Last week I told you about our favorite quarantine cookies. This is our quarantine taco, another simple discovery from our early Inside Days this spring that ticked a miraculous number of boxes at once. Like, “How do we turn this massive head of cauliflower into dinner because it’s too big for our overstuffed fridge?” and “without having to go to the store and buy anything extra?” It used so many ingredients that had become staples — canned beans, cotija (great fridge shelf life), red onions, tortillas, and a small luxury of an avocado delivery service we discovered right when we needed it most. Plus, it managed to work for the whole family, including our pickiest, who we discovered liked roasted cauliflower and also pickled onions, we suspect because they’re pink.
I’m lousy at meal planning because I’m not the kind of cook who ever wants to make the same dish every single week. I want to make something new that I thought of five minutes ago, not what I thought last Saturday I’d be craving on Wednesday night. But there is some magic in this combination of ingredients — scorched, highly seasoned cauliflower in a medium rubble, lime juice, creamy avocado, salty cotija, crunchy pickled onions, and the most delicious hot sauce (current favorite: Valentina) that I have still (still! over six months later!) yet to tire of eating so now we get a head of cauliflower every week and confidently know it will not go to waste.
I realize this site already has a fair share of tacos (and even a cauliflower quesadilla) but I definitely don’t need to tell you that tacos — small packets, complex ingredients, vibrant finishes, always the right balance of filling but not food coma-inducing — are the perfect food, right? And with that, I’m off to make another batch of these tonight.
6 months ago: Crispy Crumbled Potatoes
1 year ago: Chickpea and Kale Shakshuka
2 year ago: Crispy Spinach Pizza
3 years ago: Pizza Beans and Chocolate Tahini Challah Buns
4 years ago: Homemade Merguez with Herby Yogurt and Magic Apple Plum Cobbler
5 years ago: The Perfect Manhattan, Broccoli Cheddar Soup and S’more Cupcakes
6 years ago: Latke Waffles and The Crispy Egg
7 years ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
8 years ago: Crackly Banana Bread and Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto
9 years ago: Apple Pie Cookies
10 years ago: Single-Crust Apple and Crumb Pie
11 years ago: Date Spice Loaf and Lebanese-Style Stuffed Eggplant
12 years ago: Summer’s Last Hurrah Panzanella, Sweet and Sour Glazed Cippoline, Majestic and Moist Honey Cake, and Best Challah (Egg Bread)
13 years ago: Red Velvet Cake, Noodle Kugel, Spaghetti Fideos with Chorizo and Almonds and Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers
14 years ago: Acorn Squash with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette
Simple Cauliflower Tacos
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large (3 pounds) head cauliflower, trimmed, chopped small, including core
- Red pepper flakes
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 lime, halved
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 12 small (4 to 5-inch) or 8 medium (7-inch) corn or flour tortillas
- 1/2 to 1 avocado, thinly sliced (to taste)
- 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Hot sauce and/or pickled jalapeños
Pickle onion: Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl. Add onion and toss to coat. Set aside until needed.
Coat large baking sheet with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add cauliflower to pan, sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, red pepper flakes (to taste), and cumin and toss to coat, adding another tablespoon of oil if needed. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing pieces at the 15 minute mark so they take on a deep brown crisp on as many sides as possible. Remove from oven and immediately squeeze the juice from half a lime over the tray. Add black beans to pan, so they warm a bit before serving.
Meanwhile, heat your tortillas. Wrap them tightly in foil and place the packet in the oven for 5 minutes. For more color and texture, sometimes I char them first on the gas flame on the stove, or blister them in a dry pan. Keep them warm in a covered dish until ready to assemble.
To assemble tacos, scoop cauliflower-bean mixture onto a warmed tortilla. Add avocado, pickled red onion, cotija, cilantro, and hot sauce to taste. Serve with remaining lime half in wedges. Eat right away.