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Crispy Spicy Cauliflower Tacos with Jicama-Carrot Slaw

Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Jicama-Carrot Slaw

Nisha Vora
These Crispy Spicy Vegan Cauliflower Tacos are so flavorful that no one will miss the meat! Made with crispy baked cauliflower coated in a buttery hot sauce, a cooling jicama-carrot slaw, and a delicious cilantro crema. Vegan, nut-free, soy-free, and easy to make gluten-free.
4.99 from 68 votes
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Mexican-inspired, New American
Servings 4 to 6 servings
Calories 498 kcal

Ingredients
  

Ingredients (Tacos)

  • Crispy Spicy Cauliflower (recipe below)
  • Jicama-Carrot Slaw (recipe below)
  • Cilantro Crema (recipe below)
  • Soft corn tortillas for serving

Crispy Spicy Cauliflower

  • 1 medium cauliflower head
  • 3/4 cup (90g) all-purpose flour (for gluten-free, use white rice flour or all-purpose gluten-free flour)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) unsweetened nondairy milk, such as cashew milk, oat milk, or almond milk (use oat milk to keep nut-free)
  • 2 cups (120-130g) panko bread crumbs (for gluten-free, use gluten-free panko)
  • 4-6 tablespoons hot sauce of choice (I use Cholula; tailor the amount based on (1 how spicy your hot sauce is and (2) your own spice tolerance)
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter (use soy-free vegan butter to keep soy-free)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or any sugar/sweetener)

Jicama-Carrot Slaw

  • 2 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound jicama
  • 3 medium carrots, grated (or you can buy pre-shredded carrots)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, slivered
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, de-seeded and minced (keep the seeds only if you love spicy food, as the cauliflower is quite spicy)
  • 3 Medjool dates, finely chopped (can substitute with a swirl of maple or agave syrup)

Cilantro Crema

  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) water, more to thin as needed
  • 1 cup (130g) hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts)
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 heaping cup (15g) fresh cilantro leaves (leaves only, not stems - they can be bitter)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped (remove seeds for mild version, or use 2 peppers for a spicy version)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional but adds a nice richness)

Instructions
 

Directions (Tacos)

  • Optional. Heat the tortillas over an open flame (I place them directly on the burner of my gas stove) and use tongs to ip them after 30 to 45 seconds or when small brown spots appear, and cook for another 15 to 30 seconds. Stack them in a clean kitchen towel or in foil to keep them warm.
  • To assemble. Top each tortilla with a few pieces of the Crispy Spicy Cauliflower, top with a few spoons of the Jicama-Carrot Slaw, then drizzle some Cilantro Crema on top.

Directions (Crispy Spicy Cauliflower)

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F/218°C. Line 1 or 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper (you might only need 1 if your cauliflower is small).
  • Cut the cauliflower into small florets. For cutting technique, watch the video above at starting at the 4:40 mark. Place the florets in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, and smoked paprika to combine. Pour in the nondairy milk and whisk until no large clumps remain. Pour the batter over the cauliflower florets, tossing with your hands to coat each piece.
  • Place the panko bread crumbs in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Working in batches, dip the battered cauliflower in the panko and toss to coat, ensuring each floret gets a decent amount of breadcrumbs on it.
  • Spread out the coated cauliflower florets on the lined baking sheets, allowing space so that they don’t touch. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the hot sauce. Add the vegan butter, hot sauce, and coconut sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together, just until the butter is melted, then take off the heat. Or melt the ingredients together in the microwave.
  • After the 20 minutes is up, take the cauliflower out of the oven. Drizzle the hot sauce mixture on top of the florets, and toss to coat using your hands or a pastry brush. Return the baking sheets to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is deeply golden brown in some spots and tender when pierced with a fork.

Directions (Jicama-Carrot Slaw)

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Peel the jicama. Slice the jicama into round slices, then cut into thin strips. For a visual on how to do this, watch the video.
  • Place the jicama slices, shredded carrots, cilantro, mint, jalapeño, and chopped dates in a large bowl. Pour the lime dressing on top and toss well to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Directions (Cilantro Crema)

  • Pour the water into a high-powered blender. Add in the remaining crema ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as you go. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt or lime juice as needed.