Recipe: Molè Spiced Cauliflower Sandwich with Tomatillo Sauce

We are sandwich lovers in our household, that's for sure. With our weird schedule, we usually find ourselves combining meals, having a lunch/dinner around 3 and then a small snack when we get home much later. We try to make those 3 PM meals a little more substantial in order to keep us going and we find that hearty sandwiches like this one usually fit the bill.

Mole Sandwich_.jpg

Cauliflower is not my favorite vegetable if I'm being honest but when it's coated in a molè rub, it's a game changer for me because it takes on this spicy and smoky flavor thanks to the rub and it makes it hard to resist. This sandwich started out as just a cauliflower sandwich but then we happened to have a black bean spread and tomatillo sauce in the fridge, so they joined the party as well. I've also included those recipes below. They tend to yield a lot, which is great because then I just stash the leftovers in the fridge for other future meals, sandwiches or even just to dip (also, both would be outstanding with eggs). I usually find that the more little bits that I have in the fridge, the easier it is for me to pull together easy meals when we're in a rush. Always a good thing.

Molè Rubbed Cauliflower Sandwiches with Chipotle Black Bean Spread 

Makes 4 Sandwiches

  • 1 head of cauliflower 
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup chipotle black bean spread (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup tomatillo yogurt sauce (recipe follows)
  • 4 slices of smoked cheddar cheese
  • Fresh Cilantro sprigs 
  • 4 sub rolls

Wash cauliflower and remove the green stems. Cut the cauliflower into four thick slices, reserving any bits for later use. In a large, non-stick skillet, combine the cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cinnamon and cocoa powder. Dry toast the spices on medium heat just until they become fragrant and you can begin to see little wisps of smoke (this happens fast, so be sure to keep an eye on them). Let the spices cool a bit and then use your hands to rub the spice blend thoroughly over the cauliflower slices. In the same large skillet, heat just enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet and then add the cauliflower. Season both sides generously with salt, and cook on medium heat, turning regularly to ensure even cooking until the cauliflower has softened and is cooked through (about 10-15 minutes). Place slices of cheese over the cauliflower and put a lid over the skillet to melt the cheese. 

While the cauliflower is cooking, slice the bread lengthwise and lightly toast. To assemble the sandwich, spread 1/4 cup of the black bean spread on each of the bottom pieces. Spread 1/4 cup tomatillo yogurt sauce on each of the other pieces. Place the cauliflower with melted cheese on top of the black bean spread and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs. Top the sandwich with the the other piece of bread. Enjoy immediately or wrap to enjoy later that day. 

Chipotle Black Bean Spread

This is a great, healthy condiment option that also doubles as a dip. It’s very easy to pull together and has that perfect combination of smoky heat and warm spices. You can make it as spicy as you want by adding more chipotle or, for a tamer version all together, you can omit it, but you’ll miss out on the smoky element that really makes this spread great. This makes enough for about 8 large sandwiches, or enough for a couple of sandwiches and a dip. 

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • The juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, adding a little water if needed to make a smooth spread. Season with salt to taste. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Tomatillo Yogurt Sauce

This sauce is one of my favorites to make. Tomatillos, if you haven’t had them or worked with them before, have this addicting tang that is enhanced by lime and cilantro. Yogurt rounds everything out and gives it a creaminess that makes it a perfect match for a sandwich with some heat to it. To make this sauce vegan, you can just omit the yogurt. This will make a fair amount, which is good, because it also doubles as a great dip for tortilla chips or fresh vegetables. 

  • 5-6 medium sized tomatillos, papery husks removed
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • The juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Wash the tomatillos and place them on the lined sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil on top and bake the tomatillos until they have browned and have shriveled up a bit and they have given off some of their liquid. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. 

Using a food processor or blender, add the tomatillos and their liquid along with the rest of the ingredients. Puree until smooth and well combined. Season to taste with salt. Will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.