Cauliflower and walnuts are the base for these flavor-packed vegetarian tostadas. The creamy purple cabbage slaw and other toppings really take the satisfaction factor over the top!
Oh, tostadas. I love you, and you don’t get nearly enough attention.
Seriously though, what’s not to like? You start with a crispy and perfect tostada shell. Then you add a slightly spicy, uber flavorful plant-based cauliflower walnut “meat” and all of your favorite taco fixings to get this beautiful and satisfying dish. We’re taking vegetarian tostadas to the next level because as much as I love beans, we can make things more interesting than that.
This is one of those examples of a plant-powered meal that just feels good to eat. The flavors are spot on and while it’s vegetable-heavy, it doesn’t leave you hangry an hour later.
Let’s talk about this cauliflower base. Cauliflower has become trendy as a meat stand-in because of it’s hearty texture and versatility. I’ve tried a few recipes for this “meat” that mimics ground beef, but I especially love this cauliflower walnut vegetarian taco meat, which was my inspiration here.
This process basically involves:
- Pulsing cauliflower, walnuts and spices in a food processor (or blender) until it sort-of resembles the texture of meat.
- Roasting the mixture in the oven until brown and crispy.
For this version, I swapped out the chipotles in adobo and instead leaned on dried spices (smoked paprika and garlic powder) because I always have them on hand. I was really happy with the result!
It may seem strange, but the cauliflower walnut “meat” is delicious and has a great texture. Such a creative way to incorporate some additional vegetables too.
While it cooks, you can prep the creamy purple cabbage slaw. It’s made with Greek yogurt, cilantro and lime (three staple ingredients in my kitchen!). Any kind of cabbage would work, but I think the purple color is so nice here.
See also: Tangy Purple Cabbage Slaw
Vegetarian Tostada Assembly
A quick tip on the tostada shells: did you know you can easily make them at home using corn tortillas?
I actually prefer doing it this way instead of buying the pre-made shells so I can use the tortillas in a bunch of different ways. To make them, cover the bottom of a small skillet with canola oil, heat over medium-high and cook tortillas one at a time until browned and crispy on both sides. Let them cool and crisp up even more on a cooling rack.
The rest of the assembly for these is easy and straight-forward. Here’s the order I prefer:
- Tostada shell
- Smashed avocado (season with a bit of salt and pepper)
- Cauliflower/walnut “meat”
- Black beans
- Garnishes: pepitas, cilantro & extra squeeze of lime
Per usual, the toppings are customizable based on what you have and/or prefer. Other ideas: salsa, shredded romaine, thinly sliced radishes, or even leftover roasted vegetables like squash.
Add these into your Taco Tuesday rotation to shake things up from the usual tacos and burrito bowls. I promise even the meat-lovers in the house will approve!
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Vegetarian Tostadas with Creamy Purple Cabbage Slaw
Cauliflower and walnuts are the base of the “meat” on these vegetarian tostadas. The toppings and fresh cilantro lime slaw really take it over the top though!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Mains
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 8 tostada shells (or corn tortillas – see note below)
- 1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/4 tsp kosher sea salt
- pinch of black pepper
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 5%)
- Lime, juiced
- 1/2 head purple cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- Optional garnishes: pepitas, cilantro & lime wedges
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add cauliflower florets, walnuts, oil, paprika, garlic, salt & pepper to a food processor and pulse until it resembles the texture of ground meat. Transfer to sheet pan and spread out as much as possible. Cook 30-35 minutes (stirring halfway through) or until browned and slightly crispy.
- Meanwhile, make the slaw. Mix yogurt and lime juice in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add purple cabbage and cilantro, then toss well to evenly coat. Set aside.
- To assemble, layer in the following order: tostada shell, smashed avocado, cauliflower/walnut “meat”, black beans, slaw, pepitas, garnishes (if using).
- If you don’t have the tostada shells (or can’t find them at the store), they’re simple to make at home with corn tortillas. Heat canola oil in a small skillet (make sure it covers the bottom of the pan) over medium-high heat and drop the tortillas in one at a time, cooking both sides until brown and crispy. Transfer to a cooling rack to let excess oil drip off and allow them to crisp up even more.
- Serving Size: 2 tostadas
- Calories: 420 calories
- Fat: 26 grams
- Carbohydrates: 40 grams
- Fiber: 10 grams
- Protein: 13 grams
Keywords: vegetarian tostada, cauliflower walnut meat
This post was originally published in January 2018 and was updated in April 2020.
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Jacqueline Roberts says
These were delicious and easy to make!
That’s so great to hear!