Jamika Pessoa's Cauliflower Parm

Forget chicken, try cauliflower parm instead with this recipe.

cauliflower parm
5 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced plus 1/2 clove, grated)
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
1 can whole peeled tomatoes (crushed)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
1 large head cauliflower (leaves removed)
1 lb fresh mozzarella
1 bunch basil leaves
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup toasted panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parsley (minced)

To make the sauce:

Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, onions, and minced garlic and season with salt. Cook the onions and garlic until translucent, about 6 minutes.

Stir in the fennel and red pepper flakes. Add the tomato paste, cooking for another 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and add in the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 30 minutes.

To make the cauliflower:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Cut the cauliflower in half through the core. Cut each half again in half so that you have 4 cauliflower cutlets, about 1 1/2-inch thick. Trim the round edges so that the cauliflower lays flat.

Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and when hot, place the cauliflower into the pan. Sear on both sides until golden brown and caramelized, about 2 or 3 minutes per side.

Ladle in 2 cups of the tomato sauce and reduce the heat to medium-low. Place the Parmesan, breadcrumbs grated garlic, and parsley into a small bowl and stir to combine then season with salt and pepper. Lay the mozzarella cheese over the top of the cauliflower and top with the breadcrumb mixture.

Place in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and the cauliflower is slightly tender when pierced with a knife in the center, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Top with basil leaves and serve.


Try a vegetarian swap on this classic Italian dish by making cauliflower parm. This delicious dish is the ultimate weeknight dinner recipe and can be made in just one hour.