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Swapping out the meat and going vegetarian with these Cauliflower Al Pastor Quesadillas with Lime Smashed Avocado. Best for when you’re craving hearty Mexican, but want to keep things healthy too. Smoky chipotle pineapple sauce, tossed with cauliflower (in place of pork), stuffed into flour tortillas, topped with a sprinkling of cheese and cooked until golden crisp. Top with salty lime smashed avocado and a little extra pineapple and you’ll have the most delicious quesadillas!

overhead photo of Cauliflower Al Pastor Quesadillas with Lime Smashed Avocado

When it comes to food, the end of April and the beginning of May is one of my favorite times of the year. First of all, it’s deep into spring which means that the produce is plentiful, and recipes have a much fresher feel to them. And two? Cinco de Mayo is May 5th, which means Mexican inspired recipes for the next week. Now I know Cinco de Mayo may not be a holiday that’s actually very celebrated in Mexico, but it’s heavily celebrated here in the US, and I’m all about it. I love any excuse to create spins on my favorite Mexican dishes. And today’s quesadillas are hands down, one of my favorite Mexican inspired recipes I’ve created.

So much more Mexican on the way, with everything from tacos to margaritas. Its funny, some years I really get into certain holidays, while other years I just sort of move right past. This year I am really embracing Cinco! It’s truly inspired me to think up some more creative Mexican dishes. It’s always so much fun for me when I start to think outside of the box and get away from the more classic or “normal” dishes.

side angled photo Cauliflower Al Pastor in skillet

When it comes to quesadillas I hesitate making them, as I continually have such a hard time photographing them. I know, it’s a stupid reason, not to make them. But ugly photos always put me in a bad mood. Therefore, I shy away from attempting foods that I know will give me trouble.

That said, if something sounds way too good not make, I am of course going to make it, and do my best to get great photos.

Obviously that was the case with these cauliflower al pastor quesadillas. They have all of the things I love most. A sweet and spicy element, lots of vegetables, lots of avocado, cheese, and even some carbs. Yep, hits all of my most favorite food groups. The minute the idea come to mind, I knew I would be giving them a try.

Good news for me is that I made these, loved them, and then made them one more time to photograph. I even ended up loving the photos too! So I am extremely happy with this recipe on all accounts…it’s delicious and pretty!

overhead close up photo of Cauliflower Al Pastor Quesadillas before cooking

Traditionally al pastor tacos are made using marinated, grilled pork. They’re a sweet and savory mix of chili peppers, sweet pineapple, and pork. But today I’m swapping the meat for cauliflower! Honest opinion? Cauliflower al pastor is way better. I am a bit biased though, because I love vegetables…

My brothers are singing a different tune and looking down in disgust at these vegetable filled, meatless quesadillas. Oh well, can’t please everyone.

side angled photo of Cauliflower Al Pastor Quesadillas with Lime Smashed Avocado

The details

Start out by making the chipotle pineapple sauce. It’s a simple mix of chipotle peppers, pineapple, garlic, and spices. Think of it kind of like a homemade pineapple enchilada sauce.

Once the sauce is made, sauté the cauliflower with some onions, then stir in the sauce and the additional pineapple chunks. Then simply cook a few minutes more and you now have cauliflower al pastor. It’s sweet, spicy, a touch smoky, and truly so delicious. You don’t even realize you’re eating all vegetables!

But, it actually gets better. Stuff the cauliflower al pastor into tortillas. My favorite are these Siete Cassava Flour Tortillas, they’re the best tasting healthy tortillas. Then sprinkle with cheese, cook, and top each quesadilla with salty, lime smashed avocado. Simple. colorful, healthy, and seriously SO GOOD!

And yes, I did indeed top my quesadillas with grilled pineapple chunks too. What can I say, I really love pineapple.

overhead close up photo of Cauliflower Al Pastor Quesadillas with Lime Smashed Avocado

Serve these up as an easy meatless dinner any day of the week…with double the avocado and maybe a side of chips. Why not go all out and add a margarita too. Hey, make weeknights fun, you know!

