This no fish cauliflower ceviche is so delicious you won’t be able to stop eating it! Serve it as an appetizer with tortilla chips for a party, or enjoy it as a light and refreshing Mexican meal. You can pair this vegan ceviche with an ice-cold drink for the most amazing warm-weather meal.
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What is Ceviche
Ceviche (or cebiche) is believed to have originated in the country of Peru, but it’s a common dish throughout many Latin American countries.
This recipe is more of the Mexican-style of making ceviche.
Ceviche is traditionally made using fish, but other seafood like shrimp, octopus, conch, and also different seafood mixes exist.
Of course this recipe is for fishless, no seafood ceviche, it’s 100% vegan ceviche!
Typically the raw fish or raw seafood is marinated in lime juice to help cure it or cook it. The citrus juices help kill off any bacteria there may be and changes the texture to look just like cooked fish. For other seafood, they may be parboiled first before marinating and incorporating other ingredients to create the dish.
This vegan ceviche recipe is a fishless spin on the traditional fish one, and I promise you aren’t going to miss the seafood with this recipe. It’s a perfect substitute for traditional ceviche and it’s still incredibly flavorful and retains the traditional flavor and taste.
From the first bite you’re going to love the way all the flavors and textures of the ingredients come together. Plus it you have some cauliflower sitting around that needs using up, this is a great way to do so.
Just like the fish version, you can serve vegan cauliflower ceviche with tortilla chips, saltine crackers, or a crispy corn tortilla aka tostadas. It makes the perfect light lunch or a light meal on days when the high heat gets to you and you don’t want to be in the kitchen too long.
My sister told me all about this ceviche de coliflor many years ago and I knew from the first time I had it that it needed to be shared here on the blog, so I’m so excited to share it with you today.
What Ingredients Does Fish Ceviche Have
In Mexican style fish ceviche (other seafood ceviche too), the most common ingredients usually consist of the fish or seafood, onion, chile pepper, tomato, and lots of fresh lime juice.
Other ingredients that can be used are olives, tomato sauce or ketchup, avocado, cucumber, and cilantro. I’ve also seen some recipes adding some olive oil to the mix — always use extra virgin for no-cook dishes like these.
Cauliflower Ceviche Ingredients
For this vegan ceviche you’ll need pretty much the same ingredients as the traditional seafood-based one. The wonderful thing about this ceviche without seafood is that anyone, anywhere in the World can get the ingredients to make it.
- one cauliflower head or cauliflower florets
- red onion
- jalapeno pepper
- serrano peppers
- roma tomatoes
- fresh cilantro
- fresh lime juice
- avocado slices (for serving)
- corn tortilla chips or saltines or tostadas (for serving)
If you don’t have red onion you can use white onion or even small green onions.
For the chilies you can use all jalapeños for a milder version — remove the seeds and pith. If you can’t handle any heat then you can use green bell peppers or just ground black pepper.
Lime juice, in a pinch, can be substitute with lemon juice. I know some people or recipes call for using a mix of orange juice with the lime or lemon. I do this for my hearts of palm ceviche, it lends a nice distinctive flavor.
For the tostadas you can use either homemade or store-bought tostada shells. You can get them at the Hispanic food store or thankfully they’re not available at ethnic section of most grocery stores.
For more info on the wakame read the next section.
How to Make Vegan Ceviche Taste Closer to The Real Thing
A very important trick for any meatless recipes, which are trying to mimic a similar taste and smell of seafood, is to use seaweed.
That magical ingredient can truly transform your vegan and vegetarian dishes with another level of flavors.
Either nori sheets, (the same ones used to roll up sushi rolls), or wakame seaweed (the little green leaves floating in miso soup) are both perfect for this. I always use them for my faux seafood recipes.
To prepare it we either blend it into a fine powder or soak it before chopping and incorporating into the dish.
How to Make Cauliflower Ceviche
Just as the ingredients are similar to the seafood version, this vegan version is made pretty much the same.
Step 1: First we chop the cauliflower into very small pieces no larger than bite-size pieces. (You could also do thin in a food processor.) Then we’re going to blanch it in a large pot of hot salted water to help soften it up in texture and also the taste. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Step 2: Once cooled, in a large bowl combine cauliflower with onion, garlic, chile peppers, wakame, and salt, until well combined. Add tomato and mix well. Add cilantro and mix. Pour in lime juice and thoroughly mix until well combined.
