Crispy Cauliflower Steaks with a Creamy Tarragon Sauce (Vegan)
I’ve been riding the gluten-free train lately , but I wanted to hop off and take the vegan train for a little spin! It’s no secret you guys want healthy recipes this January, but I was surprised at how many of you requested plant-based dishes. That being said, I wanted to make one that would knock your socks off. I didn’t want to just cook a vegan recipe for the sake of doing it…instead, I wanted to create a vegan recipe that I think anyone, no matter their dietary restrictions or lack thereof, would love. If you’re not vegan, feel free to swap out anything you want in this recipe for the non-vegan alternative!
Speaking of those swaps, here is what I would do if I was making this “non-vegan.” What’s the technical word for cooking that isn’t vegan or related to any dietary restriction? I would actually keep the flax egg instead of using traditional egg wash because I love the way the flax seeds crisp up with the panko bread crumbs. I would also add a little Parmesan cheese to the bread crumb mixture because Parm makes everything better in my opinion. I would also use regular whole milk in the cream sauce because I love me some dairy. But, like I said, I love this dish as it is and on a typical weeknight when I’m trying to be healthier, I would gladly opt for this vegan version.
I only found pre-chopped cauliflower florets at the store, can I use these? Yassss you absolutely can!! If you want to use this same method to make cauliflower “nuggets,” please go ahead! You can serve the tarragon sauce as a dipping sauce, or just serve with BBQ sauce or ketchup.
If you’re a visual learner, I gotchu! Here’s a video on how to make this recipe. The best way to go about following any recipe is to look at the method and ingredient list, then if there is a video, to watch it and visualize the process!
Crispy Cauliflower with a Creamy Tarragon Sauce (Vegan)
- 1 head of cauliflower cut into 1-2 inch thick "steaks"
- 2 1/2 tbsp flax meal (or ground up flax seeds)
- 6 tbsp water
Bread Crumb Mixture
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 tsp kosher salt plus more for topping
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Vegan Tarragon Cream Sauce
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed and sliced
- Half of a large shallot sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh tarragon sprigs 1 1/2 tbsp if using dried tarragon
- 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth or stock optional
- 1 tsp lemon juice optional
- Kosher salt to taste
- 2 tsp all purpose flour can sub gluten-free flour if needed
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and water. Whisk together until the mixture becomes thick and stretchy (kind of like an egg white!) Congrats! You have made 2 flax eggs! Set the mixture aside to set. If you're not vegan, you can use regular egg wash, of course.
- In a large shallow bowl or on a large plate, combine all of the bread crumb mixture ingredients.
- One slice at a time, brush the cauliflower steaks (or the florets/nuggets if not going with the cauliflower steaks) thoroughly with the flax egg. You can also dip the pieces of cauliflower into the flax egg mixture. Just make sure it gets in all the nooks and crannies and that you are brushing both sides until sticky!
- After coating in the flax egg, transfer the cauliflower to the bread crumb mixture. Flip it to coat both sides, then use your hands to press breadcrumbs along the sides of the cauliflower so it's fully coated. Repeat with all of the pieces of cauliflower.
- Place the newly battered cauliflower slices onto a sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown to your liking. You can go longer if you want that extra crunch.
Vegan Tarragon Cream Sauce
- While the cauliflower is baking, make your sauce so it's ready to go when that cauliflower is fresh out of the oven! First, heat a sauce pan on medium heat.
- Add 3 tbsp of olive oil to the sauce pan, then add the garlic, onion and tarragon to the oil. Let that simmer on medium low heat for 10 minutes. You do not want the oil to be too hot, as it will burn the aromatics. We just want to infuse the oil with all of that flavor.
- Add 2 tsp of flour to the olive oil to create a roux. Mix for about 1 minute, until the flour is lightly toasted.
- In a separate cup, combine the almond milk, vegetable broth and lemon juice (if using.) Iif not using vegetable broth or lemon juice, of course just get that almond milk ready.
- Adjust the heat to medium high. Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the sauce pan, whisking as you go. Continue to whisk until the sauce is fully incorporated. Season generously with salt (I did about 2 generous pinches) and taste to make sure you like the salt levels.
- Let the sauce begin to bubble and reduce until thick, whisking every 30 seconds or so.
- When the sauce is your desired thickness, remove the sauce pan from the heat and set it aside.