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.
Salty, crispy, garlicky, trust me when I say that you’ve never had a vegan sandwich like this before.
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.
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.
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.
- 1 head cauliflower
- ⅛ 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:
- ½ cup almonds
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, drained if jarred
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Trim the cauliflower stem, leaving the core intact, and cut into ¼-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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add in the spinach and garlic, season with salt and pepper and let cook until just wilted. Set aside.
- To assemble the sandwich: liberally apply romesco sauce to both sides of the ciabatta bread. Stack with cauliflower and greens.
- Make the Romesco Sauce:
- 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.
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.