Faux “Country-fried-steak-like” cauliflower

Colorado veggie stats:

  • On average, Coloradan’s only eat 2 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The US recommendation is 5 or more servings a day to prevent diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
  • 33% of Denver families eat less than 1 serving of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Only 17% of Denver Public School teens eat enough vegetables.

An interesting challenge for me is to figure out how to get kids and teens to eat their veggies.  Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about the new trend called “veggie-centric” meals. Instead of the usual protein as the main course on your plate, veggies are becoming the star of the show.  Not only are chef’s focusing on making these nutrition-filled foods the center of the plate, they also want them to taste delicious. My hope is that this trend will encourage Colorado kids/teens to eat more of them. Fingers crossed! And since I’m such a fruit and vegetable nerd, I love it that “veggies” are becoming cool again.

As an alternative to a large portion of steak on their plate, your students can make nutrition-filled “cauliflower steaks” – pun intended.   Cauliflower is one of those foods that you can eat a big chunk of and it affords little calories. Plus it’s very filling!  It has a rich, buttery taste when cooked and adds a healthy boost of Vitamin C, to whatever recipe you are making.

Here’s the facts: 1 cup of whole, raw organic cauliflower provides 77% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C, only 25 calories, zero fat and it is a good source of fiber.   It also contains protein, and a small amount of calcium and iron. Cauliflower is 92% water, which helps your students maintain a healthy weight.

So on to the cauliflower steaks.  Here is a “yummy” faux “fried-chicken-like” cauliflower recipe you can make with your students.  One they will enjoy for sure!



Faux “Country-fried-steak-like” cauliflower  

Servings: 3-4 (1 steak each)


1 large head cauliflower (about 1 – ½ pounds)  
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsweetened non-GMO soymilk
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup Italian style panko breadcrumbs (I used Ian’s)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano – a little pricey but well worth the flavor!)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil to sprinkle on steaks
¼ cup Italian parsley and 1 lemon cut into 4 wedges for garnish




  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Using a chef’s knife, trim the green leaves from the bottom of the cauliflower and cut off the bottom of the stem. Leave the rest of the stem intact as it will hold the florets together to make the steaks.
  3. Starting on the right side cut off the end piece as these florets will fall off easily and won’t form a steak. Allow students to eat discarded pieces or use them in another recipe. Then begin to cut the rest of the cauliflower into 1 inch thick slices or steaks. You should end up with 3-4 steaks total. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_wU30qwC3Q
  4. Whisk together the egg and soymilk in a wide, shallow bowl (similar to what you would use to make French toast).
  5. Pour the flour onto a large plate by itself.
  6. Combine the panko, parmesan cheese, mustard powder and salt and pepper on a separate large plate.
  7. Start with the flour plate. Coat each side of the steak with flour and then dip both sides into the egg mixture.
  8. Once completely covered, press each side of the steak into the panko plate mixture. Use your hands to press hard, so that the cauliflower is well-covered with the panko mixture.
  9. Place the steaks on the baking sheet and lightly sprinkle the top of each cauliflower steak with olive oil.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip steaks, top again with olive oil and then bake for another 15 minutes or until cauliflower is a golden brown color.
  11. While the steaks are baking, chop the Italian parsley. Once cooked, cover the steaks with chopped parsley and a sprinkle of lemon juice.
  12. I add a tablespoon of Just Mayo (vegan mayonnaise) to the plate for a creamy dipping sauce.

Recipe adopted from: http://ohmyveggies.com/crispy-parmesan-cauliflower-steaks/

Nutrients in this recipe vs. a country fried steak Pattie (w/o gravy):

 This recipe contains

  • 168% of the daily recommended amount for Vitamin C – CF steak Pattie has zero.
  • It has fewer calories and is low in saturated fat.
  • It is an excellent source of fiber (7 ½ grams compared to 0 in a country fried steak).
  • It contains the same amount of protein as the CF steak
  • It has significantly more calcium (23% vs. 0% in the steak patty)
  • It contains 19% of the daily recommended amount for iron.

Fruit-Sweetened Salad Dressing

I recently read a recipe from a cookbook written by teens whose favorite dressing is a caramel salad dressing (they ask you to add caramel-flavored syrup or ice cream topping to the recipe to sweeten it). Yeah, I know it was written teen and that’s what they like, but for some reason this seemed like conflicting ingredients to me – healthy salad – caramel dressing. Although it made me cringe to think about how sweet this would be on salad, I could see where they were coming from.  Teens like sweetness!

So what better way to honor their sweet palates than to make a sweet salad dressing?  Believe me, I’m not suggesting that you all run out and get super-sweet syrup for your student’s salad recipes.  However, there are other ways that you can make dressings sweet.  One of my favorite ways is to add “fresh” fruit to the dressing.  This way you get the sweetness from the fruit and fiber to help prevent the rapid rise in blood sugar levels resulting in groggy and cranky teens, craving more sweetness.

I love using mango in these types of recipes.  They are one of my all-time favorite “bridge foods.”  You know the time of the year when most of the winter fruit is gone and we are waiting for the summer fruits to arrive.

A whole mango contains almost 200% of the daily recommendation for Vitamin C, 25% of the daily recommendation for Vitamin A and is an excellent source of fiber!

So here is a great recipe you can make with your students.  If you want students to make it their own recipe, have them experiment with swapping out the mango with other fruit (e.g. use pears, apples or oranges), or exchanging the cilantro for other herbs (e.g. basil or lime). Have them add fresh, hot Fresno peppers for a spicy flavor or use ½ tablespoon honey instead of the orange juice to make the recipe even sweeter.


Sweet Mango Salad Dressing

Serves: 4


  • 2 ataulfo mangoes – skin and pit removed
  • 1 clove garlic – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • ¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice* (not from concentrate and without added sugars)
  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


       *As an alternative, use the juice squeezed from ½ of a “fresh” orange or tangerine.


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend for a few seconds until blended, but not frothy.
  3. Serve over a spinach salad that may include sweet onions, tomatoes, eggs, avocados or sliced almonds.


This salad dressing is an excellent source of Vitamin C (46%), a good source of Vitamin A and contains a small amount of calcium and iron.