The one time I ate scallops, I couldn't help thinking wow, these taste like cooked cauliflower stalks, plus the texture and flavor are so similar! And so this recipe was born – cauliflower scallops. This is the vegan version of your go-to restaurant indulgence.
Why this Recipe Works
Cauliflower stalks make an excellent dupe for scallops in every way, from the appearance to the taste to the texture. When steamed, cauliflower stalks soften and take on that tender, buttery texture scallops have.
The amazing thing about this recipe is that you don't have to add any flavoring or spices to make them taste great – they're perfect with just a little flavorless oil and some salt and pepper.
Most people throw the stalk away, so this is a great way to cook a delicious meal from what would otherwise be wasted! The only downside to this recipe is that one cauliflower stalk only really feeds one person, so what used to get thrown out just became a delicacy!
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How to Make this Recipe
Take your fresh cauliflower head and remove the florets. You can set them aside for another recipe, or blend them into cauliflower rice or a pizza crust.
Trim the side of the stalk so that the stalk is a uniform thickness all the way down. It is OK if the bottoms of the floret stalks remain there. Remember to trim off the woody bottom part of the cauliflower, too.
The idea is to keep as much of the cauliflower on the stalk as possible, but you also want each piece to be a similar size - both in height and diameter.
Note: Trimming off the bottoms of the florets is cosmetic only. Just keep uniformity in mind.
Now cut the stalk into 1-inch thick discs to recreate that scallop thickness. Add them to a steamer and steam until they are fork-tender, which should take about 5-10 minutes.
Next, heat 1 tablespoon of flavorless oil (you can also use butter) in a non-stick or cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add in the steamed cauliflower discs.
Season the cauliflower with a little salt and pepper and sear the top and bottom until they are golden brown. It usually takes 1-3 minutes per side.
Note: You can push it past golden brown and get a little more of a char, which is delicious, too.
Serve with a delicious salad and enjoy this vegan delight!
You can consume the cauliflower florets raw and they're great as a snack with a dip or with other veggies. I don't recommend eating the stalk raw though!
It can, but these cauliflower scallops are meant to be cooked and eaten fresh. That's when they taste the best.
Yes, cauliflower is a carbohydrate. It is a low-carb vegetable and is very popular in vegetarian diets – when ground down it can be used as a rice substitute.
Scallops are considered a delicacy by many, and are in really high demand. They are also in low supply relative to the demand, which drives their price up.
Step up your vegan recipe repertoire with these versatile options!
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- 1 cauliflower stalk
- flavorless oil like canola, vegetable, sunflower seed, or avocado. Butter also works.
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the florets from the cauliflower and set them aside for another recipe.
- Trim the stalk so the sides are close to parallel to each other. It is OK if the bottoms of the floret stalks remain. You want to keep as much of the cauliflower as possible, but you want each piece to be a similar size. Also, trim the woody part off the bottom of the stalk.
- Cut the stalk into 1-inch thick discs. Add them to your steamer and steam until fork-tender, 5-10 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick or cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add in the steamed cauliflower discs. Season with salt and pepper and sear the top and bottom until golden brown, 1-3 mintues per side.