Cauliflower Parmigiana is a vegetarian twist on Chicken Parmigiana, the classic Italian – American dish. It’s light, healthy, easy and perfect for that first al fresco dinner on the patio!
Happy Spring, everyone! It’s so nice to finally say that! I’m absolutely loving more daylight hours, slightly warmer weather and trees and shrubs beginning to flower.
Why is it, however, that spring brings with it SO MUCH WORK!
It took me the better part of Saturday to clean the garage and lately, I’m into doing a little redecorating and “spiffing” in our home. You may recall that a little over two years ago we had a broken water pipe which resulted in a flood in our home. That little disaster took MONTHS to get everything replaced, cleaned up and put back into place.
Since then and because that was so overwhelming, I have not wanted to do anything. But now, I’m doing tons of things around the house and it feels great to get some things accomplished and freshened up.
So, how about we freshen up a classic dish, too? Classic Chicken Parmigiana is an Italian-American dish that’s breaded and fried. However, whenever I make Chicken Parmigiana for clients, I always bake it to make it a little lighter.
Here’s my vegetarian version of a client favorite: Cauliflower Parmigiana!
There’s no doubt cauliflower is having its day in the sun for its versatility. It’s a great substitute for so many things such as potatoes, rice and the perfect vegetarian substitute for chicken in this dish.
How to make Cauliflower Parmigiana:
- Start with a super-fresh head of cauliflower.
- Cut it into approximately 3/4-inch “steaks.” Now, I need to be upfront with you on something. Cutting cauliflower into steaks is not easy and it will fall apart. If you want steaks that hold together for presenting to your guests, you’ll need to use two heads of cauliflower. Use only the center and use the bits and pieces that remain another way such as in a salad. However, because the marinara sauce will go over the top, you can use the whole head of cauliflower. Simply piece those end slices together the way I did here. The marinara sauce and cheese is the perfect disguise!
- After slicing the head of cauliflower, brush the cauliflower steaks with olive oil and coat with the breadcrumb and Parmesan cheese combination.
- Spritz with cooking spray or olive oil in a mister and bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees. You want a lower temperature because the cauliflower takes a while to get tender and you don’t want the breading to get too browned. All ovens vary, so check the cauliflower after 20 to 25 minutes to make sure they’re not getting too browned.
- After baking the cauliflower steaks, I carefully take them off the parchment, then remove the parchment and place on the clean baking sheet. All those browned bits are going to get even browner.
- Top with your favorite marinara sauce…
- Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese….
- Place back in the oven for a little bit….
- And Mama Mia! Cauliflower Parmigiana! A light, lovely and delicious meatless entree!
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into approximately 6 "steaks," each 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick
- 1 cup panko
- 1/4 cup seasoned Italian dry breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil (or as needed)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1 jar (24-ounce) marinara sauce
- 1 1/2 cups freshly shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Carefully cut the cauliflower into approximately 6 steaks. (If the steaks fall apart, simply piece them back together after breading.)
- Combine panko, Italian breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a bowl.
- Season olive oil generously with salt and black pepper.
- Brush the cauliflower steaks with olive oil then dredge in the breadcrumb/cheese combination.
- Spray with cooking spray or an olive oil-mister to moisten the breadcrumbs.
- Bake 30-35 minutes until golden. (Check after 20-25 minutes.)
- Transfer to a clean baking sheet or a clean piece of parchment paper on the baking sheet you were using.
- Top with marinara sauce as desired.
- Top with Mozzarella cheese.
- Increase temperature to 400 degrees. Bake 10 minutes or until sauce is heated through and cheese melts. Serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving Calories 1067 Total Fat 69g Saturated Fat 23g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 37g Cholesterol 240mg Sodium 911mg Carbohydrates 35g Fiber 4g Sugar 6g Protein 73g