These vegetarian Cauliflower al Pastor Bowls feature deconstructed pastor tacos served over brown rice. Cooked cauliflower is tossed in a sweet and spicy pastor sauce and served with pineapple, cilantro, and cotija cheese.
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My husband Will is a taco aficionado. Seriously, you name a taco, and he’s probably tried it. So, naturally, he’s the one who introduced me to tacos al pastor.
These delicious tacos are stuffed with pineapple pieces and pork that’s been marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce made from pineapple, vinegar, chipotle peppers, and other seasonings.
Then they’re served with onion, cilantro, and cotija, a hard Mexican cheese that tastes similar to Parmesan. YUM, right?
Since we both absolutely love these tacos, Will thought it might be fun to do a veggie-based version for the blog! I instantly agreed, and soon enough I settled on cauliflower, which can be flavored with just about anything, to be the star of this dish.
Ingredients in Cauliflower al Pastor Bowls
Unlike traditional pineapple and pork tacos, this is a completely vegetarian al pastor recipe. To make the al pastor sauce, I used:
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – If you aren’t familiar with these, clicking that link will show you the brand that I used. You can find this brand or a similar one in the ethnic section of pretty much any large grocery store. These peppers are spicy, so you can increase or decrease the number that you use depending on how spicy you want these bowls to be!
- White vinegar
- Chopped pineapple – I used fresh pineapple but you can also use canned pineapple that’s chopped or crushed, or pineapple juice.
- Oregano, paprika, and garlic
How to Make Cauliflower al Pastor Bowls
To make the sauce, simply blend all of the ingredients together until you get a smooth sauce.
To prepare the cauliflower taco filling, slice a head of cauliflower into florets. Sauté them with chopped red onion and olive oil for ~15 minutes over medium heat, or until the cauliflower is tender.
Add the sauce to the skillet and mix it over the cauliflower florets until they are coated. Cook for a few minutes. Then, prepare the bowls by dishing out some of the cauliflower and adding chopped pineapple, cotija cheese, brown rice, and cilantro to each dish.
These bowls are perfect for a quick dinner. They can also be prepped in advance and divided into containers to bring to work for lunch. If you don’t want to serve them as “deconstructed” tacos over rice, you can serve the fillings in tortillas instead.
Whatever you do, you can’t go wrong! Seriously, I couldn’t stop eating this recipe, and was so disappointed when we ran out of our stash in the fridge!
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Cauliflower al Pastor Bowls
For the bowls:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 head cauliflower - chopped into florets
- ½ red onion - diced
- 2 cups pineapple - chopped, can sub canned
- 2 cups brown rice - cooked
- 1 cup cotija cheese - crumbled
- Cilantro - for serving
- If you need to prep the brown rice, do that before you make the rest of the recipe. Use quick rice or microwaveable frozen brown rice to save time.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower florets and red onion and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 15-18 minutes.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the sauce by combining the garlic, chipotle peppers in adobo, white vinegar, pineapple, oregano, and paprika in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Once the cauliflower is tender, add the sauce to the skillet and mix well until the florets are coated. Cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- Prepare the bowls by adding ¼ of the cooked cauliflower, ½ cup chopped pineapple, ½ cup brown rice, and ¼ cup cheese to each bowl. Serve with fresh cilantro to taste. Enjoy!
- These bowls can keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, and are a great lunch option.
- To increase the protein content, add black beans or another type of legume or shredded chicken.