Cauliflower Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce

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This summer I’m trying to eat as little processed food as I can. I’ve been trying to stick with whole food meals made at home. I love to use cauliflower because it’s so versatile. I roasted my cauliflower steaks for this recipe but you could also pan fry them or grill them. Since I eat a lot of cauliflower, I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. To make cauliflower ‘steaks’, I cut my cauliflower into 3/4 inch slices. Using a large head of cauliflower makes it easier. It’s also important not to separate or cut the stalk, since the stalk is what holds the cauliflower steak together. Cauliflower steaks are a great meat substitute, much like portobello mushroom caps. Chimichurri sauce pairs really well with cauliflower steaks. It’s traditionally used as a condiment for beef steak and other meat in certain South American countries but goes well with most vegetables and also with rice. It’s got intense flavor because of the raw garlic but the acid from the vinegar, and the freshness of the herbs balance it out. It’s really quick and easy to prepare since it doesn’t require cooking. There’s lots of different versions of this sauce. I had to make it a few times to decide how I liked it best. I also wanted to reduce the amount oil to make it healthier. Using high quality, extra virgin olive oil and high quality red wine vinegar will make this sauce even tastier. You can put chimichurri sauce on almost everything you grill – it adds a fresh, spicy flavor to otherwise bland food. I like to prepare it on the weekend and keep it in the fridge to use as a quick condiment for whatever I grill. You can top vegan protein such as tofu and tempeh it for a delicious kick. If you have an herb garden, this sauce is the perfect way to use up your parsley and cilantro! Let me know if you make chimichurri sauce by taking a picture and tagging @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram or Facebook or Pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Cauliflower Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed (do not cut stalk), and cut into 3/4 inch slices
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 tbs to brush on cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup fresh flat leave parsley
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1.5 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt for sauce (plus more to sprinkle on cauliflower)
  • 1/4 freshly ground black pepper (plus more to sprinkle on cauliflower)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a baking sheet and set aside. Cut cauliflower into 3/4 inch slices. Brush cauliflower with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Roast cauliflower for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Flip cauliflower halfway through roasting time. Prepare chimichurri sauce while cauliflower steaks are roasting. In a food processor or blender add 1/4 cup olive oil, parsley, cilantro, oregano, crushed red pepper, red wine vinegar, garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Puree for about 1 minute. Sauce should be slightly chunky in consistency. Place 1-2 roasted cauliflower steaks on a plate and top with desired amount of chimichurri sauce. Serve while hot. Makes about 1/2 cup chimichurri sauce. May store extra sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories: 137.5 calories per 2 tbs chimichurri sauce
  • Approximate calories: 235 cal for half a large head of cauliflower (with 1 tbs olive oil)

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Quinoa Fried Rice with Tofu and Vegetables (with video)

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First things first: I love my wok! It’s something that I will use for years to come. It’s a great investment that will stand the test of time. I use it at least once a week. Stir frying in a wok is one of the quickest ways to prepare hot and healthy food. I prefer a stainless steel type wok since non-stick coatings are typically not safe for high heat cooking. Woks heat up very quickly and the shape of the wok allows food to cook quickly and evenly. It’s always better to cook protein in the wok first and then remove it. This allows it to cook evenly vs. competing with the vegetables. I like to add the vegetables that take the longest to cook first. It’s also helpful to add some water if your food is sticking or if you want to cook a vegetable like broccoli with some steam. It’s important to chop all of your vegetables into bite sized pieces. It’s best to have all of your ingredients and sauces prepared and within reach because you’ll need to stir constantly and add each ingredient in quick succession to prevent burning or sticking. This is also known as “mise en place”. Although it does take a few extra minutes, mise en place or preparing your ingredients ahead makes the cooking process go very smoothly. I do recommend using a wok for this dish but but a large saute pan will also work. You can substitute your favorite vegetables or use brown rice instead of quinoa. The sauce is similar to teriyaki but I prefer not to add any sugar. The rice wine adds a very subtle sweetness and balances out the flavors of the fresh ginger, garlic, and chili peppers. This dish is even better the next day and makes a great “desk lunch”. Make sure you watch the 40 second video below! And if you make this recipe, tag us @thefriendlyepicurean and post a picture!

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My trusted wok!

