These vegan chorizo breakfast tacos are spicy, savory, warm, filling, and incredibly satisfying. The chorizo itself is made from a combination of grated cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes, and a handful of spices. For real.
Originally, I had planned to make lentil chorizo breakfast tacos, but the idea of swapping lentils for cauliflower popped into my head while I was driving home from work one day. I figured it was a long shot and would likely result in huge flop that I would have to re-work over and over again until I eventually threw in the towel, but it was worth a try.
By some sort of vegan cooking miracle, this cauliflower chorizo came together on the first try, and I about fell over when I tasted it. It has the tender, non-chewy texture of chorizo, and the spices offer a rich, complex, and savory flavor profile just like the real thing.
To make the filling, cauliflower florets are finely grated by hand or in a food processor. Then, sundried tomatoes that have been packed in oil are pulsed into the mixture to add texture and heartiness. A whole bunch o' spices are tossed together in a bowl, and then the cauliflower and sundried tomato mixture gets folded into that spicy goodness. You'll massage the spices into the cauliflower mixture with your hands, and I'll be completely honest: it resembles raw ground meat in terms of texture and look (see below). Both strange and fascinating at the same time.
After you've mixed the spices in, you'll heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet and add the mixture into the pan. You'll cook the "chorizo" for 30-35 minutes until it's crumbly and browned. Much of the liquid will cook out of the crumbles, but you want to maintain some moisture. Rather than a chewy or crunchy texture, you'll be left with moist -- again, this word makes me anxious -- crumbles that are full of flavor.
To serve these tasty breakfast tacos, you'll scoop the cauli-rizo into warm corn tortillas and top with a bit of onion, avocado, hemp seed sour cream, cilantro leaves, and a spritz of fresh lime juice.
I can't quite get over these breakfast tacos. They're my new favorite Sunday brunch food, and I'm in love with the layers of spices in the cauli-rizo.
These tacos take the word "satisfying" to a whole new level. Yum.
Vegan Chorizo Breakfast Tacos | Made with Cauliflower
For the Cauliflower Chorizo
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
- ½ cup packed sun-dried tomatoes (in oil)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Hemp Seed Sour Cream
- ½ cup hemp hearts
- ⅓ cup water
- 2-3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or to taste
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 8 corn tortillas
- ½ white onion, finely diced
- ½ avocado, cubed or sliced
- ⅓ cup cilantro leaves
- 1 lime, sliced into wedges
To Make the Cauliflower Chorizo
- Finely grate the cauliflower florets by hand or using a food processor. If you use a food processor, do NOT use the grater attachment. Instead, add the cauliflower florets to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is finely grated.
- Pack the sundried tomatoes into a measuring cup, press down with your fingers, and drain off excess oil. Add the sundried tomatoes to the food processor and pulse 10-20 times to incorporate.
- Add the paprika, garlic, sea salt, coriander, oregano, cumin, turmeric, thyme, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon to a large mixing bowl. Add the cauliflower mixture to the bowl and use your hands to massage the spices into the mixture.
- Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the cauliflower mixture and cook for 30-35 minutes or until crumbly and browned, stirring every few minutes but more frequently in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. Also, you may need to reduce the heat to medium toward the end of cooking to prevent burning. The "chorizo" is ready once the mixture is crumbly and browned.
To Make the Hemp Sour Cream
- Add the hemp hearts, water, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, and sea salt to a high-powered blender. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Pour into a jar or bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. It will thicken as it cools.
To Assemble the Tacos
- Heat your corn tortillas in a small skillet for 20 seconds on each side to soften.
- Scoop the "chorizo" into the tortillas, top with onion, avocado, cilantro leaves, hemp seed sour cream, and a spritz of fresh lime juice.
- Serve immediately and refrigerate leftovers.
Christine @ Ciao Veggie says
WOW. What an amazing idea! And your photography is just stunning, it gets better and better every time I visit your blog. I will be trying caulirizo in the very near future, there is so much you can do with a good chorizo sub! Have you tried setting it in the fridge in a cheesecloth or something? Perhaps you could make it sliceable and turn it into little tapas bites. So exciting!
Aww!! Thanks so much, Christine! Your sweet words about my photography mean a lot, because I feel like I've been experiencing photography growing pains lately. I tend to get frustrated with the lack of light in the winter, so it forces me to get creative and try different setups. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't!
Also, I haven't tried setting it in cheesecloth yet, but that's a fabulous idea! I've also toyed around with the idea of baking it at a low temp for an extended period of time to dehydrate it a bit. I have so many ideas for this little caulirizo! I hope you enjoy it, and let me know if you try using any different methods!
Christine @ Ciao Veggie says
I'm definitely going to try it the moment I next see a cauliflower in my weekly veg box - and I'll let you know when I do! I am in awe that you are producing such great photography when it's so dark AND you have a full time job! Do you mind me asking if you use any artificial lighting? I am always toying with the idea of buying Lowel Ego lights - but there is such a mix of opinion out there.
Thanks so much, Christine, and I don't mind you asking at all! I've been wanting to play around with artificial lighting, but I actually haven't yet! Right now, I dedicate a full day on the weekend (usually Sunday) to recipe testing and photographing so that I can take advantage of natural light. Even during the daytime in the winter I find myself having to bump up my ISO and use lower aperture and shutter speed to let enough light into my photos though, so it's still a battle. I definitely make use of my tripod a lot more in the winter months, so that can be a helpful purchase (if you don't already have one) if you're significantly reducing shutter speed to let in more light.
