It's official: I can’t shake the magic feeling that is summer. Leisurely afternoons spent in the sunshine, moving mealtime al fresco, the days seamlessly folding into nights before your eyes. Bundles of fresh, peak-of-season produce. Always spontaneously hosting or being hosted. It’s the stuff my fantasies are made of. I’m quite fortunate in that much of my childhood summers were spent in this way. Of course, summer means something entirely different when you’re an “adult” (whatever that means) and you have a job (that for some reason doesn't permit you June-August off). But it’s all good, because I’ve found that even Tuesday evening dinners at home can be elevated to embody a bit of that elusive summer magic. Truly!
I’m a total type A workaholic perfectionist with horrible boundaries, and would work all night if left to my own devices. This, as you can imagine, makes relaxing for dinner particularly difficult. But something about this time of years makes me pause, embrace a slightly slower pace, and enjoy even the tiniest of simple pleasures. The watercolored pinks and purples and oranges of the sunset view from our back patio. A 20-minute trip to the beach just to get my toes sandy. A few peaceful moments spent reading in the hammock. Waking up to watch the sunrise over the ocean, just for fun. The perfection of a ripe peach. The sweetness of a night spent eating tacos with friends under the stars.
This meal suits quiet weeknights in as much as it does entertaining a crowd. Much of it can be prepped ahead of time - which truly is the key to success for both of the above endeavors. I oftentimes prepare the tortillas, salsa, and taco-filling in advance for easy grab-and-go assemblage throughout the week, or if surprise guests pop in.
The cauliflower tortillas are a recipe I first crafted last year, and are something I still cannot get enough of. They’re a true SOLFUL staple. The tortillas were created to be paleo-friendly, dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, and 4-ingredient-simple. Ultra nourishing and very delicious. Though if you’re short on time, I’m a fan of Siete's grain-free almond flour tortillas as well.
The recipe for the taco filling is less of a recipe and more of a loose framework for what might work well here. I tend to eat mostly seafood in way of animal protein, but feel free to substitute in your favorite protein (plant-based or otherwise). And sautéd sweet peppers and caramelized onions, always. Dusted with a bit of za’atar.
The list of possible accoutrements is long and varied, but here’s a fool-proof list I always tend to follow: avocado, fresh cilantro, scallion greens, grass-fed shredded cheese (optional), lime wedges, and at least two variations of salsa. Preferably this charred tomatillo salsa verde, because it’s just the right about of spicy and zesty. Seriously. This stuff stole the show, and I’ve been putting it on probably too much stuff since I made it (avocado and salsa toast, anyone?). It's sure to become one of your summertime meal staples, and is an easy way to add intrigue to casual, low-key gatherings.
I hope this dish inspires a more serendipitous, magical few moments within your day, whatever that looks like for you. Happy start to summer to you all!
CAULIFLOWER, LIME + CILANTRO TORTILLAS
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 3 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- Juice and zest from 1 lime
- Salt and pepper, to taste
TO MAKE | Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray/coat with coconut, avocado, or olive oil (to keep tortillas from sticking).
Cut 1 head of cauliflower into small pieces, and pulse in a food processor or blender until you get a rice-like consistency. It’s best to work in batches, depending on the size of your processor/blender. At this point, you’ll have about 4 cups of tightly-packed cauliflower.
Place the cauliflower in a saucepan and start to warm over medium heat, stirring and tossing every few minutes. Do this for about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow cauliflower to cool slightly. Place the cauliflower in a piece of fine cheesecloth, nut milk bag, or a thin cotton dishtowel and begin to squeeze out excess liquid. It will be hot, so rubber gloves are super helpful here. Discard liquid, and set cauliflower aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add in the cauliflower, cilantro, lime juice and zest, and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. If you notice the mixture is dry, you can whisk in another egg.
Using your hands, begin to shape tortillas on the parchment paper. The batter will not expand much in the oven, so size them accordingly. You will probably have to work in batches here, or use multiple sheet pans. Bake for 10 minutes, carefully flip each tortilla, and cook for another 5-7 minutes (or until lightly golden brown).
Allow tortillas to cool. Enjoy immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, simply warm over medium heat in a stovetop skillet for 1-2 minutes on each side.
Makes about 8 medium-sized tortillas.
CHARRED TOMATILLO SALSA VERDE
- 1 lb. fresh tomatillos, husked and rinsed
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1-4 fresh jalapeños
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
- 1 cup broth (vegetable or otherwise)
- 2-4 tbsp fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 tsp coconut sugar
- Salt, to taste
TO MAKE | The tomatillos, onion, garlic, and chiles are going to charr first - this can be done either on a grill or in your oven under the broiler. Keep everything whole, except for the onion, and keep the garlic unpeeled. Allow everything to grill/broil until everything is charred with dark brown spots on all sides - about 5 minutes for the garlic, 7 minutes for the tomatillos and chiles, and 10 minutes for the onion.
Peel the garlic, trim the onion, and stem the chiles. Depending on how spicy you want the salsa, you can choose to keep the chile seeds or discard them. I'm a baby and only used one jalapeño but kept the seeds and found the salsa to be perfectly mild for my taste. Transfer all the charred vegetables to a blender, along with the cilantro and coconut sugar. Puree until smooth. Season with a bit of salt, to taste.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, and carefully pour in the tomatillo mixture. Stir until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add broth and lime juice, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed (salt, lime juice, sugar).
Salsa will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Makes about 2 cups.
EASY SUMMER TACOS
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1-2 bell peppers, sliced
- 2 tbsp za'atar seasoning
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1-2 dozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
TO MAKE | Like I said, this is less of a recipe and more of a loose framework for what I typically prepare in way of tacos. Feel free to substitute in and/or omit anything you choose. I encourage you to draw inspiration from the flavors of the season - peruse your local farmer's market for fresh produce.
In a large cast iron pan, heat your oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, and allow to caramelize slightly (about 15-20 minutes - stirring frequently). Add in the bell peppers and za'atar, and cook another 5-10 minutes, continuing to stir. Lastly, add the shrimp, cooking until done. Serve immediately or keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
I love seeing what you create and getting your feedback on recipes! Leave any questions + comments below, and be sure to follow along on Instagram and tag your photos with #SOLFULhealth so I can see! xx