Looking for a fancy dinner idea that takes minimal effort? Cauliflower wellington is your answer.
What’s a wellington anyways?
Oh jeeze where to begin here… wellingtons hail from the land of England. Traditionally they consist of some kind of meat, usually steak, then they’re coated in some kind of pâté or sauce, and lastly wrapped in puff pastry. I’ve never eaten a meat version of one, but I’ve had my fair share of Field Roast Wellingtons for Thanksgiving.
It’s the 2020s, and vegan wellingtons seem to be everywhere. I’ve seen beet wellingtons, mushroom wellingtons, lentil wellingtons you name it! This wellington is a pesto cauliflower version and it’s simply delightful.
Puff pastry is my new favorite thing
I’ve been blind to puff pastry until recently. I assumed something so flakey and decadent had to for sure have butter or eggs in it, but I was so wrong. I assume traditionally, puff pastry is packed with butter, but in the land of cheap processed food (United States), vegan puff pastry dough is super easy to come by.
My experimentation with puff pastry dough has only just begun, so you’ll have to hold tight for all the crazy ideas I have planted in the back of my mind.
In addition to cauliflower wellington, I’ve been experimenting with on a loose take of these spinach puffs from Connoisseurus Veg. I tried to make them into spinach artichoke puffs, but it needs more fine-tuning before I release it to the world.
A different kind of pesto
What’s my least favorite thing about pesto? Oh I’m so glad you asked. It’s so expensive to make! My friend introduced me to the idea of using spinach to stretch out your basil and it works like a charm. She also suggests using walnuts instead of pine nuts because to be frank, not many people can taste the difference.
I could eat this vegan pesto legit all day. With simple ingredients like basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, spinach, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, you can’t go wrong. If you end up liking the pesto recipe you can always double or triple it and use it as a spread on sandwiches or pizza or as a dip for crackers.
How to make cauliflower wellington
The process of making cauliflower wellington is way simpler than you’d think. The presentation of the dish is really a showstopper but in reality, very little effort is needed.
The first thing you’ll do is preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While you wait for it to preheat, take a puff pastry sheet out of the freezer. Next, you’ll remove all the leaves from a head of cauliflower and wash it well. Next you’ll line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray the entire head of cauliflower lightly with olive oil spray.
After the oven is preheated, you’ll simply place the entire head of cauliflower in the oven for about 35 minutes. You won’t want to take it out until the exterior reaches a nice golden brown color. When in doubt, leave it in for an extra 5 minutes!
While your cauliflower roasts, you’ll break out a food processor to make the pesto. Simply add all the ingredients and pulse to combine. I like the texture of my pesto to be a little grainy so I always allow for some tiny chunks. If you prefer super smooth pesto, you might want to try using a blender over a food processor. In my experience, this achieves a smoother pesto.
Once your cauliflower is roasted, remove it from the parchment paper. Spread your puff pastry sheet across the parchment paper and add the pesto on top reserving some for the bottom of the cauliflower. Carefully place the cauliflower upside-side down on the pastry dough and add any extra pesto to the bottom of the head. Next, you’ll bring the edges of the puff pastry in toward the center. If you feel like you have too much pastry across the bottom, you can remove the excess, just make sure there are no holes for the pesto to escape.
Once you seal the cauliflower wellington, you’ll flip it around so it sits right-side-up. Before you place it back in the oven to cook, coat the outside with a mixture of aquafaba (optional) and olive oil. You’ll want the wellington to cook for an additional 35 minutes. Again, if things don’t look golden brown, give it an additional 5-10 minutes. Your mouth will thank you!
Once your vegan wellington has reached a golden brown look, it’s ready to come out of the oven! Let cool for five minutes prior to serving.
Again, The most work you’ll probably have to do here is to be patient. The cauliflower and the wellington part do take a while to cook, but in the meantime, put on an episode of Seinfeld, pour a glass of wine, and take a load off. It’ll be ready to eat before you know it.
What can I serve with cauliflower wellington?
This main dish is pretty light, so I’d recommend going with a more hearty side. Perhaps these sour cream mashed potatoes would do the trick for you? Alternatively, if you’re thinking you’d like something less dense, you could try out these maple dijon Brussels sprouts. The world is your vegan oyster!
If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing your creations!
- 1 head cauliflower
- extra virgin olive oil spray
- 1 Tbsp aquafaba, (optional)
- 1 sheet vegan puff pastry
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees & remove puff pastry sheet from freezer to thaw. Remove leaves from cauliflower head, coat with olive oil spray and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
- While cauliflower roasts, place all pesto ingredients into a food processor or blender and combine.
- Unfold puff pastry sheet across a baking sheet lined with parchment parchment paper (I used the same one I baked the cauliflower on) and coat it evenly with pesto. place the cauliflower upside down on the puff pastry and add any remaining pesto sauce to the bottom of the head. Bring the edges of the puff pastry sheet together ensuring the bottom is sealed so pesto cannot escape. Flip the wellington right side up and coat with more olive oil spray and aquafaba if you have it on hand.
- Bake for an additional 35 minutes or until golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.