Crunchy-Shell Cauliflower Tacos

April 24, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Inspired by old-school, ground-beef tacos, these are a best friend to hurried weeknights. Hopefully a cold beer is somewhere close by. Want to make your ingredient list a bit bigger? You could add: hot sauce, sliced or smashed avocado; sour cream or Greek yogurt; black or pinto beans; shaved or pickled jalapeños; or finely diced raw onion.Emma Laperruque

Food52 Review: Featured in: 5-Ingredient Cauliflower Tacos For Tuesdays—and Every DayThe Editors

Makes: 8 tacos
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 20 min


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 8 hard-shell tacos
  • 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
  • 8 dashes hot sauce
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with silicone mats or parchment.
  2. Remove the very bottom of the cauliflower stem, as well as the green leaves. Roughly chop. Add about half to a food processor and pulse until it’s almost riced. Some chunks here and there are good—this is supposed to look like ground beef. Dump onto one lined sheet pan. Process the remaining cauliflower florets and add to the sheet pan. (Psst: Don’t try to process in one batch! It’s too much volume and will chop unevenly.) Add the olive oil, chili powder, and salt to the cauliflower. Toss. Divide this mixture between the two sheet trays. (Spreading the cauliflower out this much helps it brown, not steam.) Roast for about 20 minutes—rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back halfway through.
  3. When the cauliflower is done, remove from the oven and add the hard-shell tacos—either directly on the oven rack or onto another sheet pan—to toast for a couple minutes, until warm.
  4. Assemble the tacos in the following order: shell, cauliflower, lettuce, cheese, hot sauce.

More Great Recipes:
Taco|American|Cauliflower|Lettuce|Sheet Pan|Roast|Vegetarian|Dinner

Reviews (6) Questions (1)

6 Reviews

BoulderGalinTokyo August 5, 2018
HaHaHa This is one of those recipes, "I'll give it a try, but I don't think it'll be that great..." But it WAS GREAT! Next day made tacos with refried beans and salsa on the cauliflower, cheese and lettuce and some avocado... Thank you for proving me wrong!
Author Comment
Emma L. August 5, 2018
So happy to hear that! And YUM to all the wonderful toppings on those next-day tacos!
Pamela July 22, 2018
This is such a great idea, and a very satisfying meat substitute. Next time I might add some chopped cashews and cumin and see how that is.
Author Comment
Emma L. July 26, 2018
Mmmm, love the idea of adding cashews!
KLD1967 July 18, 2018
I made the cauliflower last night but instead of using it in tacos, it became the base for my "taco" bowl for lunch today. Pretty tasty. I cheated and bought a bag of cauliflower rice from Trader Joe's and it worked pretty well. Will try this again for sure.
FrugalCat May 3, 2018
I used the frozen riced cauliflower(Green Giant or Birdseye, but Trader Joes and Whole Foods has it too). I put more stuff in the tacos (sour cream, salsa, guac) and they were great.