Have you tried a bowl of smoky cauliflower? You should you know, it’s delightful. I was introduced to it quite recently when I had a great meal at Colita, Minneapolis, MN. The chef at Colita does a stellar job of combining some strong flavors on top a very conventional vegetable. Today’s recipe is my interpretation.

Smoky Cauliflower by Diverse Dinners

The waiter could’ve stamped “SOLD” on my forehead as soon as I placed a morsel of Smoky Cauliflower in my mouth. Man alive this dish packs a punch. It is so flavorful you can eat it all on its own. Thus, it makes for a great appetizer, but it’s a great side too if you’re serving a tasty yet simple meat dish.

Morita chiles are the vital ingredient in this dish. Smoked dried jalapenos that give off a deep smoky scent and taste. If you are unable to get hold of them in their dried form, you can substitute with chipotles in adobo sauce, but only use 1 1/2 – 2 as I find them to be much spicier than the dried variety.

This recipe is very simple, all you have to do is create a salsa with the chiles, cilantro, spices and oil. Roast the cauliflower until just tender. Then to serve, simply drizzle the salsa over the cauliflower and finish off with cotija cheese and scallion. The morita salsa can be made a couple of days in advance and any left over can be served over meat, fish or tofu.

Smoky Cauliflower by Diverse Dinners

I really like this new recipe and I’m so grateful to have experienced a meal at Colita, it’s an awesome gluten free restaurant serving great food and impressive cocktails. If you are ever in Minneapolis I highly recommend making a reservation for dinner. I didn’t capture great shots of my meal, but I was able to get great pics of my drinks. I had three, don’t judge, and they were all awesome.

Smoky Cauliflower

Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • 1 Guajillo chile
  • 3 chipotle Morita chiles
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro minced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese
  • 1 cup scallions - green parts only sliced thin
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • Salt and pepper to season cauliflower
  • Drizzle olive oil

Equipment & Utensils

  • Heat resistant measuring jug
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Sharp chef's knife
  • Cooking sheet


  • Boil 4-6 cups of water.
  • Place Guajilo and Morita chiles in a heat resistant measuring jug and pour boiling water on top of them.
  • Create a ball of aluminum foil in the palm of your hand that will fit into the measuring jug, then push it on top of the chiles to ensure they stay submerged.
  • Cover measuring jug with plastic wrap and allow chiles to rehydrate for 30 minutes.
  • Drain water from chiles then mince chiles to a paste using a sharp chef's knife.
  • Scoop chiles into a bowl and add vegetable oil, paprika, cilantro, coriander, cumin and salt and mix thoroughly
  • Allow chile salsa to sit until flavors combine for at least 30 minutes.
  • Remove stalks and leaves from cauliflower and cut cauliflower into in chunks that can fit into the palm of your hand.
  • Arrange cauliflower chunks on a cooking sheet and season with salt and pepper then apply a heavy drizzle of olive oil.
  • Cook cauliflower until tender (approx. 20 mins).
  • To serve, drizzle morita salsa over cauliflower, then sprinkle with cotija and scallions.