While at the Norwegian Folk Museum in the fall, I learned that more Mexican food is consumed in Norway than any other country in Europe. Basically, they love tacos. There is an entire section in the grocery store devoted to taco shells, tortillas, spice mixes, sauces, salsas and the rest.
It’s lucky for us that we happen to love tacos as well. The ingredients are relatively cheap to buy, the taste is nearly always what you expect, the end result is always satisfying bloat of fullness. For me, however, making the vegetarian version while in Norway forced me outside the box of faux meat. Although you can find some limited meat substitutes here, it’s not the amazing selection that you can find back home and the price is not nearly as reasonable. Apparently, Norwegians treat meat and faux meat the same when it comes to overinflated values.
The lack of these substitutes is a great exercise, however, in creativity of eating. As much as I hate to admit it, I am never able to lie and say I am an extremely adventurous eater. Replacing meat with meat substitutes is easy, convenient and delicious (I am dying for some Quorn Chick’n and Morningstar Sausage Patties!), but it’s not always the healthiest way to sub for meat. Even though these replacements contain protein and some other nutritional benefits, they also can contain preservatives and chemicals that whole-food advocates would tsk-tsk. Delicious preservatives, scrumptious chemicals.
Anyway, when you think about what you love about tacos, it’s mostly the taste of the seasoning. And the sour cream. And soft, warm tortillas. And you can have all those things without meat! So, out of necessity and desperation was born one of my new favorite meals. Cauliflower-bean tacos!
Say what? Just trust me on this one. I cut up the cauliflower very, very small, think ground beef if you must! I add white beans, often the kind that are in that tomato sauce, and pop it in the frying pan. In goes a packet of taco seasoning and maybe a dab of water if you drained the beans. Boil then simmer until all the cauliflower is soft and the powdered packet of seasoning has turned into a delicious saucy coating on your vegetables.
The rest is obvious! Add your cauli-beans to the tortilla or hard shell as you would ground beef, and apply fixings liberally! I like corn, red peppers, lettuce, sour cream and cheese, with a dab of salsa to make myself feel authentic. You can thank me later, whoever sleeps with you will be thinking of me sooner than that.