Quinoa Fried Rice with Tofu and Vegetables

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or 3 cups cooked quinoa)
  • 1 (14oz) package of extra firm tofu, water drained and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tbs)
  • 1 tbs minced, fresh ginger root
  • 2 thai green chili peppers, seeds removed and minced
  • 1 medium sized zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tbs water
  • 4 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs rice wine
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 3 tbs coconut oil or peanut oil
  • 3 tbs sesame seeds
  • Sriracha sauce to taste (optional)

Directions

Rinse quinoa. In a medium sized sauce pan heat quinoa and 2 cups water on medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer on low heat until all of the water is absorbed. While quinoa is cooking, wrap tofu in a clean towel for about 10 minutes to absorb excess water. Cut tofu into 1/2 inch cubes. Cut all vegetables ahead of time and whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine together in a small bowl and set aside. Next, heat 2 tbs oil on high heat in a large wok. Add tofu and stir fry until tofu is golden and firm (about 8 minutes). Make sure to stir constantly so that tofu cooks evenly and to minimize sticking. Remove tofu from wok and set aside. Add onions and 1 tbs oil to wok and stir fry on high heat until onions are golden brown (about 5 minutes). Add garlic, ginger, and chili pepper and stir fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add bell pepper and zucchini and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add broccoli florets and 2 tbs water and stir fry until broccoli is softer on the outside but still crunchy on the inside (it will continue to cook through). Add tofu back into wok. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine mixture and stir to coat evenly. Add cooked quinoa and stir fry for about 3-4 more minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Add Sriracha sauce and more soy sauce to taste, if desired. Serve hot. May store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate Calories per 1/6 stir fry: 320 cal

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Roasted Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Avocado Sauce

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Cinco de Mayo was my inspiration for these delicious vegan tacos. They’re also great for vegan Taco Tuesdays. I made these for my sister and her kids and they loved them! My sister told me at least three times that they were “the best thing you ever made”. This is the first taco recipe on my blog. This recipe was long overdue and is actually my favorite so far. It has all the elements that I want in every recipe – minimally processed, colorful, fresh, and super easy. I used sweet potatoes and purple potatoes because they add color and are more nutritious than regular potatoes. Purple potatoes are high in fiber and antioxidants while sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A. The black beans add protein and texture. The radishes add crunch and freshness. The best part of this meal is the cilantro avocado sauce. The bright color, tangy zing of the lime juice, and creaminess of the avocado make it crave-worthy! The jalapeno adds just the right amount of heat to the sauce. I could eat this sauce every day! It’s great for tacos but also would be fantastic as a salad dressing or in a Buddha bowl. I like to use corn tortillas because they contain more fiber and less sodium and fat versus flour tortillas. You could also skip the tortillas altogether and use cauliflower rice or quinoa to make a delicious taco bowl. The potatoes are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I found that cutting the potatoes into bite sized pieces and placing them on a baking sheet in a single layer helped to cook them perfectly. I hope you love my first taco recipe as much as my family and I did! Make sure to tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram and Facebook if you make it! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Eat the rainbow!

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Cilantro avocado sauce

Roasted Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Avocado Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1hr 15min
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

    For the tacos:
  • 1 (15 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 lbs of potatoes, peeled and diced (preferably purple and sweet potatoes)
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 fresno pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 small radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
  • 1 (8 oz) package of corn tortillas (typically contains 12 tortillas)
  • olive oil spray
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 2 limes)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease to baking sheets with olive oil spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, olive oil, chili powder, minced garlic, and salt. Stir well to ensure that potatoes are coated evenly. Place potatoes on baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Flip potatoes halfway through cooking time to ensure they are evenly browned. Once potatoes are roasted, combine with black beans in a large bowl. While potatoes are roasting, prepare sauce. Place all ingredients listed for the sauce – avocado, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic clove, olive oil, lime juice, salt, cumin powder, and water in a food processor and puree until smooth. In a skillet or frying pan, warm each tortilla for 1-2 minutes on medium heat. Assemble tacos with potato and bean mixture on the bottom of each tortilla. Then add the diced avocado, fresno pepper slices, radish slices, and chopped cilantro. Top each taco with cilantro avocado sauce and serve immediately. Tip: serving size for corn tortillas is 2-3 tortillas per person. Serves about 4-6. May store leftover potato and bean mixture and cilantro avocado sauce in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 1 day.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 3 corn tortillas: 130 cal
  • Approximate calories per 1/6 taco filling: 320 cal
  • Approximate calories per 1/6 sauce: 74 cal

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