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Dukkah Cauliflower Schnitzel

February 2022
Chef Charlie Layton coats cauliflower cutlets with fragrant dukkah bread crumbs for a crispy vegan schnitzel with a touch of harissa spice
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1 Tbs. sesame seed
1 Tbs. fennel seed
1 Tbs. cumin seed
1 Tbs. coriander seed
1 Tbs. caraway seed
2 Tbs. pumpkin seed
4 Tbs. sunflower seed
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup chickpea flour
1½ cups water
2 large cauliflower heads cut into four steaks (Cut the cauliflower in half along the stem and then cut down the outside of the stem, leaving two flat steaks about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. Be sure to keep the stem intact so each steak stays together. Save trimmings for another use.)
1-2 Tbs. avocado oil
2 lbs. cooked baby Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
1 red bell pepper, roasted on an open flame until charred, cooled, peeled, and cut into strips
4 Tbs. harissa paste, divided
Kosher salt
1 cup vegan mayonnaise, Follow Your Heart brand recommended
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Seeds from 1 pomegranate
A handful of arugula for garnish


Preheat oven to 350°F. 

To make the dukkah bread crumbs, place the seeds and the panko in a bowl and combine. Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, checking and stirring halfway. The seeds should be fragrant and the bread crumbs lightly toasted. Allow to cool slightly and then place everything in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to crack all the seeds and break down the bread crumbs slightly. 

In a medium-size bowl, combine the chickpea flour and water. 

In another bowl, place one quarter of the bread-crumb mixture. Working one by one, dip the cauliflower steaks into the chickpea flour and water mixture and then into the bread crumbs. You may need to repeat this process twice on each steak, depending on the desired thickness of the breading. Add more bread crumbs to the bowl after each steak. (Note: don’t put all the bread crumbs in at once as they will get gummy from the chickpea-flour mix drips.)

Place the breaded steaks on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate. This can be done up to two hours in advance.
Reduce the oven to 200°F and place a cooling rack on a baking sheet. 

Heat about 1/8 inch of avocado oil in a large heavy skillet, such as cast iron. When the oil is shimmering, add the cauliflower steaks, one or two at a time, depending on the size of the pan. (Note: be sure not to overcrowd.) 

Cook each steak for about five minutes on each side or until a tester goes in easily with no resistance and the bread crumbs are golden. Set the cooked steaks on the rack and into the oven to keep them warm and crispy while you cook the rest.

In a large sauté pan, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the potatoes. Sauté for three to four minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden. Reduce the heat to medium and add the roasted pepper and two tablespoons of the harissa paste. Stir to coat and season with salt. 

In a separate bowl, make a harissa aioli by combining the remaining two tablespoons of harissa paste with the vegan mayonnaise. Season with salt and lemon juice. 

To serve: place a cauliflower schnitzel on a plate and top with a quarter of the harissa potatoes. Drizzle with the harissa aioli, and top with a quarter of the pomegranate seeds and arugula.

Pro Tip: “For a slightly healthier version, drizzle the breaded cauliflower steaks with a little oil and roast them on a parchment-lined baking sheet for approximately 25 minutes, until golden and tender.” —Charlie Layton

Basic Kitchen
82 Wentworth St.