Cauliflower and Kimchi Sandwiches

These cauliflower and kimchi sandwiches are like grown-up grilled cheese to the nth degree. They’re stuffed with almost sweetly roasted cauliflower, pungent kimchi, and melted cheese aplenty.

Six sections of cauliflower and kimchi sandwiches cut to show the filling.

Cauliflower and kimchi sandwiches may initially seem an unlikely combination. But try this grown-up grilled cheese stuffed with roasted cauliflower and tangy kimchi. As one of our recipe testers said, “After eating this, it will be hard to return to plain grilled cheese sandwiches.” Amen.–Angie Zoobkoff

Cauliflower and Kimchi Sandwiches

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Serves 2
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  • For the roasted cauliflower
  • For the cauliflower and kimchi sandwiches


Make the roasted cauliflower

Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).

Working close to the stem, cut or snap off large bunches of florets of cauliflower. Depending on their size, halve or quarter them so that you’ve got a flat surface or two. Cut the white core into pieces a bit smaller than the florets.

Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle generously with oil, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and toss to evenly coat.

Transfer the cauliflower to the oven and roast until tender and caramelized at some edges, 30 to 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

Make the cauliflower and kimchi sandwiches

In a medium bowl, combine the roasted cauliflower, kimchi, and oil. Toss to evenly coat and season with salt and black pepper.

In a wide skillet over medium heat, warm just enough oil to cover the surface of the skillet. Spread one side of each slice of the bread with the mayonnaise and place the bread, mayo-slicked side up, in the skillet. Divide the cauliflower mixture between 2 of the mayo-slicked slices. Place the cheese on the other 2 slices. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Tester tip: If you prefer crisper bread and a more pleasantly squished filling on your grilled cheese, try making this in your panini press or even your waffle maker.

Using a spatula, carefully transfer the cauli-topped bread to individual plates and then top them with the cheese- and mayo-slicked slices of bread. Smoosh gently, slice in half or quarters, and serve hot.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Mmm…you had me at kimchi. These were awesome, flavor-forward, super-filling, and healthy sandwiches! The bread I chose was a Jewish rye, and I loved the flavor combo. The earthiness of the rye complemented the sweet cauliflower and acidic kimchi quite nicely.

My only criticism would be the number of dishes for, what in my house would be, lunch. I had a ton of cauliflower, enough for 1 to 2 more sandwiches. I think you could roast half the amount of cauliflower on 1 sheet pan and, right on that sheet pan, toss on the kimchi and olive oil and toss to combine before spooning them on the sams (that saves dirtying a second sheet pan and a mixing bowl). That’s more reasonable for 2 sandwiches.

I used shredded cheese and if I had it to do over, I would either use slices to blanket the mixture (as the recipe is written) or mix shredded cheese with the cauliflower and kimchi so it would bind as it melted.

The carnivore in me might have enjoyed a couple slices of thick bacon for a hit of crunch and salt, but not required to still have a great sam. And I never think to use kimchi in a warm execution. It’s typically a cold condiment in our house. I loved that lesson.

This recipe was a definitely a hit, the flavors, the creativity, the healthy aspect . . . cut back on the dishes and we’ve got ourselves a winner!

Love grilled cheese and want to eat your vegetables?! This then is the sandwich for you! After eating this, it will be hard to return to plain grilled cheese sandwiches.

I made the roasted cauliflower right before making the sandwiches, so my cauliflower was still warm when I began to prep my sandwiches. I used a bakery loaf of multigrain sandwich bread and a slightly smoky, definitely good melting Cheddar. The side with the roasted cauliflower mix was nicely golden brown after 3 minutes of cooking, but the side with the cheese was not yet melted after 3 minutes; as a result, I removed the roasted cauliflower halves first, and then followed two minutes later with the cheese halves. When I closed up the sandwiches and went to slice them in half, much of the roasted cauliflower filling fell out, though it was still a big fat sandwich. Instead of the sandwich bread next time, I might try a fluffier bread, such as a soft-ish wheaty roll, and hollow out some of the insides, so the filling will fit better, but this is a small issue for a big delicious sandwich. I might try this with a mix of cauliflower and broccoli in the future, or even roasted broccoli rabe, which I think would be terrific with the kimchi.

Note that my roasted cauliflower took a full 45 minutes to become tender, so it would be good to plan for this if making the cauliflower right before the sandwiches as I did.


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  1. This could potentially be stunning visually if made with the vibrant purple cauliflower now appearing at farmers markets!

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