Step 3: Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Taste and if needed adjust the salt and lime juice or anything else you’d like. If adding more ingredients, leave to marinade another 10-15 minutes.
Step 4: Serve as an appetizer, side dish, or as a main dish.
How To Eat Vegan Cauliflower Ceviche
The simple answer is, just like you would eat regular seafood ceviche! It makes a wonderful appetizer or a flavorful main dish.
Ceviche can be served with corn chips for scooping it up, with saltine crackers or also on crispy corn tostadas to make scrumptious cauliflower ceviche tostadas. For a fun presentation and appetizer you could serve it inside avocado halves.
It can be served or topped with avocado chunks or slices, and your favorite hot sauce for extra heat. You can also include extra lime or lemon wedges for the tostadas.
Drinks that go perfect with a vegetarian ceviche meal are ice-cold agua frescas, vegan micheladas or chelada beer cocktails and of course a margarita, a skinny paloma, or your favorite hot-weather cocktail or drink.
How To Store
You can store any leftovers in the fridge in an air tight container. It will keep fresh a few days before the tomatoes start breaking down.
Freezing is not recommended for cauliflower ceviche.
What Does Cauliflower Ceviche Taste Like
This low carb vegan ceviche is a flavor explosion in your mouth!
The taste is a bit similar to fish ceviche but of course not quite like it. By parboiling the cauliflower we help it be able to absorb more of the flavors as well as mute the intense raw cauliflower taste. Each ingredient plays it’s part perfectly in bringing this ceviche together.
Other Recipes To Try
- 30 Minute Vegan Colima Style Ceviche by Conflicted Vegan
- Hearts of Palm Ceviche
- Carlota de Limon or Mexican Lime Icebox Cake
- Agua de Sandia or Watermelon Agua Fresca
Cauliflower Ceviche Recipe
As we all know, cauliflower is incredibly versatile and there’s so many different ways to cook and it, like: cauliflower tacos on corn tortillas, cauliflower rice, make cauliflower pizza crust, or even a creamy vegan cauliflower alfredo sauce.
But amigos, next time you find yourself with some fresh cauliflower make sure to make a batch of this flavorful Mexican ceviche de coliflor.
So check out my super easy recipe for vegan cauliflower ceviche below. I promise you’re going to love how easy it is to make. Serve it with chips, saltines or on tostadas.
I really hope you give this recipe a try. It’s perfect weekend food or when you want to liven up your weekday. It’s also an amazing little-effort meal to enjoy on a hot day.
Cauliflower Ceviche | The Best Vegan Ceviche Recipe
- 1 small head of cauliflower stem removed (equal to 4 cups chopped)
- water for boiling
- pinch salt
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion adjust to taste
- 1 whole or 2 cloves of garlic finely minced, optional*
- 1 whole or 2 finely chopped jalapeno peppers
- 1 whole finely chopped serrano pepper optional**
- 1/2 Tablespoon ground wakame***
- 1 teaspoon of salt adjust to taste
- 2 cups chopped Roma tomato about 3 medium tomatoes
- 3/4 cup finely chopped cilantro I used the leaves and stems
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- To Serve: chips or saltines and/or tostadas
- Remove the stem from the cauliflower and then carefully separate the individual florets from the upper part of the stem. You can save the hard stems for stock or composting. Chop the small florets into small odd shaped pieces but that are still similar in size.
- Bring about 6 cups of water to the boil, add some salt then carefully drop in the bits of chopped cauliflower and parboil or blanch for about 3 to 4 minutes. You want it to have soften a bit but not turn completely soft and mushy. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- In a large glass mixing bowl add the rinsed cauliflower bits, then begin mixing in the onion, garlic if using, the chile peppers, wakame, and salt until well combined. Then add the chopped tomatoes and mix to combine. Next, add the cilantro and again mix, lastly add the lime juice and mix well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- After marinating taste and if needed adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve as an appetizer with corn chips or saltine crackers or with tostadas. Enjoy!
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…