Celebrate Vegan Taco Tuesday with these off the chain sweet & spicy sriracha cauliflower tacos. Topped with a homemade vegan ranch dressing, the perfectly-spiced crispy oven-fried cauliflower are addictive and make amazing tacos!
Who loves tacos! It’s Vegan Taco Tuesday, and I’m raising both hands to the roof, because today’s taco recipe is as fun to make as it is to eat. Cauliflower baked up crispy in a lightly seasoned batter, tossed with sriracha and then stuffed into tacos with a homemade vegan ranch dressing: holla!
These oven-baked crispy cauliflower bites are so much more enjoyable to make, I think, than anything that’s oil-fried. Oil frying is a such a pain: heating the oil, monitoring the temperature, cooking in small batches (takes forever), and then dealing with the oil at the end of it.
Instead, you can bake up your sriracha cauliflower taco bites on one baking sheet and be done with it. (And I also give tips in the recipe for coating the cauliflower in big batches, to speed things up)
Even this kids can help here, because there are no raw eggs in the batter, no splattery hot oil. Just vegan, non-dairy goodness that’s good for the heart, soul … and tummy.
Buffalo bites are often doused in hot sauce. But, I would suggest that by using a light hand with the rooster sauce, all of the flavors built into these sweet and spicy sriracha cauliflower tacos shine through, from the crispy cauliflower bites to the corn-y tortillas to the crunchy cabbage to the rich vegan ranch dressing.
Also, by just using a kiss of the sweet and spicy sriracha sauce, the cauliflower bites can keep their crispy outer coating.
But, it’s totally your choice. I love crispy bites; you might love saucy bites (…make more sauce, mmm). It’s all good!
The ranch dressing is not just a pretty topping here. Creamy fat (like this awesome, cashew-based vegan ranch dressing) provides a cooling counterpoint to the spicy heat of sriracha.
It’s the perfect flavor pairing, really: a refreshing, herby dressing with the earthy bite of sriracha sauce. It’s love at first crunch!
Happy Vegan Taco Tuesday, Veggie Friends! My favorite dinner celebration of the week!
Stay tuned for more taco recipes, coming soon to a Tuesday near you. 😀
- 1 cup vegan ranch dressing, made ahead (recipe below)
- 1 head cauliflower cut into single-bite florets
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/2 all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons sriracha
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 12 corn tortillas
- shredded cabbage
Make the ranch dressing ahead of time, and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 425°F, with the the racks arranged on the lower and upper thirds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat (you can use foil, but do coat it with non-stick spray)
Flour: Place the 1 cup of flour into a large bowl.
Batter: In another bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk, flour, and seasonings until smooth.
Breadcrumbs: In a third bowl, toss together the panko breadcrumbs and seasonings.
Add cauliflower florets in batches to the bowl with the flour and toss gently until coated.
Move the florets to the batter bowl, and gently stir to coat (see the Notes section for Tips on minimizing the hands-on mess!)
Shake of the excess batter from the florets, and add the florets to the breadcrumbs, tossing to coat.
Transfer the coated florets to the sheet pan in a single layer, leaving a little bit of room in between (so they'll roast rather than steam).
If you need to use two sheet pans, that's no problem as long as your oven accommodates two sheet pans at once.
Place the baking sheet on the lower rack and roast for 20 to 25 minutes. The florets should be a medium golden brown with a crispy exterior.
Remove and let cool down for a few minutes. Switch the oven heat to broil .
While the cauliflower cooks, whisk together all sauce ingredients in a large bowl until combined (see Notes for sauce tips). Carefully pour the florets into the sauce bowl. Use a large spoon to gently fold the florets into the sauce, until all pieces are coated.
Return to the florets to the lined sheet pan, and place under the broiler on the lower rack (yes, the lower rack). Let the sauce-coated florets reheat for 3 to 4 minutes, watching carefully to make sure they don't singe. Remove from oven and let rest.
Heat the tortillas according to package directions. (I prefer the microwave technique for a softer, more flexible shell.)
Line the tacos with shredded cabbage, then 3 to 5 florets. Finally, spoon the ranch dressing over the top, and enjoy!
- Tips: To minimize the mess, use large mixing bowls for the batter and panko crumbs. Drop a handful of flour-coated florets into the batter bowl, and use an Asian spider strainer/skimmer to scoop and turn the florets, coating them in the batter. Then, pick up a cluster of florets in the strainer and shake them over the bowl to drain off the batter. Then drop them into the panko bowl. Coat the florets with the panko crumbs by using the saute motion that chefs use with skillets (kind of a jerk-and-toss). If you're new to this hold the bowl over the prepared the baking sheet to catch any flyaway crumbs.
- Sauce tip: the amount of sauce created in this recipe is enough to thoroughly coat the florets, without drowning them in it. I prefer it this way for a couple of reasons: (1) putting them back under the broilers lets them firm up a bit, since they're not mired in liquids, and (2) it creates a better balance (imo) of sauce to crispy cauliflower to ranch dressing to tortilla. But if you love your crispy bites coated generously with saucy sauce, just double the sauce recipe for the same amount of cauliflower.