Sep 4, 2014

blackened cauliflower w/ roasted garlic pesto burger

Day 4 of #VeganMoFo #burgers is a Blackened Cauliflower Burger with Roasted Garlic Pesto.

By now we have all been privy to the notion that vegetables can become "steaks" and consider this my hat being thrown into the pile of already fast accumulating hats.

This recipe differs in a few ways. One, the cauliflower is first steamed to just shy of being tender, seasoned with blackening spice and then sauteed until tender and succulent.

The second difference is the Roasted Garlic Pesto. Put roasted garlic into a pesto and it becomes a hard to resist condiment.

That's not all, though. This burger is served with Garlic-Lemon Potatoes, which also happens to be an integral part of the recipe because the garlic for the pesto is roasted with the potatoes. Forget plain old fries! Bam! Side dish complete at the same time the burgers are. That's how we roll during MoFo!

Blackened Cauliflower Burger with Roasted Garlic Pesto
Serves 4

1 large (about 2 pounds) cauliflower, green leaves removed, kept whole
Blackening spice, recipe below
2 pounds new potatoes, halved
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable broth, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for sauteeing
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 whole heads garlic, cut in half through the middle
¼ cup toasted walnuts
1 cup fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh spinach, plus more for garnish
4 ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
Slices of red onion

1. Preheat oven to 425-degrees F. Cut the whole head of cauliflower into 1-inch slices through the stem. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of blackening spice and steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower to a baking dish and rub the remaining blackening spice over both sides of the slices. Set aside.
2. Toss the potatoes with ¼ cup of broth, 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice, dried basil and ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Transfer to a baking dish, cut side down and tuck the garlic halves, cut side down among the potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, flip the potatoes and garlic over and continue to bake until tender, about 15 more minutes. Remove the garlic from the dish, cool enough to handle and pop out the garlic bulbs by gently squeezing the heads.
3. Combine the garlic, nuts, fresh basil, spinach, 3 tablespoons broth, ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper, to taste, in a personal blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower slices and cook until blackened and the cauliflower is tender, about 3 minutes per side.
5. Make the burgers by spreading each bottom bun with the pesto, topping with a few slices of spinach and slices of red onion. Add a cauliflower steak and spread with more pesto. Top with the bun and serve with the roasted potatoes.

Blackening Spice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Grind all the ingredients in a spice grinder or personal blender until finely ground.

© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


  1. That looks absolutely delicious. I love cauliflower and now I really want one of those burgers. YUM!

  2. These look amazing! I've never used cauliflower as the burger pattie - definitely going to try it.

    1. It's unique burger recipe month .) Thanks, littleveganbear!

  3. Wow!! Those look SO good, definitely making them on our next burger night! Love that the roasting of the garlic is also done with the potatoes!

  4. I dig hats, oh and cauliflower. Blackened cauliflower is the new blackened.

  5. I love cauliflower and all the amazing things that can be done with it, these look amazing.

  6. This looks so good! i'm craving comfort food and this might just fit that need :)


Thanks for your comment! I'll check if it's spam and post if it is not. I appreciate your time and effort for commenting! ~ Zsu