Traditionally, the act of watching the Super Bowl is accompanied by the consumption of the saltiest, fattiest, absolute unhealthiest foods imaginable. This is to help your body retain enough water weight to anchor you to the couch, so you don’t accidentally fall off of it once all the beer and snacks (or the game itself) put you to sleep. A balanced diet, indeed!
Speaking of diets, have you heard about this keto thing? What began as part of a treatment plan for epilepsy was eventually seized upon by the public when it was discovered that a ketogenic diet might spur weight loss. I know this because everyone on a ketogenic diet makes it well known that they’re on a ketogenic diet. I will not explain this diet or the science behind it, because approximately 95% of the known internet has already done that.
I do know that on this eating plan, one can eat all the damn cheese and mayonnaise they want, and that feels extremely Super Bowl-y to me. I’ve wanted to develop a broccoli taco recipe for some time, because I simply adore them. But now, seeing as how broccoli and cheese go together like keto and CrossFit, it’s like the snacky stars above have perfectly aligned. You don’t need to be on any sort of diet to appreciate the beauty of a mini taco shell made from crispy cheddar cheese, so these itty bitty broccoli tacos are a grand ol’ time for one and all. The fact that they’re delicious is the only and best reason to make them.
Do not worry about exact measurements in this recipe; it’s rare that anyone buys exactly one pound of broccoli, and going a bit under or over won’t matter one bit. I prefer tossing irregularly shaped vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower with mayonnaise before I cook them, because mayo sticks into all the nooks and crannies of each floret better than oil does. Feel free to play with the spices, too—just remember to taste for seasoning as you go. And of course, these don’t have to be mini tacos, either. You can make them any size you want.
- 1 lb. broccoli, cut to separate the florets from the stems
- 1 small onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- Zest and juice of 2 large limes
- 1½ tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¾ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- Hot sauce, to taste
- 2½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Pickled red onions, for serving
Preheat the oven t0 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment.
In a food processor, pulse the broccoli stems and onion together four or five times, then add the florets, mayonnaise, lime juice, and zest. Pulse a few more times until roughly chopped, then dump onto the baking sheet. Add the garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce (if desired) and toss well; taste for seasoning, adjusting as you see fit.
Use a spatula to evenly spread out the broccoli mixture, then pop in the oven for 20 minutes, giving it a good stir every 5 minutes to help excess steam to escape. Once the broccoli is cooked, slide it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp it up, keeping a watchful eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Remove from the oven and, using an oven mitt, carefully slide the foil/parchment off the sheet pan and onto the counter to cool.
Lower the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and put a new sheet of foil/parchment on the sheet pan. Put a double layer of paper towels on your counter or on a cutting board to make a taco-cooling station.
Using half the cheese, make eight small, evenly spaced mounds of shredded cheddar and bake for 5-7 minutes until melted into flat discs. Allow to cool for 2 minutes, then use a thin spatula to help remove them to the paper towels. Blot any excess grease off each side, top each disc with a few spoonfuls of broccoli, then fold in half to make mini tacos. (They will be cool enough to handle with your bare hands.) Place them upright on an inverted cupcake pan, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes until they hold their shape. Repeat with the remaining broccoli and cheese. Serve with pickled red onion, chopped cilantro, and whatever other things you like on tacos.