Roasted Cauliflower Florets Are Your Secret For Delicious Veggie Tacos

Roasting veggies is a great method for optimizing their flavors and textures by caramelizing their natural sugars, crisping their exteriors, and adding a toasty, charred finish. Cauliflower is a prime example of the transformative effects of roasting. While it's mild and soft when steamed or boiled, roasted cauliflower develops a rich, nutty flavor profile and florets that are crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. They're delicious as a simple side dish, but roasted cauliflower florets will also make the most delicious veggie tacos.

Often used as faux chicken wings, cauliflower has a firm, meaty chew that makes it a star taco filling. Plus, roasting cauliflower gives you the opportunity to impart more flavor, using herbs, spices, and aromatics. An oily coating is a vehicle to incorporate smoky taco seasoning with common Mexican spices like chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic granules, and smoky paprika. You could even use a store-bought packet of taco seasoning if you'd rather not make a mix from scratch.

Roasted cauliflower tends to be firmer and more flavorful than wet cooking methods like boiling and steaming, which is beneficial when you're using them as a hefty taco filling because they won't disintegrate when doused with sauce, topped with garnishes, and rolled inside a hot tortilla.

Cauliflower roasting tips and taco garnish pairings

For nice, crispy, charred edges and enhanced nuttiness, roast cauliflower at higher temperatures between 400 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit for around 20 minutes. You'll want to cut the florets into equal-sized chunks, placing them cut-side down on the baking sheet so that they'll cook and crisp evenly and on all sides. A neutral avocado or canola oil will help coat cauliflower without obscuring or clashing with the flavors in the seasoning.

Smoky, spicy cauliflower tacos will taste delicious with a wide array of sauces and garnishes. You can up the spice level by topping them with a smoky, sweet blend of canned chipotles in adobo (which are great for elevating tacos), tomatoes, and caramelized onions. An avocado cream sauce would also make a nice complement to the smoky, savory taco seasoning, as would a drizzle of Mexican crema to temper the heat or lime-infused aioli. For an authentic Mexican preparation, top cauliflower tacos with a blend of diced white onions and cilantro, and finish with a hearty squeeze of lime juice. 

In contrast, romesco sauce would be an unconventional yet delicious condiment for smoky cauliflower, delivering a creamy, umami-rich, and piquant blend of almonds, roasted red pepper, and roasted tomatoes. Mexican slaw with cilantro-lime dressing and a sprinkle of toasted pepitas would enhance the nuttiness of roasted cauliflower while adding a crunchy, tangy, and herby contrast. While you could use flour tortillas, corn tortillas offer a more authentic, earthy, and savory vessel for cauliflower tacos.