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Achiote Cauliflower with Green Poblano Rice and Black Beans

Servings: 4

Achiote paste is a brick-red seasoning sold in blocks in the Latin section of most grocery stores or at your local Latin market. It is the signature flavoring of Cochinita Pibil, the famous roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Peninsula in Southeastern Mexico. In these tostadas, it’s used to flavor tender cauliflower for an easy dinner that is bursting with bright citrus flavors.


For the pickled red onions

  • 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

For the rice

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 poblano peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, tough stems removed
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1-1/2 cups jasmine rice

For the beans

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped, seeded if desired
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans

For the cauliflower

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. achiote paste
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, chopped (6 cups)

For serving

  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped


Make the pickled red onions

Place onion wedges in a large heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, the water, sugar, and salt. Heat over medium heat, whisking, until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. Pour over onion. Let cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 1 hour. (Pickled onions will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.)

For the rice

In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add poblanos, onion, and garlic, and season to taste with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a blender. Add the cilantro, broth, and the 1 tsp. salt, and blend until smooth.

In the same frying pan, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil over medium heat. Add rice and toast, stirring frequently, until the grains go from translucent to opaque, about 4 minutes. Add the pepper puree. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly, and cook until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

Make the beans

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeño. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to brown. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, coriander, and oregano. Cook, stirring constantly, until spices are toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beans, juice and all, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash them up a bit to make them creamy. (You don’t want a puree, just break some up to thicken the beans.)

Make the cauliflower

In a blender, combine orange juice, lime juice, onion, garlic, achiote paste, tomato paste, oregano, and the 1 tsp. salt. Blend until smooth. Reserve 1 Tbs. of the marinade for the yogurt sauce.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower, and season to taste with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower begins to get tender and browned, about 10 minutes. Add remaining achiote marinade, bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until the cauliflower is tender and the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.

To serve

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, reserved 1 Tbs. achiote marinade, and salt. Serve cauliflower with the rice and beans. Drizzle plates with yogurt sauce, sprinkle with cilantro, and top with pickled red onions and avocado.


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