I don’t eat vegan food at all, and actually try to avoid it like the plague as much as possible, but I am understanding of other people’s dietary restrictions. I’m also very aware that fresh seafood can be somewhat expensive, especially if you’re needing a lot of it for something like ceviche. You definitely need the top quality stuff for a dish like this. So keeping that in mind, this vegan cauliflower ceviche is the way to go if you’re watching your wallet and watching what you’re eating. Cauliflower is the perfect vegetable to make this with because it’s hearty and “meaty” and has a really good texture when slightly cooked. Everything else is prepared like a traditional Peruvian ceviche, and it’s out of this world. So much so that you won’t even miss the seafood. It’s a great dish to make this weekend to help cool you down. If I came across more dishes like this, I wouldn’t mind eating vegan more often.
Let’s start with the main attraction of this dish. The cauliflower. Trim off the leaves and a bit of the stalk. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Carefully add the whole head of cauliflower to the boiling water and cook until fork tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
**Note: It might take a bit more time to cook, depending on how big your cauliflower is. You don’t want over-cook it or else it’ll become too mushy. You want the cauliflower to have a bit of a bite.**
Carefully remove the cauliflower head from the boiling water (keeping the water boiling) and place into a large bowl of ice water. This will stop it from cooking. Drain the ice water and let cool completely. Then give the florets a rough chop and place them in a large bowl.
**Note: The cauliflower can be in small bite sized pieces, with some larger and some smaller pieces. It doesn’t have to be perfect.**
Let’s make the leche de tigre. This is the citrus based spicy marinade that is classic for Peruvian ceviche. It’s what cures the fish. But since this doesn’t have fish, we don’t need it to cure anything BUT we do need it to give this ceviche that some great taste.
**Tip: This can be make up to a day in advance. Just keep it in the fridge until ready to make the ceviche. If making classic ceviche with seafood, you’d want to chill this for a few hours before mixing it with the fish.**
In a blender, combine the lime juice, lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, aji pepper paste, red onion, salt, pepper and a few ice cubes. Blend on high until smooth. Then pour into a bowl, through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the pulp.
**Note: Aji pepper paste is a Peruvian product made with yellow aji peppers. You can find it at some specialty hispanic stores, or you can find it online!**
To the bowl of cauliflower, add the hominy, red onion, cilantro, avocado, sweet potatoes, salt and pepper.
**Tip: After the cauliflower cooks, keep the water boiling and add the peeled and sliced sweet potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and let cool completely.**
Pour the leche de tigre into the boil and give it all a big stir until evenly incorporated. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning accordingly, adding more salt or pepper as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
**Tip: The longer the ceviche sits, the better flavor it will have. You can make this several hours before you plan on serving it and just keep it in the fridge. Obviously nothing has to cook with the citrus juice, but it’ll just give it a chance to marinade!**
I like to serve the ceviche in small bowls that are lined with butter lettuce, but if you’d like, you can just serve it in one large serving bowl for guests to serve themselves.
You can serve the ceviche with store-bought tostadas or with tortilla chips. If you can find salted plantain chips, that would be amazing and the route to go.
**Note: Also, yucca chips would be great as well. I have a fancy blend of potato chips here. It’s a combo of sweet potatoes, yukon gold and purple potatoes.**
This is a great vegan dish, but if you’d like to make traditional ceviche, you can totally use this recipe and skip the cauliflower and use either fluke, flounder, or sole instead. Just add the chilled leche de tigre to a bowl with the sliced raw fish and let it cure in the fridge for a few minutes.
Although the lime and lemon juice will prevent the avocado from browning, if you plan on making this ahead of time, I’d recommend adding the avocado right before serving just to be safe!
Since it’s been so hot lately, this is the perfect recipe to make over the weekend to help cool you down. Don’t forget about the ice cold beers that are a must to go alongside the ceviche. Chilled wine would be great as well. I’m not picky at all.
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (divided)
- 1 tablespoon aji pepper paste
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (divided)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup yellow hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1 small habanero, minced
- 1 large avocado, diced
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a large pinch of salt. Trim off the leaves and the very edge of the stem of the cauliflower. Place the whole head into the boiling water and cook until just fork tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cauliflower from the pot (but keep the water boiling) place into a large bowl of ice water. Drain and let cool down completely before roughly chopping the florets into small bite sized pieces of varying sizes. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
- Bring the water back to a boil and add in the sweet potato slices. Cook until fork tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and let cool.
- In a blender, combine the lime juice, lemon juice, garlic, 2 tablespoons cilantro, aji pepper paste, 2 tablespoons red onion, and salt and pepper. Add in 4 cubes of ice and blend until completely smooth. Pour into the boil with the cauliflower, through a fine mesh strainer to remove any pulp.
- Add the remaining cilantro, red onion, hominy, habanero, and avocado to the bowl as well. Stir until well combined and give it a taste. Adjust seasoning accordingly, adding more salt or pepper as needed. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with tostadas or tortilla chips. Enjoy!