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Tommy C. Simmons (an enthusiastic cook)
Photographs Tommy C. Simmons

Got a little crazy in the kitchen at lunch – that’s excusable since it is Mardi Gras Tuesday as I write this. Decided to try and create a vegetable-focused version of a Philadelphia cheese steak. My inspiration came from a recipe for Cauliflower Cheese Steak featured in a new vegetable cookbook, “The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods” by Erin Gleeson.

Gleeson’s Cauliflower Cheese Steak is served sans bread. I presented mine on a warmed tortilla. The tortilla base is superfluous. The vegetables are delicious fork food. There is little to connect my Cauliflower & Collards Cheese Steak to the traditional Philadelphia cheese steak except cheese and onions. No matter, I think everyone will like this new all vegetable cheese steak version. The slivers of sautéed collards really make this a winning winter dish.

Cauliflower & Collards Cheese Steak
Home kitchen-tested recipe
Adapted recipe by Tommy C. Simmons, who was inspired by Erin Gleeson’s recipe for Cauliflower Cheese Steak in her new cookbook, “The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods.”

Serves 2. 
1 small head cauliflower
Olive oil
Sea salt or Kosher salt
Black pepper
Red pepper
Red pepper flakes
Half a sweet onion, thinly sliced
Half a bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
Handful of cherry tomatoes, or a tomato chopped into bite-size pieces
10 small leaves of collard greens, trim out the veins and cut into thin strips or slivers
1 or 2 cloves garlic (about 1 tsp.), finely chopped
¼ cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 green onion, sliced, for garnish

  1. Slice cauliflower into ¾-inch thick steaks. Put cauliflower pieces in a large bowl. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over cauliflower. Season with salt, peppers and pepper flakes and toss to coat cauliflower pieces well.
  2. Oil a large baking pan with additional olive oil and spread seasoned cauliflower pieces in the pan, not touching.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes per side, turning a couple of times or as needed, until cauliflower is fork tender and golden.
  4. While cauliflower is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté sliced onions, bell peppers and tomatoes until softened and starting to caramelize. Stir in collard green slivers and garlic and continue to stir and cook until everything is tender and browned on the edges.
  5. Place roasted cauliflower on plate. Top with sautéed onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and collards. Sprinkle grated cheese and garnish with green onion slices. If cheese doesn’t immediately melt, run into microwave for 30 seconds or less until cheese is melted. Serve warm.


Testing note: Can also be served atop a tortilla or sliced cornbread. 

Posted March 13, 2015

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