Cauliflower Steak Sandwiches with Red Pepper Aioli

Roasted cauliflower “steaks” make a satisfying and filling vegetarian sandwich. This recipe boosts the flavor factor with a quick and easy aioli sauce, sliced tomatoes, and spicy arugula.

When thick slabs of cauliflower, called steaks, are roasted until golden, they become the stars of this vegetarian sandwich.

How to Turn Cauliflower into a 5-Star Sandwich

When cauliflower steaks are baked at high heat, they take on a sweet, irresistible succulence in the center, with crispy golden edges. You hardly need anything else, but of course, there’s more.

A red pepper aioli (read: garlicky mayonnaise) guilds the lily, and layered with tomatoes between two slices of tangy sourdough toast, these steaks give you a sandwich to cheer about.


To cut cauliflower steaks, use a large chef’s knife to carve off the bottom leaves and base of the head so it stands upright.

Stand it on a cutting board, and starting at one side of the head, cut it into slices that are about 1/2-inch thick. Some of the cauliflower florets will not be attached to the base—I call them scraps—they are still good to roast or to make cauliflower rice.

Flat, smaller pieces, can also be roasted with the large steaks—they can be used to build your sandwich. If the head is very large, cut it in half, lay it with the flat side down, and slice across it to make large half-steaks.


In the old French tradition, aioli simply meant a hefty amount of garlic mashed within an inch of its life in a mortar, with droplets of olive oil added painstakingly to form a fluffy paste.

Egg yolks and lemon juice came along more recently. Now you have an emulsion akin to mayonnaise. Aioli is commonly thought of as simply garlicky mayo, sometimes with different flavorings, though you’ll get lots of arguments about its origins and local variations (regions of Spain and Italy being fierce contenders).


This aioli is made with roasted sweet red pepper and a hint of hot red pepper flake to give it a little spice.

Rather than starting with garlic and egg yolks to make a mayonnaise-like aioli, I’ve taken a few shortcuts to make your life (and mine) easier, specifically by using store-bought mayonnaise. This means you can substitute dairy-free mayonnaise if you are vegan or lactose intolerant.

I’ve provided instructions on how to roast a pepper for this aioli, but you can skip that step and substitute peppers from a jar if you like. All the ingredients for the aioli are whirled in a food processor to make a creamy sauce, slightly thinner than mayonnaise.

I advocate using only one clove of garlic, because the flavor intensifies as it sits, but if you are a true garlic lover, you could add more. You will most likely have some sauce left over, so save it to drizzle over fish, hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, or roasted vegetables.


If you have extra aioli, you can store it for up to a week in the refrigerator. Like store-bought mayonnaise, it should keep well, but not as long as a jar of mayonnaise, because you have added red pepper and garlic. Like mayonnaise, aioli doesn’t do well in the freezer, because it tends to separate.


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  • Cauliflower Fried “Rice”
  • Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos with Ranch Sauce

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