Cauliflower Tacos al Pastor

These vegetarian tacos pack all the savory, smoky flavor and pineapple tang of the traditional classic.  

Cauliflower Tacos al Pastor
Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins

Traditionally, tacos al pastor are made from thin slices of marinated pork and pineapple that roast on a rotating spit and then are shaved off into thin slices. But now, you can experience a cauliflower version of this Mexico City favorite right in your kitchen. Fragrant orange zest, smoky chipotle chiles, garlic, and honey make up the flavorful marinade that coats the cauliflower florets, while annatto, a paste made from achiote seed, give them their vibrant color. Tossed and roasted alongside pineapple and onion, it's a major hit. A zesty avocado salsa drizzled on top brings just the right amount of brightness to these crave-worthy cauliflower tacos.


  • ¼ cup achiote (annatto) paste (such as Goya), crumbled

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest plus 1/2 cup fresh juice (from 2 oranges)

  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely grated (preferably on a Microplane)

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 10 cups)

  • 2 cups 1-in. pineapple chunks (8 oz.)

  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 avocado, halved

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 2 or 3 limes)

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh chives

  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed

  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F with racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Smash achiote paste and oil together with a fork in a large bowl until almost smooth. Whisk orange zest and juice, chiles, garlic, honey, and 2 teaspoons salt into achiote-oil mixture until a thick sauce forms. Toss cauliflower, pineapple, and onion in sauce to coat.

  3. Divide coated mixture among prepared baking sheets. Roast, tossing occasionally and swapping baking sheets halfway through cooking time, until cauliflower is tender and edges are dark and caramelized, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

  4. Meanwhile, combine avocado, lime juice, 1⁄4 cup water, chives, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a blender. Process on medium-low until salsa is smooth, about 20 seconds. Make tacos with cauliflower mixture, tortillas, salsa, and cilantro.

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