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
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with silicone mats or parchment.
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.
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.
Assemble the tacos in the following order: shell, cauliflower, lettuce, cheese, hot sauce.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.