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Low-Carb Game-time Grub: Cauliflower Nachos

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!

#PlayWithYourFood

Cauliflower Nachos
Print Recipe
Nachos with tortillas are delicious but in our healthy lifestyles, we can do better! This recipe replaces the starchy staple for a veggie packed with fiber that's more than up to the task of holding up the most important part of nachos - the toppings!
    Servings Prep Time
    4 servings 20 minutes
    Cook Time
    20 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    4 servings 20 minutes
    Cook Time
    20 minutes
    Cauliflower Nachos
    Print Recipe
    Nachos with tortillas are delicious but in our healthy lifestyles, we can do better! This recipe replaces the starchy staple for a veggie packed with fiber that's more than up to the task of holding up the most important part of nachos - the toppings!
      Servings Prep Time
      4 servings 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      20 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      4 servings 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      20 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: servings
      Instructions
      1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
      2. Cut your florets into thin slices by standing them up on a cutting board, floret side up. Carefully slice into thin pieces (but not too thin, else they will burn when you roast them).
      3. Lay your florets out on the cookie sheet in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until browned around the edges and dehydrated. (Oven times may vary.)
      4. Meanwhile, spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and set it over medium heat until it is hot. Add ground meat and brown thoroughly before adding taco seasoning (and a tablespoon of water, if the mixture is dry) and mixing thoroughly. Set aside and allow it to cool a bit.
      5. Salt cauliflower upon removal from the oven. Top with meat and cheese. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes, or until cheese is melted to your liking.
      6. Top with onions, beans, jalapenos, Greek yogurt and any other toppings you like.
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