Cauliflower Tinga Tacos

“Mushrooms and eggplant are the most frequent vegetable substitutes for meat, but I prefer roasted cauliflower for a saucy dish like this one. It takes on the flavor of the spiced tomato sauce while maintaining its delicious bite. (Mushrooms and eggplant tend to get mushy.) If you want a smokier, spicier sauce, you can add a canned chipotle in adobo sauce to the mix.” Reprinted with permission from Short Stack Editions Vol. 31: Cauliflower, by Kristin Donnelly ( Slideshow: More Cauliflower Recipes 

Cauliflower Tinga Tacos
Photo: Abby Hocking
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
8 tacos



  • 1 medium cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cored and cut into medium to large florets

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

  • One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes


  • 8 corn tortillas

  • Diced white onion, for serving

  • Cilantro leaves, for serving

  • Cotija cheese, for serving (optional)


  1. Make the filling: Preheat the oven to 425° and place a rack in the lower position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the cauliflower out on the baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, until well-browned on the bottom. Stir and roast until tender, about 10 minutes longer.

  3. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the yellow onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chile powder, cumin, coriander, oregano and allspice and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scrape the onion and garlic into a food processor or blender. Add the tomatoes; puree, then transfer the puree to the pot. Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened and the flavors have melded, about 20 minutes. When the sauce is ready, add the roasted cauliflower and stir to combine.

  4. Make the tacos In a dry skillet, heat the tortillas one at a time, turning once, until fragrant and pliable, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Wrap the tortillas in a clean towel to keep warm. When all the tortillas are warm, spoon the filling into the tortillas and serve, passing white onion, cilantro leaves and cotija cheese (if using) at the table.

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