I would love to be able to work photography into my weeknights, so I've been seriously considering investing in a lighting kit. I've seen some bloggers (PoY, Minimalist Baker) churn out some fab photos shot with artificial light, so I know it can be done but I still have doubts about my own ability to make it happen! What are your tricks to winter photography? I'm always curious what other bloggers are doing to make it work.
Christine @ Ciao Veggie says
I really think you could do it! PoY has a great tutorial about using the Lowel Ego lights and the camera settings she recommends. It seems very do-able if you know your camera well! Sadly, I haven't managed to develop any good tricks this winter beyond the workflow planning required to get enough photos over the weekend (which is really tricky in itself, but I stashed a few of dinner recipes over the summer so that I can mainly take photos of salads and breakfasts and snacks over the winter, which helps). But in terms of technical camera skills, I've actually gone backwards and started using Auto more and more :(. My kitchen gets maybe 1-2 hours each day of good light- the windows are north facing - so it's a real race against the clock, with no time to experiment. Total fail! I'm going to need to experiment more this summer with all that luxurious daylight so I'm better equipped next year! Bring on April! :)
So smart of you to stash away some dinner recipes over the summer. I should work on creating a backlog of photographed recipes so that I don't have to over-stuff winter weekends with photography. I hear you on the north-facing windows! Our old condo solely had north-facing windows, and I loved how ethereal and pretty the light quality was but it goes by in the blink of an eye. Ironically, we now have east-, west-, and south-facing windows, and I'm missing the north-facing ones. Grass is always greener, right? :)
I thought of you today when I saw that PoY posted (http://pinchofyum.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-food-photography-with-artificial-light) about food photography with artificial light. I think it has me convinced to give it a shot, so I'll keep you posted on how it goes!
And seriously, bring on April! :)
Wow. Now that's... one of the most insane uses for cauliflower I've ever seen, and one of the most appealing. I'm not a massive fan of processed fake meats, but my sister's in love with VBites chorizo, meaning whenever I want to cook something she'll really like, I'll not be very keen on it and often end up making something else for me. This could be a perfect compromise - can't wait to give it a try!
Well, thank you, Shonalika!! I hope this chorizo is the answer to appeasing both your sister's and your tastes with one dish :) Enjoy!
What a great idea! This is a must try. Thanks for such wonderful creativity!
Thanks so much, Robyn! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have been!
Jen and Emily @ Layers of Happiness says
Just stumbled upon your blog and I am obsessed.. you are so cute and your photography is amazing!! These tacos look to die for... I will definitely be trying them out soon. :)
Thank you for these sweet compliments! It means a lot to me! I hope you have a chance to make the tacos -- I'm a bit obsessed with them at the moment :)
Celeste Jackson says
I love the mix of spices and fascinated by the Hemp Heart sour cream. Curious to try this.
Whipped this right up. Delicious!!! Thank you.
You're welcome, Stephanie! Thank YOU for making it and sharing your thoughts. So glad you enjoyed it!
I am definitely making this. So glad I found your site!
Aww, thank you! I'm so glad that you found it too!
This is great!!! No need for faux-meat when you can appropriate whole veggies with delicious flavors into a meal. Honest food is good food. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much, Lisa! I completely agree: definitely prefer to use whole veggies when at all possible instead of relying heavily on store-bought meatless options. I hope you enjoy this recipe!
PJ Belle says
Your blog quickly became my definite favorite and this was the first of many recipes of yours that I will try I'm sure. The tacos were delicious, even my suddenly picky two year old loved them.
This makes me so happy! I'm so glad that you're enjoying the blog and that you loved the recipe. Approval from a picky two-year-old is pretty serious (and awesome) business. Thanks for sharing this sweet feedback!
Wow, that was so unexpected but so phenomenal. I love cauliflower in a lot of different ways, but wasn't sure how this would turn out. Very, very good. Thank you for sharing!
So happy to hear you gave this a try and enjoyed it, Kevin! Believe me, I was surprised too! It was one of those random ideas that turned out so well. I think I had luck on my side the day I was recipe-testing this one! :)
What do you recommend to someone who only has the dried sun-dried tomatoes? Adding extra oil during cooking? Soaking the SDTs in oil beforehand?
Hi, Liz! I'm so sorry for the delay on answering your question. I would pulse about 2 teaspoons of oil in with the cauliflower once you add the sundried tomatoes. I think that should be enough to make up for it. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Oh, please, no delay. I think I can manage a two day wait time. :)
And, OMG, this recipe looks SO good; I am POSITIVE I am going to LOVE it! Thanks for your input; I'm going to get on this like white on rice this weekend!
Made this recipe tonight. It's delicious! Even my carnivore husband went back for seconds!
Thank you for reposting this on your Facebook page, my partner and I loved it! We were optimistic and made a double batch before even trying it and thank goodness we did. Delicious! The hemp sour cream is genius. Thank you :)
Jennifer H says
Made this for dinner! It was really good. We are on a cleanse diet so we just served the spiced cauliflower mixture with homemade salsa and guacamole! I didn't have time to measure anything out so I just grabbed all of the ingredients that you recommended and did my best at guessing at the portions.
Hi, Jennifer! Happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe and great to know that eyeballing measurements worked well. Thanks for taking time out of your day to come back and share your thoughts and rating—means so much!