Cinco de Mayo Dish

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a voluntarily-observed holiday that commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. It is celebrated primarily in the state of Puebla and in the United States. While Cinco de Mayo has limited significance nationwide in Mexico, the date is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, September 16th, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico. (Source: Wikipedia)

I am not sure why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the US, but I love Mexican food, so it’s a great excuse to have a Mexican inspired food at home or at a restaurant. The recipe I made today consists of baby artichokes*, black beans, cauliflower, salsa and tortilla chips. (You could also serve the rice with beans and grated cheese, dairy or non-dairy.)

This was my serving for lunch. For more people, you will need to double or triple the amounts of each item.

Utensils: Steamer basket with large pot, small pot for beans, braising pan for artichokes (Larger pan like a fry pan with higher sides)
Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15-25 minutes
Category: Gluten-free and Vegan

4-6 baby artichokes, washed and cut in half lengthwise
Olive oil and herbs for artichokes and cauliflower. (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute, of course!)
1 (organic) cauliflower, washed, stem removed, and cut or broken into manageable pieces
one can (organic) black beans  (Dry black beans take too long to soak and cook and still are not soft!)


1. Place baby artichoke halves face down in a braising pan or fry pan with high enough sides to accommodate 1-2 inches of water. Cook about 20 minutes, until the insides of the artichoke are tender.
2. While the artichokes are cooking, place cauliflower pieces in steamer basket and steam to desired doneness, perhaps 10 minutes, depending on how small you cut the flowerettes. They should be crisp-tender, not mushy. 
3. Pour beans into a small pan and heat on medium heat until hot, perhaps 5 minutes. By the time you heat the beans, the cauliflower and artichokes will almost be ready.

While waiting for them to finish cooking, open the bag of tortilla chips and pour salsa into individual small bowls or one large bowl. Place beans in a bowl in the center of a plate, sprinkled with a little cayenne pepper, if you wish more of a bite. (If you are making individual plates, use a small bowl and a medium sized plate. For a large family serving, using larger bowl and a serving platter.)

4. To assemble the dish: place bowl of beans in the center of the plate. Around the outer edges, place cauliflower that has been tossed with a little olive oil. Place baby artichokes in between the cauliflower and sprinkle with olive oil and 21 Seasoning Salute. 
5. Place chips and salsa in separate bowls and serve with cooked foods.

Variations: Add a side dish of guacamole; add grated cheese or non-dairy cheese to the beans; make rice and mix with beans
Yield:  A whole cauliflower and 4-6 baby artichokes plus a can of beans should serve about 4 people, but if you add the salsa and chips and also rice, you can add another 2-4 servings.

* Artichokes

I purchased baby artichokes from Ocean Mist farms and looked at their website for more information on baby artichokes. They note that artichokes “are a delicious way to get nutrients that research shows we typically lack in our diets — fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium.”  In addition, artichokes are high in phytonutrients.(See Glossary)  The site notes that artichokes contain:

quercetin, which protects against cancer and heart disease;  
rutin, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties;
anthocyanins, which are associated with lower risks for certain cancers, urinary tract health, memory functioning, and healthy aging;
gallic acid, which inhibits cell proliferation in prostate cancer cells;
luteolin and cyanarin,the first of which may lower cholesterol and the second may help in liver regeneration;
caffeic and chlogenic acid, which contain anti-cancer, anti-microbial, antiviral properties and help fight bad cholesterol (LDLs); and finally
silymarin, which may aid to help the liver regenerate tissues.

Please click on for more fascinating facts about and recipes for awesome artichokes.

Note: I like baby artichokes because I can eat almost all of the inside leaves, since they are more tender than the leaves of large globe artichokes.

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