While I was in Chicago, I went to a place called Publican Quality Meats. It was a small bakery/butcher/coffee shop/market with a seating area. A little bit of everything in one place…

Cauliflower Steak Sandwich with Romesco Sauce

The first time I went there, I was looking for a quick bite to eat. All I wanted was a small sandwich with a cold beverage. The menu on the large wall listed a little bit of everything, ranging from cheese & charcuterie plates to different kinds of sandwiches. Even though the butcher’s daily cheese plate sounded amazing, I had my mind set on getting a sandwich so I went with the one that was called The Perks of Being a Cauliflower.

See, I love cauliflower just as anyone else, and quite frankly I don’t use it enough in my cooking. But I was intrigued, because the name was so creative. I decided that I wanted to find out about the perks of being a cauliflower.

And boy, did I love it…

Cauliflower Steak Sandwich with Romesco Sauce with glass of water or bottle of sparkling

I thought it was SO delicious. I would have never thought that using romesco sauce and cauliflower “steaks” together, flavoring them with lemon aioli sauce, and wrapping everything up in a garlic ciabatta bread would yield such a tasty sandwich.

On my last day in Chicago, I went there one last time to get the same sandwich so that I had something really good to eat in the plane on my way back home. I also wanted to look at it closely so that I could try to create something similar in my own kitchen.

So my version of that sandwich is this Cauliflower Steak Sandwich with Romesco Sauce. But this one is vegan and somewhat healthier, perfect for those of you who are calorie-conscious.

The original version was made with artisan-style garlic ciabatta bread. I made my own ciabatta bread, but you can easily find it in a bakery, supermarket, or in a neighborhood artisanal bread shop, if there is one close by.

Once you have the bread, there are 4 easy steps to making it:

Make the Romesco sauce:

Ingredients for recipe for Cauliflower Steak Sandwich with Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce is a sauce made with processing sandwich bread, almond slices, red peppers, sherry vinegar, with spices in a food processor. In my opinion, the secret to really good romesco sauce is using lightly toasted almond slices.To toast sliced almonds, all you have to do is to heat them in a non-stick skillet in medium heat for 10 minutes or so. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn easily.

Make a quick coleslaw:

Ingredients for vegan coleslaw
The original sandwich was served with a salad that was similar to coleslaw. I made my coleslaw with a couple of tablespoons of vegenaise, because I wanted my sandwich to be vegan. But if you don’t have it and you are not vegan, feel free to substitute it with mayonnaise or a combination of mayonnaise and yogurt, for lighter calories.
My secret ingredient to delicious coleslaw is celery seeds. They not only give it a distinctive flavor, but also add a nice crunch to the overall salad.

Sear the Cauliflower “steaks”:

Cauliflower Steak Sandwich with Romesco Sauce

I looked for many recipes to figure out how to make cauliflower steaks. Most of them suggested searing them in a skillet first, and then letting them roast in the oven for a short amount of time. I am sure it would be great to do it that way, but I choose to only sear them in a skillet and skipping the time in the oven. Because I didn’t want it to be a long process with several steps. And it worked perfectly. It took 8-10 minutes in medium heat on each side for them to soften and become tender.

Assemble the sandwich:

It was fairly easy to assemble the sandwich. Below is a quick stop-motion video for you to watch how I assembled it.

If you have an electric grill (like George Forman), you can press them for a couple of minutes to warm them up. This step is an optional step, but if you have it I recommend not skipping it, as in my opinion, warming it up takes it to a whole other level.

Finally, if you are calorie-conscious and prefer not to eat too much bread, instead of eating both halves of the bread you can also make these as open-faced sandwiches.

Two Cauliflower Steak Sandwich with Romesco Sauce on a cutting board with a small


Cauliflower Steak Sandwich with Romesco Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Yields4 2 large or 4 small sandwiches
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
A vegan Cauliflower Steak Sandwich with romesco sauce. Simply put, a head of cauliflower sliced into “steaks”, sauteed in a pan, placed on a sandwich bread smeared with homemade romesco sauce and coleslaw. This easy vegan sandwich recipe is a great sandwich if you are looking for something healthy and delicious.


For The Romesco Sauce

  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, crust removed – lightly toasted and cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 3/4 cups jarred roasted red peppers
  • 1 small ripe tomato, cut into slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more, if you like it hot
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

For The Vegan Coleslaw

  • 1 1/2 cup of red cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 cup of green cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup of carrot, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons of vegenaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

For The Cauliflower Steak Sandwich

  • 1 medium-size head of cauliflower, washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 loaves of ciabatta bread, cut in half to make 4 small sandwiches
  • 1 cup of arugula, washed and spin-dried


To make the romesco sauce:

  • Place the bread and almonds into the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely ground, 15-20 seconds.
  • Add in the peppers, tomato, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, and process until it reaches a consistency of mayonnaise, 25-30 seconds.
  • Taste for seasoning and add if necessary.
  • Place it in a jar, close it with a lid, and set it aside. (if you are making this in advance, keep it in the fridge.)

To make the coleslaw:

  • Place all ingredients in a bowl and gently stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Place the cauliflower, stem side down, on a cutting board. Cut it into 3/4-inch thick “steaks”. Discard the ends. You should have 4 steaks (slices).
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet in medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add in 1 clove of minced garlic and stir for 15-20 seconds.
  • Transfer 2 of the cauliflower steaks into the skillet and cook 8-10 minutes on each side. Once cooked, place them on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat the same process for the other 2 steaks using the leftover olive oil and garlic.
  • Repeat the same process for the second sandwich.

To assemble:

  • Cut the ciabatta bread lengthwise. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of romesco sauce on each half. Place a cauliflower steak (and florets to fill in – for a visual, watch the video) on the bottom half. Top the steaks off with 3-4 tablespoons of coleslaw and some arugula. Press top half over the bottom.
  • Using a serrated knife cut each sandwich into two pieces. Serve it with the leftover coleslaw on the side.
  • Optional: I grilled my sandwiches using a George Forman grill. If you have one (or some other type of grill), I highly recommend grilling it for a few minutes (5-6 minutes in 325 degrees).


Calories: 897kcal | Carbohydrates: 134g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 3060mg | Potassium: 931mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 6489IU | Vitamin C: 134mg | Calcium: 176mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sandwich, Vegan
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @foolproofliving or tag #foolproofeats!

The recipe for the romesco sause is adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook.

About Aysegul Sanford

Hello Friend! I'm Aysegul but you can call me “Ice." I’m the cook/recipe-tester/photographer behind this site.

If you’re looking for approachable, yet creative recipes made with everyday ingredients, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’re all about recipes that’s been meticulously tested to provide you with a truly foolproof cooking experience regardless of your level of cooking.

The cover of Foolproof Protein packed ebook.

Claim Your Free E-Book

Foolproof Protein-Packed
Sign up to get our free Protein-Packed Meals E-book with recipes you can make in under 45 minutes. Plus, get weekly updates and goodies from us.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
5 from 1 vote

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. This sandwich looks amazing!!! I’m not much of a fan of cauliflower but I’d try this! And that has to be the cutest food video I have ever seen : D

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      I like cauliflower, but I can’t say it is my absolute favorite. However, this sandwich is beyond delicious. The combination of Romesco Sauce and cauliflowers is amazing.
      I hope you’ll get a chance to try sometime.

  2. I cannot wait to try this! I love romesco sauce and have never had cauliflower “steak” in a sandwich, but this whole combo sounds divine!