Use Cauliflower For A Vegetarian Spin On Chicken Parmesan

Cauliflower is the secret ingredient to a delicious vegetarian version of chicken Parmesan. Whether you follow a vegetarian diet, have lots of cauliflower you need to use before it turns bad, or simply want to hop on the cauliflower bandwagon, this substitution will not leave you disappointed. Recently, there has been an overload of products with the formerly-overlooked vegetable, such as cauliflower pizza crusts and pastas. It makes sense because the vegetable has a mild, nutty taste, so it can easily withstand other flavors in a variety of dishes. For a delicious cauliflower parmesan, there's a bit of prep work, but you can also refer to our original recipe for Crispy Cauliflower Parmesan made by Tasting Table recipe developer Katie Rosenhouse.

Why does cauliflower work as an alternative to chicken? For starters, when it is sliced into thick pieces and cooked, its texture becomes meaty and tender, which almost imitates that of chicken. It's obviously not exactly like real poultry, but it's close enough. Depending on the recipe, you might panfry or roast the veggie first to ensure it has crispy edges. Cauliflower is dense, so it will hold up to the sauce and cheese that makes up a delicious and satisfying parmesan. Trust us, if you use this vegetable right, you won't miss the chicken at all.

Making cauliflower Parmesan

As we said, cauliflower is a great vegetarian alternative to chicken for many reasons, including its texture after it's cooked. In order to achieve the meaty texture with a parmesan recipe, don't cut it too thin or it might turn soggy. Grab a serrated knife (it'll make the process much easier) then cut the cauliflower lengthwise into ¾-inch to 1-inch slices. Another perk to using cauliflower is that it's low in calories and fat, but high in fiber and nutrients like vitamin C. All of these details make this vegetarian version of the Italian-American classic filling and nourishing, but lighter compared to what you're used to when eating chicken parmesan. 

We've got a few tips for this dish before you head to the grocery store to grab the ingredients. Make sure the cauliflower is good before you start cooking. The head of the cauliflower should be firm without any soft spots. Look for brown or black spots or a mushy texture, all signs of cauliflower that's past its prime. You should also reach for the largest head at your supermarket, so you have enough to slice.