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Dalia Colón enriches your diet with the herbs, vegetables, and fruits of Florida

The cover of Dalia Colón's cookbook, “The Florida Vegetarian Cookbook."
The cover of Dalia Colón's cookbook, “The Florida Vegetarian Cookbook."

What does it mean to taste a place? When you envision the foods and flavorswhere you live,what comes to mind?

If you’rehailing from Maine or Maryland, you may be used to a lot of local fish andseafood. Ifyou’refrom Washington,you know a good apple when you see one. But todaywe’regoing south,to Florida.

In “The Florida Vegetarian Cookbook,” food journalist Dalia Colón puts her state’s bounty of fruits, vegetables, and herbs on full display. And she does it with a plant-based twist, making it her mission to reach those struggling to stick to a vegetarian diet.

Check out some recipes from Dalia’s cookbook below.

Game Day Buffalo Cauliflower

Chocolate-Dipped Avocado Paletas

Roasted Red Beet Hummus

Cool and Crunchy Ramen Salad


It’s easy for vegetarians to feel left out at a Super Bowl party. But these chicken wing alternatives score a touchdown with herbivores and omnivores alike. They’re crispy on the outside, meaty and tender on the inside. Be sure to make enough for your meat-eating friends, because they won’t be able to resist on game day. Buffalo cauliflower also makes a great taco filling.

Serves 2 to 4

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ cups unsweetened oat milk or

almond milk, plus more if needed

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

3 cups seasoned panko (Japanese-style)


½ cup buffalo sauce or hot sauce

2 tablespoons refined coconut oil or

extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons raw honey or pure maple


• Optional: celery sticks and/or dipping sauce of your choice (see note below)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, add the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and milk.

Whisk to combine. If the batter is too thick, add an additional splash of milk.

3. Pour the breadcrumbs into a medium bowl.

4. Line up the batter, breadcrumbs, and prepared baking sheet to create an assembly line.

One by one, dip each cauliflower floret in the batter to coat, gently roll the battered floret in

the breadcrumbs to coat, then arrange on the baking sheet, allowing some space between the


6. Bake for 10 minutes to set the breadcrumbs.

7. Meanwhile, in a small, oven-safe bowl, stir together the buffalo sauce, oil, and honey. If it’s

too thick, pop the bowl into the oven for a minute or two until it’s easily stirred.

8. Brush the buffalo sauce mixture onto each floret. Return the pan to the oven to bake for

10 minutes.

9. Use tongs to flip the florets and brush with more sauce. Bake another 10 minutes or until

crispy on all sides. Keep an eye on them. If the cauliflower is getting too dark, tent with foil

and reduce heat to 400 degrees.


On the streets and beaches of Mexico, you’ll find vendors hawking paletas. The frozen treats are traditionally made with natural ingredients that feel especially refreshing during a day of fun in the sun. Similarly, vendors in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean countries are known to peddle ice pops, and the trend is finally starting to catch on in Florida. Whether you’re hanging out poolside or taking a well-deserved break from mowing the lawn, you can enjoy beach vibes anytime when you serve this creamy, grown-up dessert that kids will also enjoy.

Makes 4 to 6 paletas

Flesh of 1 large or 2 small avocados

1 cup well-stirred canned coconut milk

2 teaspoons cornstarch

¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

½ cup raw honey

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup dark chocolate chips

2 tablespoons coconut oil

• Optional garnishes: unsweetened coconut flakes, sprinkles, chopped nuts, or

chopped dried fruit

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the avocado flesh, coconut milk, cornstarch, lime

juice, honey, and salt. Blend until smooth.

2. Scoop the avocado mixture into ice pop molds. Freeze for at least four hours, preferably


3. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate and coconut oil for 20 seconds. Remove from

the microwave, stir, and repeat until the chocolate is melted.

4. Remove the paletas from their molds and dip in the melted chocolate. Sprinkle with coconut flakes, sprinkles, nuts, or dried fruit, if using. Transfer to a cooling rack.

5. Return paletas to the freezer until the chocolate is set. Serve immediately or store in an

airtight container or resealable plastic bag.


Hummus is tasty and convenient for a quick lunch or beach snack. But it doesn’t exactly

win any contests in the looks department. Adding beets gives this hummus both substance and style. It’s still convenient for a quick lunch or snack. It also makes a showstopping appetizer for your holiday table or anytime. Use it as a dressing for my falafel

tacos, or as a dig for raw veggies, crackers, pita chips, tortilla chips, and such.

Makes about 2 cups

1 large beet, peeled and cut into ½-inch


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2

tablespoons, divided

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and


4 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1 large lemon

2 tablespoons tahini

½ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Spread the beets on the prepared baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil to coat.

Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender. Let cool.

3. In a food processor or strong blender, combine the chickpeas, garlic, remaining ¼ cup olive

oil, lemon juice, tahini, and salt and pulse. Adjust lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and continue

to blend until hummus reaches your desired flavor and thickness.


Orlando’s Mills 50 District is home to some of Florida’s most authentic international restaurants, including a handful of great ramen joints. When it’s too hot outside for soup, enjoy this make-ahead alternative.

Serves 6 to 8

2 (3-ounce) packages ramen noodles (you just need the noodles, not the flavor packets)

2 cups shredded carrots (about 8 ounces)

2 cups finely chopped broccoli (about ½ head broccoli)

2 cups shredded cabbage or kale (about 8 ounces)

1 cup roasted sunflower seeds

1 cup sliced raw almonds

5 green onions, sliced

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup fresh lemon and/or lime juice (about 4 large lemons or 6 medium limes)

½ cup raw honey

½ teaspoon salt

1. Put the ramen in a sealable plastic bag and use a rolling pin or mallet to smash the noodles. This is a fun task for kids or yourself—whoever needs to let out some aggression.

2. In a large bowl, mix the ramen, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, sunflower seeds, almonds, and

green onions.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, juice, honey, and salt. Pour the dressing over the

veggies and toss until the veggies are coated.

4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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