Cauliflower nachos. Because…why the heck not? During football season, nachos are a game-time favorite. But those tortilla chips? Eh. We can do better.
Plus, cauliflower seems to be having a heydey in the world of low-carb eating. With the rise of the ketogenic (keto) diet and its emphasis on fat and protein over carbohydrates, the cauliflower fits into the perfect nexus of foods: it is practically no-calorie, it has a good bit of fiber (which lowers the net carb count), and it isn’t high in sugars. This also means that, on its own, it tastes like vegetable-tinted air, but we can work with it, Foodies! Trust me. Have I ever steered you wrong? (Don’t answer that question…)
This recipe was one I taught in one of my online cooking classes. Have you taken one yet? If not, it’s a great opportunity to see how dishes shake out in real kitchens with an imperfect cook (me) at the helm. I hope to see you at one soon! In fact, here’s where you go to see what the next class is. #EndShamelessSelfPlug
Let’s get back to these nachos.
Now I don’t want you all to think I bumped my head or have gone crazy. Under no circumstances am I suggesting that a cauliflower is going to taste like a tortilla chip. I would not insult your intelligence like that.
What I’m actually asking you to believe is a bit more complex than that.
My argument, if you will, is that the tortilla chip isn’t actually the crucial part of nachos. Think about it!
When you bite into a plate of nachos, the only time you really notice the chip first is if you’ve gotten a bad chip. (Has that happened to you? It’s happened to me! Either it was over-salted, or baked too long and burned, or wasn’t crispy. Yick!) No, no! With a plate of nachos it is alllllllllll about the toppings! And that’s why, my dear Foodies, I argue that cauliflower can stand in for tortillas in this most favorite of game-time snacks!
A few extra tips before you jump, head-first, into this recipe:
- Don’t skip pre-baking the cauliflower. Bake it until it is really brown around the edges and very dehydrated. Depending on how think you slice the florets, some of them may look slightly crispy. This is a good thing! So long as it isn’t burnt. If it’s burnt…well…yeah.
- And while you’re at it, don’t forget to salt your cauliflower sufficiently. I personally would do this immediately after removing from the oven. At this point, they are dehydrated and the danger of them releasing a bunch of water is gone. (That water evaporated in your oven!) If your toppings are salty enough, you may want to skip this step or just go with something like garlic or onion powder just to give the cauliflower some sort of flavor of its own!
- Don’t bake these with a bunch of things with water in them. You see above I have tomatoes on mine. I added those after they came out of the oven. Same with any water bearing veggie. It will sog your nachos!
- Speaking of sog, cauliflower is cauliflower. It’s never going to be a tortilla. Embrace eating these with a fork. Remember, the flavor is what you want! (Or…be crazy and go in with your hands…I certainly won’t judge you.)
- Last, but not least, if you are the only one who will be eating the nachos (such is the case sometimes…we walk a lonely road sometimes, us healthy lifestyle enthusiasts) do not…and I mean DO NOT be ashamed to eat directly from the cookie sheet. Scarf your nachos with pride!