You know the Nationwide commercial where Payton Manning watches the cooking show where they sing “Chicken Parm, you taste so good!"?
And then he says, "I like it!"
Well, that’s my husband!
Well, the loving chicken parm part, not the being a professional athlete part.
He’s slightly obsessed with the combination of breaded chicken, sauce, and cheese.
And he should be, since it’s very tasty.
But at the end of the day, I find it’s less about the chicken and more about the other elements.
So I began thinking I could substitute the chicken for cauliflower, and still get a similar effect.
And I did!
Sure, it’s a little different, but it really satisfies your need for all things chicken parm while giving you a meal that’s half the calories—and packed with Vitamin C.
Just be sure to not cut the cauliflower too thick.
And remember that a little extra sauce on the side never hurt anyone.
And if you’re loving this Cauliflower Parm so much that you want to make a song to go along with your tasty meal, by all means, go right ahead.
- 1 head cauliflower (about 1½ pounds)
- ½ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
- ½ pound linguine
- 1 cup tomato sauce, warmed
- ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray it with cooking oil, then place a large pot of salted water over high heat for cooking the linguine.
- Remove any leaves attached to the cauliflower heads, but leave the stems intact. Cut the cauliflower in half vertically through the center, then cut a ½-inch-thick “steak” from the flat side of each half. Save the rest of each head for another use (see the notes at the end of the recipe).
- Mix the flour and salt together on a small plate. Then, in a shallow bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. On a second small plate, toss the panko breadcrumbs, Italian breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese.
- One at a time, dip each cauliflower steak into the flour, turning to dust both sides and tapping off any excess. Then dip the cauliflower steak into the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides and allowing any excess to drip off. Finally, dip each steak into the bread crumbs, making sure the crumbs coat all sides of the steaks. Lay the coated cauliflower on the baking sheet and cook until golden brown and crispy—about 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Meanwhile add the linguine to the now-boiling water and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Remove the cauliflower parmesan from the oven and sprinkle it with salt. Then top each steak with 1 tablespoon of the tomato sauce and 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella cheese. Return it to the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly—3 to 5 minutes more.
- To serve, divide the linguine among two dinner plates; spoon half of the remaining marinara sauce over each serving and top with the cauliflower parmesan. Pass more parmesan at the table.
- Only pieces of cauliflower from the center of the head will make nice steaks. but the extra florets from the sides of the head can make “cauliflower parmesan nuggets.” Simply prepare these pieces the same way you prepared the “steaks;” you can either put the sauce and cheese on them or leave the sauce on the side and let your kids go to town dipping! Bottom line: you’ll end up with something your kids will go nuts for!