This roast cauliflower sandwich proves vegetables can be hearty and even indulgent

Joe Yonan

THE WASHINGTON POST – The cartoonish idea of a stacked-high sandwich is so ingrained in our culture it has a name: a Dagwood, referring to the Blondie comic-strip character known for entering a sort of fever dream as he dreams of, assembles and consumes them.

I’ve devoured my share of Dagwoods over the years, and before I stopped eating meat they were of course layered with it, in various forms. More recently, I’ve made a point of trying to demonstrate, that a vegetarian sandwich can also be hearty and even indulgent – messy in the best possible way.

Roast cauliflower – seasoned well and cooked until it’s nicely browned – and sauteed chard provide the bulk. Smoked Gouda, melted on the hot cauliflower after it comes out of the oven, offers richness (as does mayo). Hoagie rolls, lightly toasted, are the backdrop. But it’s Peppadews that seal the deal. These South African pickled peppers are a little sweet and a little spicy, and they elevate any dish they touch. They’re the spark that keeps your palate interested, bite after bite, until you look at the crumbs left on your plate and wonder what just happened and when it will happen again.

Cauliflower Sandwiches With Smoked Gouda and Peppadews. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST


Active: 30 minutes | Total: 45 minutes

Four servings

These hearty vegetarian subs are flavourful and comforting. If you can’t find Peppadews – a trademarked brand of pickled, sweet and slightly hot Juanita peppers from South Africa – substitute hot cherry peppers or, for more heat, pickled jalapeños.


One large cauliflower head, leaves removed, trimmed

Three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Three-quarter teaspoon kosher salt, divided

Half teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

One cup shredded smoked Gouda or provolone cheese (may substitute vegan cheese of your choice)

One medium shallot, thinly sliced

One large garlic clove, thinly sliced

One pinch crushed red pepper flakes

One bunch rainbow chard, stemmed and torn into two-inch pieces

Four hoagie rolls

Four tablespoons mayonnaise (may substitute vegan mayonnaise)

One third cup drained and chopped Peppadew peppers (may substitute hot cherry peppers or pickled jalapeños)


Place a large, rimmed baking sheet on the oven’s centre rack and preheat to 450 degrees.

Chop the cauliflower into florets. In a large bowl, toss them with two tablespoons of the oil, half teaspoon of the salt and a quarter teaspoon of the black pepper.

When the oven has finished preheating, transfer the cauliflower to the baking sheet.

Roast the cauliflower for 15 to 20 minutes, until browned on the bottom. Gently toss the florets, then continue roasting for five to 10 minutes, until golden brown and tender. Remove from the oven and divide the cauliflower into four piles on the baking sheet. Top each pile with a quarter of the shredded cheese and let it begin to melt over the warm cauliflower. Leave the oven on.

While the cauliflower is roasting, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining one tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, the remaining quarter teaspoon salt and quarter teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot is tender and translucent, two to three minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the chard leaves, and cook, stirring frequently, until just wilted, three minutes.

Slice the hoagie rolls lengthwise almost all the way through, keeping the hinge intact. Place in the oven, directly on the racks, to lightly toast, two to three minutes.

To assemble the sandwiches, spread one tablespoon mayonnaise on the cut side of each roll. Transfer a cauliflower pile and cheese to the bottom half of each roll, then top with the sauteed chard and Peppadew peppers. Close the rolls and serve warm.

Nutrition | Calories: 572; Total Fat: 34g; Saturated Fat: 9g; Cholesterol: 33 mg; Sodium: 1076mg; Carbohydrates: 54g; Dietary Fibre: 9g; Sugars: 11g; Protein: 13g.