Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich
Hot for Food Vegan Comfort Classics
It’s our claim to fame . . . buffalo cauliflower. This recipe is the most visited page on Hot For Food blog and the most watched of our YouTube videos. Newcomers, feast your eyes on the buffalo cauliflower sandwich! You diehards will notice and recognize the revamp on the breading. I’ve added panko-style bread crumbs ’cause it makes the cauliflower crispy and crunchy as hell. 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!
Breaded Buffalo Cauliflower
- 2 heads cauliflower
- 1 and 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free rice flour
- 4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 4 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon 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
- 11⁄2 cups buffalo-style hot sauce
- 4 kaiser-style rolls
- The Classic Ranch
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion (about 1 onion) or Pickled Red Onions (page 107)
- 2 cups shredded or finely chopped iceberg or leaf lettuce
- 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 4 dill pickles
- 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground pepper
Stir all the ingredients for the Ranch Dressing together in a bowl until well combined. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In this case, 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 same batter and method or the Southern Fried Cauliflower (page 46), or you can roast them up for another meal.
Mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, nondairy 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.
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 quite a bit.
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 dressing on the cut sides of each roll. Place a buffalo cauliflower steak on the bottom half. Add the red onion slices, lettuce, tomato slices, and then the top half of the roll. Serve with a pickle or slice the pickles and add to the sandwich.
This recipe was reprinted with permission from Hot for Food Vegan Comfort Classics, copyright 2018 by Lauren Toyota. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.