Veggies Are for Salads: Cauliflower is not a replacement for chicken


Ella Ashby

The Chick-fil-A cauliflower chicken sandwich isn’t the meal for me.

Ella Ashby, Opinion Writer

I’m no stranger to cauliflower substitutions for different foods. Cauliflower rice, cauliflower mashed potatoes, cauliflower ‘teriyaki chicken,’ and it’s honestly my worst nightmare. I’ll admit, I went into this review with a heavy bias on the use of cauliflower as chicken. When I heard the announcement of the Chick-fil-A cauliflower sandwich, my jaw dropped. “Look again, it’s cauliflower,” the advertisements say. There’s nothing worse than biting into what you think is a piece of chicken, only to find some kind of mushy tasteless cauliflower abomination. And I won’t judge you for wanting to eat healthy, that’s fine, but you can’t convince me that anyone actually believes this tastes like the real thing.. You’re a liar and a fraud, and I won’t fall for your false chicken lies.
In order to properly pass judgment on the cauliflower sandwich, I unfortunately had to purchase and eat it. I will give the credit owed to Chick-fil-A, the sandwich from looks alone vaguely resembles Chick-fil-A’s original chicken sandwich, but the overpowering smell of cauliflower ruined the illusion pretty quickly. Biting into this sandwich was the dealbreaker for me. My theory behind the idea that cauliflower can be used as a substitute for different foods is that when cauliflower is overcooked, it turns into a horrible mushy blob of what used to be a decent vegetable that can be seasoned and shaped into basically whatever you want. The breading that you taste in an average Chick-fil-a sandwich overpowers the subtle nothing-taste that the cauliflower has. And while the cauliflower wasn’t soggy, it still wasn’t a pleasant texture. Is a cauliflower sandwich healthier for you than a chicken sandwich? Sure. Is it good for the soul? Absolutely not. You shouldn’t have to lie to yourself to make yourself eat vegetables. The technique of doing all these ridiculous things to cauliflower reminds me of a parent trying to get their picky child to eat vegetables, hiding mashed-up carrots and broccoli in baked goods like brownies, which is totally disrespectful to the brownies. You’re not 5 years old, and there are plenty of things you can do without destroying the sanctity of this poor plant.
I can already hear the response to this hot take. “But cauliflower is a good vegetarian option! Some people don’t eat chicken!” Then why make fake chicken? it just seems counterproductive to make a copycat version of a food you claim not to eat. If you’re vegetarian and crave chicken so badly that you’ll accept an overcooked and over-seasoned cauliflower blob as a suitable thing to put in your body, maybe you should reconsider your dietary choices. I should also mention that due to its cooking environment, Chick-fil-a’s cauliflower sandwich isn’t even actually vegetarian. Food doesn’t just exist to fuel us, food brings us together and makes us happy. If you want to diet, that’s completely your choice, but keep your cauliflower ‘chicken’ ten feet away from me at all times.