You can make the buffalo cauliflower for these tacos in the air fryer or bake it in the oven. Either way, this recipe is pretty quick and extremely easy to make. Let's do this.
Preparing the cauliflower
Start by getting the cauliflower into the oven or the air fryer. While that cooks, you have plenty of time to make the garlic cashew crema and prep the rest of the taco ingredients.
To save time on this recipe, I like to buy bagged, pre-cut, fresh cauliflower florets. Do not use frozen cauliflower for this recipe. The extra liquid will ruin it.
If you're starting with a whole head of cauliflower, that's fine, too. Just cut it into florets about the size of two side-by-side baby carrots.
After you cut the cauliflower, melt some vegan butter in a mug in the microwave. The mug is key here, because it doesn't take much sauce to coat the cauliflower, and a mug's narrot bottom and high sides make that possible.
Whisk vegan buffalo sauce into the melted butter, and mix panko and salt together in a shallow bowl. Dip the cauliflower florets, one at a time, in the buffalo sauce mixture, then dredge them in the panko.
After you dip the floret in the sauce but before you dredge it, make sure you hold the floret over the cup until it stops dripping. Too much excess sauce will make your panko clumpy, which will make it hard to coat those last few florets.
Arrange the breaded cauliflower on a lined baking sheet or place them into your air fryer basket, and cook until they begin to brown.
Making the garlic crema
While the cauliflower cooks, you have plenty of time to make the garlic cashew crema! Soak your cashews in hot water for 10-15 minutes, then drain them.
Next, add the soaked cashews with fresh water, garlic, and lemon juice to your blender. Puree until you have a totally smooth mixture.
I know that most cashew cream recipes tell you that you need raw cashews, but guess what I've discovered!
You don't really need raw cashews to get a smooth cashew cream, especially if you have a high speed blender. So, if you can't find raw, roasted is fine. If you are using roasted cashews, go for the 15-minute soaking time.
Either way, just keep blending until the mixture is totally smooth. If you have to blend for more than 1 minute to get a totally smooth mix, just be sure to give your blender's motor a minute or two to rest before blending more.
Putting it all together
Got that cashew crema ready? Is the cauliflower done cooking? Let's make some tacos, y'all!
Divide the cauliflower between 8 small flour tortillas (whole wheat is fine, if you prefer). Drizzle some of the cashew crema on top of each one. Then, top each taco with some sliced avocado and fresh cilantro.
Serve with lime wedges on the side, for some extra zest!
How to store and reheat
This recipe probably makes more cashew crema than you'll need, and that's fine! It will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Use the leftovers anywhere you'd use vegan mayo or sour cream. It's lovely in vegan chili or even as a salad dressing!
If you have leftover cauliflower, it will keep for 3-5 days in an airtight container. To reheat the cauliflower, air fry for 5 minutes at 350° F or bake at 350° F for 10 minutes.
I do not recommend reheating your buffalo cauliflower in the microwave, because it will be mushy. And no one wants that!
Cauliflower tacos recipe
For the cauliflower
- 4 cups cauliflower florets - Each one should be approx. the size of two baby carrots, if you put the baby carrots side-by-side.
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs mixed with 1 teaspoon sea salt - I would not use regular salt here. Sea salt grains are bigger, and they add a little extra crunch to the breading.
- ¼ cup melted vegan butter - ¼ cup after melting
- ¼ cup vegan Buffalo sauce - Check the ingredients for butter. I used Frank's Red Hot
For the garlic cashew crema
- 1 cup cashews - soaked in hot water for 10-15 minutes, then drained (see note)
- ½ cup water - NOT the soaking water
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- salt and pepper - to taste
For the tacos
- 8 small flour tortillas - whole wheat is also fine
- 1 Haas avocado - sliced
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 lime - cut into 8 wedges
Make the cauliflower
- Melt the vegan butter in a mug in the microwave, then whisk in the buffalo sauce.
- Holding by the stem, dip each floret in the butter/buffalo sauce mixture, getting most of the floret coated in sauce. It's fine if a bit of the stem doesn't get saucy. Hold the floret over the mug until it pretty much stops dripping. A few drips are OK, but if it's raining sauce, your panko is going to get clumpy and stop sticking as well.
- To Air Fry: Dredge the dipped floret in the panko/salt mixture, coating as much as you like, then place in the air fryer. No need to worry about a single layer. Just place it in there. Air fry at 350° F (do not preheat) for 14-17 minutes, shaking gently a few times (see note), and checking their progress when you shake. Your cauliflower is done when the florets are a little bit browned.
- To Bake: Dredge the dipped floret in the panko/salt mixture, coating as much as you like. Arrange the coated florets in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375° F for 30-35 minutes, until the coating browns slightly.
Make the cashew crema
- Combine all of the cashew crema ingredients in your blender, and puree until smooth. If you have to blend for more than 1 minute to get a totally smooth mix, be sure to give your blender's motor a minute or two to rest before blending more. Don't stop blending until you have a completely smooth cashew crema, and don't give up! Just keep on blending, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed, until you achieve the creamy texture you're going for.
- Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
Assemble the tacos
- Divide the cauliflower and avocado between your 8 tortillas, then drizzle a tablespoon or two of cashew crema onto each one. Top each taco with a tablespoon of chopped cilantro. Serve with the lime wedges on the side.
- About the recipe time: The cook time assumes that you're using the air fryer and buying pre-cut cauliflower. For a whole head of cauliflower, add 5-10 minutes to the prep time. If you are making these in the oven, the cook time will go up to 30 minutes, for a total recipe time of 40 minutes.