Cauliflower-Jalapeño Tacos with Pepita Salsa

These satisfying vegan tacos bring the heat.

Photo: Roberto Caruso

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Tacos, traditionally, are filled with an array of different kinds of animal-based proteins. But the taco is endlessly customizable, and you can skip the beef, pork, chicken, or other meat in favor of vegetarian and vegan ingredients. Tempeh, tofu, fruits and veggies; it’s all at your disposal. One of the best taco fillings, in our opinion? Cauliflower. And once you try these plant-based, meat-free Cauliflower-Jalapeño Tacos with Pepita Salsa, you’re going to be a fan, too.

To top off these tacos, we’ve created a new spin on salsa – one that’s more pesto-like. This herbaceous salsa is made with cilantro and pumpkin seeds, and it brightens the roasted cauliflower and jalapeños in these satisfying vegan tacos. However, you can change up the toppings and add your favorite salsa, slaw, guacamole, or really any flavor-booster at all. From fresh herbs to homemade sauces, you can turn these Cauliflower-Jalapeño Tacos into a variety of different flavor combos, from season to season or to meet whatever plant-based ingredients you’ve been craving.

If you love these cauliflower tacos after making the recipe, try these similar recipes to switch up your taco game:

Cauliflower-Jalapeño Tacos with Pepita Salsa

Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
50 min


  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets (about 6½ cups)
  • 4 tbsp avocado oil, divided
  • ¾ tsp salt, divided
  • 1 medium jalapeño, thinly sliced, seeds removed if desired
  • 1 small lime, scrubbed and dried
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ tsp ancho chile powder
  • ⅛ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp agave


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a large-rimmed baking sheet in the oven as it preheats.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower with 3 tablespoons of the oil and ½ teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Set the bowl with residual oil aside.
  3. Spread cauliflower in a single layer on the hot baking sheet and roast until tender and golden, 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Add the jalapeño to the bowl with the residual oil and salt; toss. Stir the cauliflower halfway through roasting and add the jalapeño slices.
  4. Grate ½ teaspoon zest off the lime, then halve the lime and squeeze 1½ tablespoons juice. In a small food processor, combine zest and juice, the remaining 1
    tablespoon oil, the cilantro, pumpkin seeds, chile powder, paprika, agave and leftover pinch of salt. Pulse until a coarse paste forms. (Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle, or finely chop all of the dry ingredients together on a cutting board, transfer to a bowl and stir in the juice and oil.)
  5. Transfer the cilantro mixture to a large bowl. Add the hot cauliflower, toss and serve.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size ¼ of recipe
  • Calories 214
  • Carbohydrate Content 11 g
  • Cholesterol Content 0 mg
  • Fat Content 18 g
  • Fiber Content 4 g
  • Protein Content 6 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 2 g
  • Sodium Content 437 mg
  • Sugar Content 4 g