This post may contain affiliate/referral links. It is a way for this site to earn advertising fees by advertising or linking to certain products and/or services.
Guys, it’s the most wonderful time of the year… FOOTBALL IS BACK! College Football starts this weekend! I’m so ready to have everyone over for the game and the gameday foods. Now, at first glance, this may seem like a recipe you’ve seen all over Pinterest, but it’s a new day and a new way! My love for watching football with gameday grub was the inspiration for this Buffalo Cauliflower Sammie. I call it the love child of buffalo cauliflower wings and cauliflower steaks. Topped with a dairy-free blue cheese spread and thinly sliced celery, you’ll want this one for your next game day!
You’ve seen it before, cauliflower florets dunked in a light batter and baked before being tossed in buffalo sauce. I’ve even tried them before, sadly, with miserable results. The batter never seemed to get as crispy as I wanted it, and left me with a gummy, less than desirable, mess. They lacked flavor and truly did not remind me of the wing nights of years past. I moved on, deciding to retire the attempt to the garbage.
A few years ago I discovered cauliflower steaks and loved the whole experience. I especially enjoyed the Roasted Cauliflower dish at Schilling in NYC back in March of 2015. Now, roasting cauliflower florets and cauliflower halves is nothing new to me, but, I had yet to make it into a steak.
Since I’ve discovered cauliflower steaks, I’ve mostly been treating them just as I would a steak. Marinating them in balsamic vinaigrette and roasting in the oven is my favorite way to go… But, what if I treated it like chicken? How would that work? The wheels start turning until… “Bingo!”, a Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich! But… flashback to the failed buffalo cauliflower wings… No. This time would be different. This time, fry the cauliflower, dunk it in a standard wing sauce and throw it on a bun! But don’t let the appearance fool you, this sandwich is just as messy as it’s finger food cousin!
I’ll be honest, cutting the cauliflower into steaks without it falling apart was not easy for me at first, but then I discovered a trick. Peel away the larger leaves, leaving the smaller leaves on the remaining stalk. Trim off one rounded side of the cauliflower, then, with the stalk side up, position your knife on the stalk to create about a 1/2-inch steak and cut through. It’s important to use the stalk and keep it intact as best as possible to keep the steak from falling apart! Once the steaks are cut, use a paring knife to cut away the smaller leaves. You can get 2-3 full steaks from each cauliflower, depending on its size, but don’t throw away those rounded ends! There are plenty of uses for them from Alfredo sauce to pizza crust!
I’ve tried this a few ways, including soaking the steaks a day before. It’s not necessary though! Just set up a dredging station, slice the steaks and it’s off to the fryer. I kept it gluten free by using rice flour, a rice flour tempura batter, and gluten-free panko. (To keep it gluten-free, serve on gluten-free buns!) The steaks cook until golden brown and tender. After you drain them and season with salt it’s time to assemble! Typically 1 steak makes two sandwiches. Just cut it in half through the stalk so it stays intact, then it’ll fit perfectly on a bun. I add sliced celery and iceberg lettuce for the classic combo and bun protection! The spread is made with Daiya Blue Cheese Dressing and Kite Hill Ricotta Cheese. This helps to give the blue cheese flavor while adding substance to hold up to the size of the sandwich and keep it from running all over your plate. If you’re not a blue cheese fan, you could try replacing the dressing in the spread with ranch. Not a fan of too much heat? You could always opt for a BBQ sauce version.
You absolutely could do this process with florets too. Bigger ones you can cut the stem off and put on slider buns, or cut them smaller to make a delicious wrap or salad topping!