There's a great taco place in Austin called Papalote that won an award for it's cauliflower tortas. I've never tried them- I always opt for meatier fare (turkey mole! tinga de res!), but when I saw a big cauliflower at the farmers' market, I knew I wanted to turn it into tortas. The cauliflower was roasted with spices until it was speckled with crispy golden brown tips, then piled on a warm bolillo with refried beans, shredded cabbage (for crunch), cotija, avocado, and a peppy little creamy tomatillo salsa. What's not to love?


1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup refried beans
2-3 ounces crumbled cotija
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1 avocado, sliced thinly
creamy tomatillo salsa (recipe follows)
5-6 tomatillos, peeled, rinsed, and halved
1/2 white onion, peeled and halved again
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 poblano pepper, halved, stem and seeds removed
1 jalapeno pepper, halved, stem and seeds removed
juice of half a lime
handful of cilantro
kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream


Step 1
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Crush the cumin and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle and toss with the cauliflower, olive oil, smoked salt, and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes. Stir a bit, and roast for 10-15 minutes more, or until the cauliflower is good and caramelized, with lots of crunchy bits.

Step 2
While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the refried beans in a small skillet. Slice the bolillos open and toss in the still warm oven to toast up for a minute or two.

Step 3
Spread the bottom half of the bolillo with a thin layer of refried beans. Top with a pile of your crispy roasted cauliflower. Garnish with the crumbled cotija, shredded cabbage, sliced avocado, and plenty of the creamy tomatillo salsa. Enjoy!

Step 4
Preheat the broiler. Place the tomatillos, onion wedges, garlic, poblano, and jalapeno on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Broil, rotating the sheet pan as necessary, until everything is uniformly charred.

Step 5
Move the poblano and jalapeno from the sheet pan to the jar of a blender and place the top on. Allow the peppers to steam in the blender jar for 10 minutes or so. Then, transfer the peppers to a cutting board and remove the charred skins. Chop the roasted peppers and transfer back to the blender, along with the charred tomatillos, onions, and garlic. Add the juice of half a lime, a handful of cilantro, and a couple healthy pinches of kosher salt. Blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and blend again. Taste for seasoning, adding more lime juice or salt if necessary.