Every time I go to Mexico City with my family we go to La Casa de Toño to have pozole. There are various outposts and each one we have been to is packed during lunch time. While the pozole there is definitely worth all the fuss, the restaurant also serves some great flautas, which I always order as well, and somehow find room to eat after my large bowl of vegetarian (yes, they offer vegetarian!) pozole.
While undeniably delicious, these flautas, like pretty much all traditional Mexican flautas, are not the healthiest. They are fried in a lot of oil, filled with either white potatoes, cheese or some sort of meat, loaded with cream and topped with iceberg lettuce.
When I returned from our last trip to Mexico, craving these bad boys, I decided it was time to find a way to make a healthier – and vegan – version that I could eat and eat and eat without any guilt whatsoever. When altering traditional foods, my goal is always to achieve a similar taste and texture while substituting in better ingredients on the down-low. I was determined to pack in nutritious ingredients while not deterring too far from the original essence of flautas, which is, after all, why they are so popular – they taste damn good!
While my recipe for flautas does call for all sorts of nontraditional ingredients such as cauliflower, spinach and cashews, the end result still tastes similar to the real deal. My in-laws can vouch for me as I always test my vegan Mexican creations on them first, and they loved them (I didn’t tell them about the cauliflower or shiitake mushrooms until afterwards, of course!).
- 12 corn tortillas
- One recipe cauliflower potato mash (see instructions in my recipe for Seitan Piccata)
- One batch Cashew Cream (without the agave, only the salt)
- One batch Avocado Salsa Verde (you will have extra…it goes great with chips!)
- Few handfuls spinach, shredded
- Radishes, thinly sliced
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Add tortillas one by one and heat through on both sides, flipping often, until they are very soft and pliable, about 30 seconds per side if your pan is hot (you should not need any oil to make the tortillas soft). Set aside and wrap in a towel to keep warm.
- Assemble the flautas: put about two tablespoons of the cauliflower-potato mash a little before the center of the tortilla and spread in a line from end to end. Roll the flautas as tight as you can and set aside, seam side down.
- Add a few tablespoons of oil to the same cast iron skillet and let it get hot.
- Put about five flautas in at a time and fry, rolling around so all sides get cooked, for about 5 minutes, until they are golden brown.
- Alternatively, you can bake the flautas. Heat oven to 350° and assemble flautas on a baking dish. Spray flautas with a little oil (such as canola or coconut…you can even try using no oil and they should still come out okay, just not quite as crispy) and bake until golden brown and crispy, between 15 and 25 minutes.
- Top with Cashew Cream, shredded spinach, sliced radishes and Avocado Salsa Verde.