Tip? Be sure to make more than you need, the leftovers are so good for lunch the next day. Especially with a light spinach salad, to add some extra greens!

overhead photo of Cauliflower Al Pastor Quesadillas with Lime Smashed Avocado half eaten

If you make these cauliflower al pastor quesadillas with Lime Smashed Avocado, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Cauliflower Al Pastor Quesadilla with Lime Smashed Avocado.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 695 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


Lime Smashed Avocado


  • 1. In a blender or food processor combine the garlic, chili powder, paprika, chipotle chilies, pineapple juice, vinegar and 1 cup of the pineapple chunks. Blend until completely smooth. 
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the cauliflower, onions, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and the onions have caramelized. Reduce the heat to low stir in the pineapple sauce, the remaining cup of pineapple chunks and the jalapeño. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and coats the cauliflower, there will still be sauce left in the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
    3. Meanwhile, stir together the avocado, lime juice and zest, and a pinch of salt. 
    4. Lay the tortillas flat on a clean counter. On top of 2 tortillas, evenly layer the cheeses and cauliflower, then lay the remaining 2 tortillas on top.
    5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, place the quesadillas, one at a time, in the skillet and cook until golden on each side, about 4-5 minutes per side. Serve topped with avocado and grilled pineapple.
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  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times and it’s always a hit. Even my meat loving husband enjoys this dish! Plus, it’s simple – and I love that. I struggle to like cauliflower (weird, as a vegetarian) but I truly love it here.

    1. Hey Kristen,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for making it and your feedback! xT

  2. 5 stars
    I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. I meal prepped it Monday to have for my dinners and every day I couldn’t wait to go home and eat it! I just used store bought individual guacamole packs and subbed the recommended cheese to 50% cabot cheddar to cut the calories a bit. I can’t wait to make this again and again!

    1. Hey Rachel,
      Happy Friday! I am delighted that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try! xTieghan

  3. 4 stars
    Made this tonight and thought it was very tasty and a nice break from meat. Your recipes, meal planning tips, and menu inspirations have inspired me and I hope you continue doing what you obviously love!

  4. 5 stars
    The flavours of the cauliflower are OUTSTANDING!!! Made this with a side of cilantro lime rice and it was scrumptious.
    Thank you for sharing! Looking forward to trying some of your other recipes.

    1. Hi Aliesha,
      Yes, mango would be fantastic! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    This is my new favorite recipe of yours. I love Mexican, the flavors are perfect, I love that it has spice but not spicy I think my kids could eat it no problem. Anyways, this so SO GOOD, I’m definitely going to make this again. I also love how easy this recipe is. Thank you!!!!

  6. Hi there! Any suggestions to replace the chipotle chili in adobe sauce? I can’t find it anywhere in this quarantine! Thank you!!

    1. Hi Hannah,
      You can use some chipotle chili seasoning! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    I made these tonight, and they are honestly the best thing I’ve made all quarantine! I want to eat this every day. Absolutely perfect recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    Omg, Tieghan. You are my goddess during this insane COVID-19 time. The adventures I’ve been having in my kitchen, and the new foods I’m getting my family to eat, are due in large part to you. These quesadillas are awesome. The depth of flavor, the interplay of sweet and savory, the partnership between healthy and decadence, is just perfect. I made the recipe exactly as written, and I will make this over and over. One of the best parts is that this is super filling, so we couldn’t eat close to what the recipe yielded, which means leftovers! Yay! Thank you, once again.

    1. Aw that is so amazing that you are getting creative in the kitchen during this time! Also, the best when you have leftovers! Thank you Josie! xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    Love love love this recipe for tacos! I’ll have to try it for quesadillas next time. Also planning on trying the asada mushroom tacos. Thanks for the great recipes for vegetarians!

    1. Thank you Kelly! I am so glad you are loving this one! I hope you are staying safe and healthy! xTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    These look amazing and I can’t wait to try them!
    Supermarket had zero cauliflower last few trips… these crazy times – you never know what they will be out of!
    Hopefully I will get to try them soon!

  11. SO GOOD! I made these last night. I didn’t have big tortillas for the quesadilla’s but I had the small corn tortilla, so I made more of a Tostado! Did not disappoint, yum as always!