When chef-owner Chris Gruebele designed Verdura’s menu, he sketched a picture of what would become the restaurant’s popular General Pow Cauliflower ($14). “The idea for the whole menu was based on that one drawing,” he says.
The multilayered dish starts with a mound of fragrant jasmine rice under a hefty roasted cauliflower steak doused in Pow sauce – a pleasing mix of tamari, ginger, garlic and rice wine vinegar punctuated with hoisin sauce and Sriracha. “I took everything I liked from General Tso sauce and kung pao and blended it together,” Gruebele says.
Next, he scatters sautéed Korean Brussels sprouts studded with house-made vegan kimchi atop the cauliflower steak, using daikon radish in lieu of fish sauce to lend “funkiness.” He also adds peanuts breaded with bits of nori (seaweed) and blistered shishitos, finishing with a splash of tangy chimichurri sauce flecked with cilantro and parsley. The mashup of vegetables and Asian-inspired sauces play well together, and there’s just enough heat to light up the taste buds. Gruebele and co-owner Julia Chugerman often suggest General Pow Cauliflower to guests who are hungry, but can’t make a decision. “It’s a solid dish that’s super flavorful,” he says.
Verdura Plant-Based Eatery
5555 N. Seventh St., Phoenix