This easy Cauliflower Parmesan is the perfect vegetarian comfort food. Crispy baked cauliflower steaks covered in marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.
Move over, chicken parmesan! There’s a new comfort food dish on the block. Cauliflower Parmesan is vegetarian-friendly, easy to make, and makes a show-stopping healthy main course for any meal.
To put ‘healthy’ and ‘comfort food’ in the same sentence sounds like an oxymoron, right? I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out: What if you could enjoy a dish with all the amazing Italian-inspired flavors you love, but without all the carbs and fat that you don’t? Cauliflower Parmesan is the healthy comfort food recipe of your dreams.
This low-carb dish is made with cauliflower steaks that are dredged in egg wash, coated with a cheesy breadcrumb mixture, then baked to crispy golden perfection. The crispy cauliflower steaks are then smothered with flavorful marinara sauce and gooey mozzarella cheese for a final dish that nobody can resist.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect Meatless Monday recipe for a family meal or a delicious healthy comfort food recipe for your next dinner party, you can’t go wrong with Cauliflower Parmesan. Serve it up on its own or pair it with pasta, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash. This mouthwatering dish guarantees to please! Parmesan lovers will also want to check out this Healthy Eggplant Parmesan, Sheet Pan Chicken Parm, and Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats.
To make this mouthwatering dish, you will need the following key ingredients:
- Cauliflower. This nutrient-rich veggie is the star of our dish! It’s ultra versatile, so it adapts to our savory flavors brilliantly and tastes amazing when roasted.
- Breadcrumbs. I have found that Panko breadcrumbs yield the best results for a really crispy coating, but you can use any kind of breadcrumbs you prefer.
- Marinara sauce. If you don’t feel like making your own sauce from scratch, feel free to use store-bought instead. Both options work great.
- Cheese. Yes, please! You will need mozzarella for melting over the tops of your cauliflower steaks and parmesan to mix with the breadcrumbs for the crispy outer layer.
- Fresh basil. The ultimate garnish for any Italian dish, basil adds a ton of flavor that pairs beautifully with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
Here are some of my top tips and tricks to help you make this recipe:
- I recommend slicing your cauliflower steaks to 1” each to ensure that they don’t fall apart at any time during the dredging and cooking process.
- For an extra fancy (and flavorful!) dish, swap out the shredded mozzarella for a ball of fresh mozzarella and slice it into ½” rounds to melt on top of the cauliflower steaks.
- Wait until the end before adding salt to taste. Between the high levels of sodium in the parmesan cheese and the salt in your marinara sauce, you may find that you don’t need to add more salt.
- The flour allows the egg to stick to the cauliflower more easily and the egg acts as a binder for the breadcrumbs. By following this dredging method, the crispy breadcrumb coating will hold together much better.
- You can try making a lactose-free version with plant-based cheese alternatives instead of mozzarella and parmesan, but keep in mind this may alter the flavor.
What to Serve With This Dish
You can serve this healthy Italian-inspired recipe with just about anything you like, depending on whether you're serving it as a main course or a side dish. When serving Cauliflower Parmesan as the main course, I typically like to pair it with a simple salad and toasted garlic bread. When serving the dish as a side dish, I like to pair it with dishes like pasta, roast chicken, or steak.
Not quite sure what to pair this dish with? I’ve got you covered! Here are some of my favorite dishes to serve with Cauliflower Parmesan:
- Cheesy Broccoli Stuffed Chicken Breasts
- Healthy Caesar Salad
- Cucumber, Avocado, and Tomato Salad
- Easy Sauteed Mushrooms with Garlic Butter
- Best Sauteed Carrots
How to Store Cauliflower Parmesan
If you make too much and wind up with leftovers of this dish, you can easily store them to enjoy later. Before removing the coated cauliflower steaks from the baking sheet, make sure you let them cool down to room temperature. Once they’ve cooled, you can transfer them to an airtight storage container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
I don’t recommend freezing this dish, as the cheese can get clumpy and the marinara sauce can cause the cauliflower to get soggy. However, if you have leftover cauliflower steaks that have not been coated with sauce or cheese, you can store them in an airtight storage bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this delicious low-carb recipe:
The most common alternatives for this type of dish are chicken and eggplant, both of which can be used instead of cauliflower. However, you can get creative and use another veggie like portobello mushrooms or zucchini.
You can serve this dish as a main course with a side salad and/or garlic bread, or as a low-carb side dish with chicken, steak, or pasta. This dish is super versatile and can be paired with anything you like, but I typically like to keep the sides somewhat simple to let the cauliflower really shine.
Absolutely. While I do not recommend freezing cauliflower steaks with the sauce and cheese, you can easily freeze them on their own. The best way to store multiple cooked cauliflower steaks at once is to lay them out on a baking sheet and set them in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then, transfer the frozen cauliflower steaks to an airtight storage bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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- 1 head cauliflower (cut into 4 to 6 steaks 1 inch steaks)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (or all purpose)
- 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
- 3/4 cup marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set up the breading station. Start by placing the beaten eggs in a shallow dish. Place the flour in another shallow dish or plate. Finally, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes (if using) on a third plate or shallow dish.
Place on a prepared baking sheet sprayed with cooking sprayed or brushed with olive oil. Place the cauliflower steaks in the middle of the oven and cook for 15 minutes until lightly browned. Check to make sure the steaks are beginning to become tender, if they have softened at all, cook an additional 5 minutes.
Carefully flip the cauliflower steaks over. Spread the marinara sauce on top, about 2 tbsp per steak. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes. Cook for an additional ten minutes. Then turn the oven up to broil until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbling.. Garnish with fresh basil and season if needed.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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