Cauliflower Oyster Mushroom Tacos

There may be more than a few recipes for tacos that turn up on the Vibrant Beat. After all, my family loves tacos! Who doesn’t?! And tacos don’t just mean a hard shell stuffed with beef, cheese, sour cream, and salsa. The world of plant-based eating has enlightened me to the diverse variety of delicious foods that can be used to stuff a corn tortilla! Some of my favorites include tempeh tacos , and tacos stuffed with “meat” made from walnuts and mushrooms, riced cauliflower, roasted chickpeas, or quinoa and lentils. And why do tacos have to be limited to southwestern spices when we love to fill our tortillas with Asian flavors as well?!

Recently, I was reviewing the health benefits of mushrooms (yes, there are many), and I remembered how much I love these cauliflower, oyster mushroom tacos. Both the cauliflower and mushrooms are wonderful at absorbing the flavor of seasonings and marinades, and have such a great meaty texture that enhances the whole hand-held meal experience!

Not only do mushrooms make a perfect substitute for a meat filling, they are also incredibly nutritious!

I recall a conversation I had with my wife about 5 years ago when I told her mushrooms were just sponges full of water and lacked any real nutritional significance. Boy was I wrong. According to How Not To Die by Michael Greger, mushrooms are the best food source of an amino acid called ergothioneine. This is one of a few antioxidants that can get inside the mitochondria (power plants) in our cells, and thus prevent DNA damage and premature cell death. Even better, ergothioneine is not destroyed by heat, so you can enjoy your mushrooms sautéed or grilled and still reap the nutritional benefits!

We commonly think of the most colorful fruits and vegetables as carrying the greatest nutritional density, as the bright colors are due to phytonutrients which have powerful antioxidant effects. Mushrooms are an exception, in more ways than one. First, they aren’t really a fruit or a vegetable, but rather belong to the fungi kingdom! Second, despite their bland color, mushrooms are as dense in nutrients as many of their more colorful counterparts.

Selenium, vitamin D, and folate in mushrooms have all been found to have anti-cancer effects. Potassium helps to control high blood pressure, and beta-glucans found in some mushrooms can help to lower cholesterol and reduce insulin resistance. Additionally, mushrooms are rich in a number of B vitamins, and are the only vegan non-fortified dietary source of vitamin D.

So don’t let the bland appearance fool you, mushrooms are nutritional powerhouses, a fact that I have to admit to my wife all too often.

Read a full articles on the health benefits of mushrooms.

Find original recipe here.


1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (6 to 8 cups)

4 tablespoons olive oil (this is in the original recipe, but I like to limit to 2 tablespoons or less. Try coating cauliflower with 2 tablespoons to ensure that spices stick, and using water or a light coat of cooking spray to saute the other vegetables)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion

1 large or 2 small poblano chiles, thinly sliced

1⁄2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

6 ounces oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

8 (6-inch) crisp corn tortillas (we usually use soft tortillas)

1⁄2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Optional: sliced avocado


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until evenly coated. Sprinkle with the chili powder, paprika, coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, and a generous pinch of salt. Toss again until the cauliflower is evenly coated. Spread the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet.

3. Bake for 20 minutes, until crispy.

4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (here is where you can try to saute using water or a light coat of cooking spraty). Add the onion, poblano, and red bell pepper and sauté until the onion is tender and a bit golden, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Stir in the mushrooms, then season with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and crispy (5 to 8 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.

5. For each taco, put 1⁄4 cup (60ml) of the mushroom mixture in a tortilla. Top with some of the roasted cauliflower and a tablespoonful of cilantro.