Roasted Cauliflower Tacos With Pickled Onions and Mint-Cilantro Chutney

Roasted cauliflower tacos.

Roasted cauliflower tacos. All photos by Natasha Sisodiya.

by Natasha Sisodiya

When I used to think of tacos, I pictured chicken, steak, pork, beans, cheese, sour cream and salsa. Well, my concept of a taco has changed. Don’t get me wrong; I still love that old version. But ever since I changed my eating habits to manage my autoimmune illness symptoms, I’ve had to get creative in the kitchen — several food groups were eliminated from my eating regimen.

This week I’m sharing my recipe for roasted cauliflower tacos with an Indian twist. I add pickled onions for a tangy crunch, a spicy mint-cilantro-green apple chutney for a flavor blast and sliced avocado for creaminess. This recipe is simple and quick if you are able to prepare the pickled onions and chutney in advance. These two condiments are so versatile and yum that I usually prepare a big batch that I can use over a couple of weeks.

Chutneys and pickles are staples at any Indian meal. In our household, when my mom cooked Indian food, there was always a side of pickled onions and a green chutney. I have fond memories of eating nothing but piping hot basmati rice topped with the onions, green chutney and a dollop of yogurt.

The pickled onions are so easy to make and can be used on many dishes — salad, grilled meat and veggies and even on curries. I sometimes add green chili and black pepper for extra kick. If you crave some sweetness, add a little sugar. If you store it in a tightly sealed mason jar in the fridge, the mix can be good for up to two weeks. I like to let them sit for four to six hours before using, since the flavor improves, but they taste great even after an hour. If you don’t like onions, omit them from the recipe.

Onions waiting to be pickled.

The chutney recipe below is one my mom shared with me. If you want a sweeter flavor, you can add plums in place of the apple. As you make it, taste it and add more lemon, oil or salt as needed to get the desired flavor and texture. Once again, if you like a hint of sweetness, add some sugar or honey. This can also last for two weeks if you place in a tightly sealed mason jar.

Mint-cilantro chutney.

I have used this chutney as a salad dressing by adding more oil and have also used as a dip by adding some Greek yogurt to it. I absolutely love the flavors of mint and cilantro. If you can’t do spicy, leave out the serrano chili. I’m all about options, so If you don’t like mint and cilantro, harissa goes really well on these tacos. Most stores carry the Mina brand. It also tastes great with a spoonful of yogurt!

Now, let’s talk about cauliflower: as a kid, I hated this vegetable. Anytime my mom was cooking it, I would say, “Ewwww what’s that smell??” My kids do the same thing — but once it’s cooked, they enjoy it. I have grown to love cauliflower, and roasting it is one of my favorite ways to prepare it. It’s quick, healthy and the vegetables are crispy on the outside, which I love. You can literally toss any vegetables in some cooking grease, add your favorite spices and you’ve got a meal with a side of quinoa, rice, pasta or your favorite protein. When roasting the cauliflower, I keep an eye on it to make sure it does not burn. When it is close to done, I broil it for three to five minutes to get the extra browned crispiness.

Roasted cauliflower.

If you have leftover roasted cauliflower, I love to pan fry a corn tortilla, top it with the cauliflower and a fried egg with a side of the onions, chutney and avocado for breakfast. Why not?

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos 

Gluten Free | Vegan (if no yogurt mixed into chutney)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 70 minutes

Servings: 4-6

 

Ingredients:

For Pickled Onions:

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup white wine vinegar

1 tsp. salt

 

Lemons, apples, mint, cilantro and serrano chile.

For Mint-Cilantro-Green Apple Chutney:

4 cups fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

2 cups fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (some stems are fine, but too many may give a grassy flavor)

2 granny smith apples, roughly chopped

1 serrano chili, roughly chopped and seeds removed

1-2 tsp. salt (depending upon taste)

2 tsp. olive oil

Juice of 1-2 lemons (depending upon taste)

 

For Roasted Cauliflower Tacos:

1 cauliflower, chopped into small florets

4 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. cumin powder

2 tsp. sumac powder

¼ tsp. turmeric powder

1-2 tsp. salt (to taste)

⅛ tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 avocado, sliced

corn or flour tortillas

Greek yogurt to taste

 

Method:

For Pickled Onions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Place in a tightly sealed mason jar in the fridge for four to six hours — or at least an hour.
  3. If onions are not fully submerged, shake container a few times while it’s in the fridge.

 

For Mint-Cilantro-Green Apple Chutney:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process to your desired consistency.
  2. Store in a tightly sealed mason jar in the fridge.

 

For Roasted Cauliflower Tacos:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place cauliflower, olive oil, cumin, sumac, turmeric, black pepper and salt in a large bowl and coat and mix well.
  3. Place on foil lined pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through and browned and crisped on the outside.
  4. Broil for 3-5 minutes if you like your cauliflower extra browned and crispy.
  5. When ready to serve, place tortillas on a plate, add the roasted cauliflower and top with the pickled onions, avocado and chutney.

Cauliflower tacos.

 

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