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Not A Sad Desk Lunch: Cauliflower with Mint-Walnut Pesto Sandwich

roasted cauliflower sandwich| dailywaffle

Cauliflower is a little eye-rolly these days. The hype is nearly as bad as it has been for kale. Over the last few years, food blogs have used it for everything from “alfredo” sauce to fried rice. Now, Trader Joe’s sells riced cauliflower in both its frozen and produce sections. But let’s not blame the victim here. Cauliflower is downright delicious, especially when it’s roasted, just don’t try to pretend its egg salad.

I’ve been bumping into veggie sandwiches everywhere lately. Good ones. Kenji Lopez-Alt posted a few pics on Instagram last week. On his TBTL podcast, Luke Burbank was talking about a roasted cauliflower sandwich from Oregon Deli Company.  Luke’s been following Mark Bittman’s Vegan Before 6 (VB6) eating plan and I was intrigued by the idea of using cauliflower as the main ingredient in a sandwich, but all he said it had on it was goat cheese.  I thought, white cauliflower and white goat cheese mashed together between two slices of bread? There’s gotta be more to it. And there is.

What everyone seems to love about cauliflower is it’s like a blank slate, but that’s only true if you steam it. When you roast it, cauliflower actually has its own flavor. So if you’re going to sandwich-ize it, what goes with?

Mint-walnut pesto and a good slather of goat cheese. And a little arugula.

Though you’re going to run the cauliflower through a food processor, in this case, I wouldn’t start with the pre-packaged riced cauliflower, it’ll brown too much and while it might taste good, it’ll be pretty ugly to look at with the mint-walnut pesto.

Check in next week for the next installment in my sandwich series. I’ve a got a couple more not sad desk lunch sandwiches up my sleeve.

Cauliflower with Mint-Walnut Pesto Sandwich

Print Recipe
Serves: 3 4-inch sandwich Cooking Time: 1 hr


  • Roasted Cauliflower
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cored and broken into florets
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • Mint Walnut Pesto
  • .75 oz. pkg spearmint
  • .75 oz. Italian parsley, tough stems removed
  • 1/2 c. walnut halves & pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice of half a lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • Goat cheese (spreadable variety preferred)
  • Arugula
  • 1 small ciabatta loaf



Preheat oven to 450F.


In a medium bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil and salt. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes until browned and a knife pierces the stalks easily. While still hot, drizzle with juice of half a lemon. Let cool.


Pulse the cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor 6-8 times. There should still be some small chunks.


To make the pesto, pulse the mint, parsley, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor 8-10 times. With the food processor running, add the olive oil. The consistency should be fairly thick and spreadable.


Put 2 c. of the cauliflower in a bowl and stir in 1/4 c. of the pesto. Season with additional salt to taste.


For each sandwich, spread a generous 1/2 c. of cauliflower on the ciabatta. Top with arugula. Spread the top half of the sandwich with 1-2 T. goat cheese and additional pesto, if you'd like. Put the two halves together and pack it up for lunch.


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