Achiote Cauliflower Tostadas With Pickled Red Onions and Creamy Yogurt Sauce

By Kate Ramos | July 9, 2021 | Rally Health


Achiote paste is a brick-red seasoning that is sold in blocks in the Latin section of most grocery stores or at your local Latin market. It is the signature flavoring of Cochinita Pibil, the famous roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Peninsula in Southeastern Mexico. In these tostadas we use it to highlight tender cauliflower for an easy dinner that is bursting with bright citrus flavors.

Swapping homemade baked tostadas for store bought fried ones not only saves on calories but results in cracker-crisp tostadas with a toasted, nutty flavor. If you’d rather use store bought, look for baked tostadas instead of fried.

Serves 4


For the pickled red onions:

1 large red onion, cut into wedges

½ cup distilled white vinegar

½ cup water

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the baked tostadas:

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

For the cauliflower:

1 cup orange juice (ideally, fresh squeezed)

¼ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice

1 small white onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons achiote paste

1 tablespoon tomato paste

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cups chopped cauliflower, about 1 medium head

Creamy yogurt sauce:

½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon achiote marinade

½ teaspoon kosher salt

For serving:

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems


For the pickled red onions: Place onion wedges in a large, heatproof bowl. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat and pour over the onions. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Pickled red onions will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

For the baked tostadas: Heat oven to 350°F. Place tortillas directly on the upper rack in the oven, spread about an inch or so apart. Bake until crisp and toasted, about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. They should be the color of a roasted peanut when ready.

For the achiote cauliflower: Combine orange juice, lime juice, onion, garlic, achiote paste, tomato paste, dried oregano, and teaspoon of salt in a blender. Blend on high until it makes a smooth puree. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the marinade for the yogurt sauce.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is beginning to get tender and browned, about 10 minutes. Add remaining achiote marinade, bring to a simmer, then lower heat to medium-low. Cook until the cauliflower is tender and the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, for the yogurt sauce, combine yogurt, reserved tablespoon of marinade and ½ teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl. Stir to combine.

To serve: Spread a thin layer of yogurt sauce over the tostadas, top with achiote cauliflower, pickled onions, avocado, and sprinkle of cilantro leaves.

Kate Ramos develops Mexican recipes for her food blog, ¡Hola! Jalapeño, and is the author of the cookbook, Plant Powered Mexican, coming out this fall.


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