Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwiches

As seen the cover of the September/October 2017 – Food & Fitness Issue

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Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwiches
Photo: Lauren Toyota

It’s our claim to fame… Buffalo cauliflower. This recipe is the most visited page on the blog and the most watched YouTube video. Feast your eyes on the Buffalo cauliflower sandwich! I’ve added panko-style bread crumbs ’cause it makes the cauliflower crispy and crunchy. Not the kind of crunch that’ll tear up the roof of your mouth, but the kind of crunch that’ll definitely make you relapse and forget that you’re biting into a piece of cauliflower. It makes a heck of a good replacement for chicken in this spicy stacked monster of a sandwich!

MAKES: 4 sandwiches
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 50 minutes

Breaded Buffalo Cauliflower

  • 2 heads cauliflower
  • 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free rice flour
  • 4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1⁄2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 3⁄4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 3⁄4 cup water
  • 3 cups panko-style bread crumbs or gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 1⁄4 cup vegan butter
  • 1 1⁄2 cups buffalo-style hot sauce

The Classic Ranch

  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped chives
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground pepper

Sandwiches

  • 4 kaiser-style rolls
  • The Classic Ranch (above)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion (about 1 onion)
  • 2 cups shredded or finely chopped iceberg or leaf lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4 dill pickles

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Parchment paper is absolutely necessary or the cauliflower and batter will stick to the sheet.

To prepare the cauliflower, remove the leafy parts, being careful not to cut off any florets. Slice each head in half from the top. From the inside of each half, cut a slice 3⁄4 inch to 1 inch thick. You now have 4 large cauliflower cross-sections or steaks. You can reserve the remaining florets to make buffalo bites using the batter or you can roast them up for another meal.

Mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, sea salt, pepper, non-dairy milk and water together in a bowl until well combined. The amount of liquid or flour may need to be increased if you replace the all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour. It should be thick enough that it doesn’t pool too much around the steak.

Transfer the batter to a wide, shallow dish that will fit your cauliflower steaks. Place the bread crumbs in another dish or large bowl. Immerse each steak in the batter, using one hand to coat all the crevices and letting just a bit of the excess drip back into the dish. Coat all sides of the steaks in the bread crumbs. Place the breaded cauliflower steaks on the baking sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes, until crispy, flipping the steaks halfway through the bake time. If you go to flip the steaks and the batter feels stuck, it needs to bake longer on that side.

Meanwhile, make the ranch by stirring all the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. This can be refrigerated and stored for up to 10 days.

Just before the cauliflower finishes baking, melt the vegan butter and whisk it into the hot sauce in a shallow dish. Remove the cauliflower from the oven. You may want to let the steaks cool slightly so you can handle them. You may need to replace the parchment paper with a new sheet if it’s really soaked through or burned. Coat the breaded cauliflower steaks evenly on all sides in the Buffalo sauce. Reserve the excess sauce to baste the cauliflower before serving. Bake again for 25 minutes, flipping the steaks halfway through the bake time.

To assemble the sandwiches, just before the cauliflower is done baking, cut the rolls in half and toast, if desired. Spread a generous amount of ranch on the cut sides of each roll. Place a Buffalo cauliflower steak on the bottom half. Add the red onion slices, the lettuce, the tomato slices and then the top half of the roll. Serve with a pickle or slice the pickles and add to the sandwich.

Excerpted from Hot for Food Vegan Comfort Classics by Lauren Toyota. Copyright © 2018 Lauren Toyota. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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