Vegan Cauliflower Sandwich

By Alexandra Caspero on May 11, 2015

The BEST vegan sandwich! Crispy Cauliflower, Garlic Spinach and Quick Romesco sauce. Perfect for picnics, lunch, or easy dinners. 

Game, set, match. I set out to create a sandwich that was 100% plant-based but savory, meaty, and flavorful enough that even the most die-hard skeptics would want to eat it.

Mission accomplished.

Salty, crispy, garlicky, trust me when I say that you’ve never had a vegan sandwich like this before.

The BEST vegan sandwich! Crispy Cauliflower, Garlic Spinach and Quick Romesco sauce. Perfect for picnics, lunch, or easy dinners. #vegetarian #vegan #healthy |

Cauliflower, I am not worthy. I bow to you for showing me your incredible versatility in everything from “rice” to creamy sauces to crispy steaks like this one. Seared perfectly on both sides, thick cauliflower steaks are the the perfect meaty filling for this juicy sandwich.

I actually had to make these sandwich three times before photographing because I kept eating all of the pretty cauliflower pieces as they came off the skillet! If you’ve ever thought that cauliflower was a boring vegetable, make it like this and then prepare to be wowed.

Sandwich or not, I could fry up an entire head of cauliflower like this and eat it for all my meals. Such a good reminder that when you prepare vegetables right, you don’t need a lot of fuss to make them taste incredible.
The BEST vegan sandwich! Crispy Cauliflower, Garlic Spinach and Quick Romesco sauce. Perfect for picnics, lunch, or easy dinners. #vegetarian #vegan #healthy |

What to pile on top of crispy cauliflower steaks? Sautéed garlicky greens of course! Since your cast-iron pan is already hot and seasoned, why not throw in a handful or two of spinach leaves to top things off. So much better than boring romaine lettuce, and any excess garlic flavor soaks into the bun. Which, is true sandwich perfection.

Quick romesco sauce is the final layer here and it pairs beautifully with the crispy ciabatta bread, crispy cauliflower steaks, and garlicky spinach.

I’ve made romesco sauce before, and it’s still one of my most requested dips from BL. I love, love, love that dip but it’s fairly time intensive. Meaning, if you want romesco sauce like yesterday, you have to wait a whole 20 minutes to enjoy that dip. With my improved 5-minute romesco sauce, all you need is a food processor to achieve a smoky,  peppery, almond sauce to slather on just about everything.

The BEST vegan sandwich! Crispy Cauliflower, Garlic Spinach and Quick Romesco sauce. Perfect for picnics, lunch, or easy dinners. #vegetarian #vegan #healthy |

The BEST vegan sandwich! Crispy Cauliflower, Garlic Spinach and Quick Romesco sauce. Perfect for picnics, lunch, or easy dinners. #vegetarian #vegan #healthy |

Enjoy these beauties for all your summer potlucks, picnics and hangouts. Need a side dish to go-with? My Grilled Sweet Potato salad with Roasted Jalapeno dressing should do just the trick.

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

The BEST vegan sandwich! Crispy Cauliflower, Garlic Spinach and Quick Romesco sauce. Perfect for picnics, lunch, or easy dinners. #vegetarian #vegan #healthy |

Cauliflower Sandwich with Romesco Sauce

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Author: Alex Caspero


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/8 cup olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups torn spinach leaves or baby spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 ciabatta rolls (or similar good, crusty bread)
  • Quick Romesco Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, drained if jarred
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil


  1. Trim the cauliflower stem, leaving the core intact, and cut into 1/4-inch slices. If they fall apart, try slicing them a little thicker. It’s OK if they don’t stay intact, but they need to have a “flat” side to crisp up.
  2. Add the oil to a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. You want the oil to sizzle so make sure it’s hot enough before you add your cauliflower. I do this by wetting my hand and shaking some excess water into the skillet. If it dances in the oil, it’s hot enough.
  3. Add the cauliflower steaks and let fry until really crisp and golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Season each side with a sprinkle of salt and pepper then remove from pan.
  4. Add in the spinach and garlic, season with salt and pepper and let cook until just wilted. Set aside.
  5. To assemble the sandwich: liberally apply romesco sauce to both sides of the ciabatta bread. Stack with cauliflower and greens.
  6. Make the Romesco Sauce:
  7. Rough chop almonds in a food processor or high-powered blender. Add peppers, vinegar, and garlic and process to a thick puree. Keep the motor running and slowly drizzle in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


To get a really good crust on the cauliflower, I recommend using a cast-iron pan. Non-stick pans won’t get the same crispy exterior. The good news? Cast iron pans are cheap! I use mine just about every single day and can’t say enough good things about it.

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the best vegan sandwich

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Tanisha LeBlanc
      May 21, 2021 AT 6:47 am

      This looks so delicious! Could I make the cauliflower in a casserole dish?

      1. Alex
        May 21, 2021 AT 8:44 am

        I don’t see why not?

    2. Tony
      October 28, 2019 AT 5:46 pm

      This is my 1st vegan meal i made. Surprisingly i liked it.. im a meat eater but trying a a fulltime vegan diet for 7 days.. was east to follow and make.. would definitely make again.. thank you for posting this.. T

      1. Alex
        October 30, 2019 AT 8:41 am

        Hi Tony! So excited for you! I remember that transition with my husband. Hope you try out some of the other recipes as well. 🙂 Thanks, Alex

    3. Miriam
      July 31, 2019 AT 5:44 pm

      I just made this and it was AMAZING! Seriously my new favorite sandwich! I am so so excited to make it again because holy crap it’s so so good!! Thank you for this amazing recipe!! I absolutely loved it, especially the sauce… it really pulled it all together!♥️

      1. Alex
        August 1, 2019 AT 6:33 am

        So glad you liked it! Thanks so much for commenting.

    4. Shon
      April 13, 2018 AT 5:49 pm

      This is awesome…do you have a video making this sandwich? The cauliflower cutting process is what I desire to see done most. Sounds yummy though, thanks for the great idea!

      1. Alex
        April 16, 2018 AT 9:51 am

        Hi Shon- I don’t… yet! But, I will plan on making one soon so you can see the process. You’ll want to slice the cauliflower into slabs, slicing vertically through the cauliflower. Though- don’t be intimidates by the slicing- even florets will taste great in this sandwich!

    5. Danielle Carey-Mooney
      August 23, 2016 AT 5:04 pm

      Made this for dinner tonight and the vegetarians and omnivores in the house (2 of each) LOVED it! New staple! Thank you for introducing me to romesco sauce!

    6. Philippa
      May 25, 2015 AT 10:32 am

      Omg, made this for dinner and it was AMAZING!!! I cook every night and am so bored with 95% of what I make and this was one of those dinners that I would have been thrilled to have ordered at a fancy sandwich shop/cafe. So so good.

      1. DK
        May 27, 2015 AT 9:24 am

        Yay! That comment makes my day- thanks for sharing Philippa 🙂

    7. Sandra Vungi
      May 23, 2015 AT 7:01 am

      Wow, these look so dreamy!

    8. Amy @ Amy’s Healthy Baking
      May 13, 2015 AT 12:03 am

      Aww, I love how you tied up that sandwich with string! Such a cute touch! And that sauce? Such a gorgeous color!

    9. Fiona
      May 11, 2015 AT 10:46 am

      This looks really tasty. I love that there’s so many spices and flavors in it too.