread

Once upon a time there was a dessert called Millionaire Shortbread. We wanted to make a version that was healthy and vegan and gluten free, but it felt wrong to give such a hippie dessert a name glorifying the most rapacious abusers of capitalism, especially on Labor Day, of all days. We workshopped the name. The People’s Shortbread? From Each According to His Abilities, to Each According to His Needs Shortbread? Ultimately we settled on the unglamorous, functional Proletariat Shortbread. It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done, just like the workers of the world. And I don’t know how successful we were on the healthy front, but this was certainly delicious.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup spelt flour
2 Tbsp + 1 Tsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix together almond meal, spelt flour, 2 Tbsp coconut oil, and maple syrup. Press into the bottom of a small oven safe baking dish. Bake at 350° F for 15 minutes.

Mix peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and remaining 1 Tsp coconut oil in food processor until smooth. Spread over cooled crust.

Heat coconut milk in the microwave for a minute. Pour over the chocolate chips in a medium bowl, wait a minute, and then stir up. Pour over caramel and cool in the fridge. Top with berries or whatever you need to make this feel healthier.

A Surfeit of Sauces

We, like you, eat food. Sometimes that food needs a little accompaniment to spruce it up. We can’t just eat plain pasta, right? Who does that? Here, then, are three of our favorite healthy vegan sauces/spreads.

Kale Pesto

We used this vegan pesto to top our tofu and chickpea flour pasta the other night, and it was great. Sometimes Hungry Harvest gives us more kale than we know what to do with, and this is a nice healthy way to use up a good little bit of it.


Ingredients:

1 avocado
1 1/2 cup kale, shredded
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Blitz avocado, kale, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt in the food processor until well combined. Then drizzle olive oil in very slowly while the food processor is running until it is all incorporated and the texture is, you know, pesto texture.

White Bean Caesar Dip

This dip tastes like you’re eating a bowl of Caesar dressing, which feels super decadent. But it’s vegan and super healthy, so you can do it without the guilt you normally feel when you chug a bottle of Newman’s Own. I mean, wait. I don’t do that. Who does that? Never mind.


Ingredients:

2/3 cup dried white beans (normally I’m all about canned beans to save time, but these were on sale at Target…used canned if you didn’t go crazy and buy 10 bags of dried beans)
2 Tbsp capers
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 Tsp nutritional yeast
Salt to taste
Water to reach desired consistency

Directions:

Boil a medium saucepan of water and add the beans. Cook until they are soft. You know what beans are supposed to be like. Drain and place in a food processor. Add capers, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, nutritional yeast, and salt. Blitz until everything is well combined. Slowly add water and process more, stopping when the dip has your preferred consistency.

Smoky Almond Butter Sauce

Nut butters are the unsung heroes of the healthy vegan sauce game. If I’m going into sauce battle, I want nut butters in my sauce army. Even if we lose the sauce war, we lose it fighting the good healthy fight. This metaphor may have gotten away from me.


Ingredients:

1/2 cup smoked almond butter (if you can’t find smoked almond butter, just put some smoked salt in your regular almond butter)
Juice of one grapefruit
1 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)

Directions:

Put all of these things in a food processor. That’s it. Put it on burgers, bowls, salads, whatever you feel like.