Mexican Cauliflower (Recipe)

Friday, February 19, 2016

In this recipe, roasted cauliflower gets Tex-Mex treatment for huge flavor and texture that makes a deliciously healthy side—and it’s terrific stuffed into tacos!

Mexican Cauliflower and PeppersAh, roasted cauliflower. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Cauliflower in three colors, a work of edible art? Check. Sicilian style? Check. Smashed? Check. Indian curried? Check. Soup? Quadruple check: simple roasted, artichoke and leek, broccoli, and pesto parmigiana.

And I’ve even created a Super Bowl version where I drenched cauliflower with buffalo sauce and served it with blue cheese dressing.

Today, one of my favorite crucifers goes South of the Border when it’s dressed up all pretty with tomatoes, peppers, and pinto beans, a spicy side dish bursting with fiery Mexican flavors. And, no, this wasn’t planned specially for my recent “Bring on the Heat” series, but it certainly fits the bill with its three different varieties of peppers (poblano, jalapeño, and chipotle): watch the quantities as you go, taste often, and make it as hot—or not—as you like!

Mexican Cauliflower


  • 2 medium heads of cauliflower, broken or chopped into chunks (about 10 cups)
  • ~1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 cup poblano pepper, chopped (or a combination of poblano and green bell)
  • 1/2-1 jalapeño, finely minced (discard seeds if you fear heat)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chipotles in adobo (1 of the chopped chipotle, 1 of just the sauce, or more of both if you want it even hotter)
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes, unsalted (about 5 cups chopped; if using fresh you may want to add additional canned tomato sauce)
  • 2/3 cup cooked pinto beans (or more, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup beer (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish


1. Roast the cauliflower. Chop the crucifer and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in a hot oven as directed here.

Roasted Cauliflower | PKWay

2. Sauté the vegetables and aromatics. While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the oil over medium and cook the onion and peppers until softened, about 6 minutes. Mix in the garlic, seasonings, and salt until fragrant, about 45 seconds.

Mexican Cauliflower Veggies

3. Stir in tomatoes and beans.Pour in the canned tomatoes and beans and mix to combine, taking care not to crush the beans, then stir in the lime juice and beer. Simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. (Note that if you are using fresh tomatoes you will need to allow an extra 20 minutes or so for the raw tomatoes to cook and break down.)

Mexican Cauliflower Tomatoes

4. Stir the cauliflower and cilantro into the tomato mixture until everything comes together. Taste and reseason with salt, pepper, spices, and chipotles as desired.

Mexican Cauliflower | PKWay

5. Serve and enjoy, perhaps with a scatter of cilantro (fresh coriander) to brighten the dish and make the colors pop.

Mexican Cauliflower | PK Newby

This blog post is dedicated to my faithful and fabulous Facebook fans, many of whom begged for the recipe after drooling over my dinner last weekend. If you’re not a fan already, I’d love it if you gave my page a like here to stay in the loop on all things food, nutrition, and sustainable eating.

I hope you all enjoy this incredibly tasty recipe, and do stay posted for how I put this spicy side dish to work in some inspired leftovers.

Like, say, cauliflower tacos and hearty Mexican vegetable soup

Chile Peppers Bounty | PKWay

This article was originally published in 2015 but I was forced to delete it due to relentless spam. It’s one of my most popular recipes, so I hope you enjoy it here again!


Dr. P.K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Healthy Hedonism (TM) is her philosophy: Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

Copyright © 2011-2020 P.K. Newby. All Rights Reserved.

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