Grilled Cauliflower Steak Sandwiches
“The sun is shining, the clouds are breaking … ’cause I can’t lose now, there’s no game to playyyy!”
Have I ever mentioned my undying, unadulterated, slightly obsessive love for the band Boston? Man, those guys knew how to rock a song. Every time I hear a Boston song, I have to jump out of my seat and break out the air guitar. Not really. Okay, maybe a little.
This week has been a combination of unseasonable, summer-like sunny days combined with lots and lots of music. The latter is thanks to an awesome new stereo system we splurged on. We’ve been all about dancing in the living room many times a day with our tunes-loving toddler. Sometimes Caspar Babypants is playing, and sometimes it’s Boston.
Regardless of the music going in the background, two other themes this week have been dirt and the grill. Not together, thankfully. We’re building raised beds for my garden areas (let there be tomatoes! Let there be herbs!), and ambitiously, we had five yards of garden mix soil dropped off on our driveway at the beginning of the week. So now we’re desperately trying to transfer the dirt to its permanent homes before the rain sets back in.
What does this all have to do with that sliced-up-looking brain down there? Well, that’s the grilling part! And it’s not a brain, it’s cauliflower!
So, cauliflower “steaks.” Have you tried them yet? Essentially, we’re talking about cross-sections of cauliflower, seasoned and roasted until tender and succulent. Good, right? I mean, I sort of think “steak” is a reach, but I’m on board with the method for sure.
Well, with all of this sun and music and outdoors and grilling, a crazy idea popped into my head: how about grilled cauliflower steak sandwiches? Instead of roasting those suckers, I could grill them and throw them in a burger bun (hello, they’re the perfect size!) and make myself the easiest veggie patty in the history of vegetarian burgers! No marinating, no forming patties – just brush with oil, season with salt and pepper, grill ’em up, throw them on a bun with some good stuff, consume.
As a nod to traditional steak sandwiches, I dressed this burger up steak-sandwich style – a layer of melty provolone, a smear of Dijon and mayo, some onions (but not grilled, because we’re too busy dancing and shoveling dirt to have time for that), and a pile of arugula, all inside toasty ciabatta buns.
Easiest veggie burger ever, seriously. Happy dance (with air guitar)!
For the meat-eaters
If your resident carnivores want plain-ol’ meat for their burgers, well, this is kind of perfect! Just grill up some cauliflower for the vegetarians, and cook the meat on the other side of the grill. The toppings will go with either one – and everyone’s happy!
Grilled Cauliflower "Steak" Burgers
The simplest veggie “patty” ever! Tender seasoned cauliflower steaks fit perfectly inside a bun, making for an incredibly easy – and scrumptious – vegetarian burger.
- 2 medium-size heads cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 slices provolone cheese (or whatever cheese you like, or you can skip the cheese for a dairy-free option)
- 4 Ciabatta rolls or Ciabatta-style hamburger buns
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (about 1 tablespoon per burger)
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard (about 1 tablespoon per burger)
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 cup arugula
- Preheat your grill to medium, about 350 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel the leaves off of the heads of cauliflower and cut the stem off of the bottom. Sit the heads upright on the flat cut bottom and, with a sharp chef’s knife, cut into in 1-inch thick slices. Generally, you can only get 2 good steaks out of one head of cauliflower, the slices from the middle. Reserve the two middle slices and safe the outer sections for later use. Repeat with the second head of cauliflower.
- Brush both sides of the cauliflower slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cut the Ciabatta buns in half and brush the insides with olive oil, so that they’ll be ready to grill when it’s time. Set aside.
- Place cauliflower on the grill and cook, flipping occasionally, until golden brown on both sidesand fork-tender in the middle, 10-15 minutes. Add provolone and cook until melted, about 1 more minute. Remove cauliflower steaks from the grill and set aside. Place the buns over the warm grates and cook until toasty, 1-2 minutes. Remove.
- Smear the insides of the buns with Dijon mustard and mayonnaise. Lay cauliflower on bottom bun and top with arugula and red onions. Close with the top bun, slice in half if desired, and serve.
Don’t have a grill? No problem! Just sear the cauliflower steaks in a saute pan for 3-4 minutes until browned on both sides, then transfer to a 400-degree oven and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
Omit the cheese.
Omit the cheese and replace the mayo with a vegan alternative.