An aerial photo of chicken fried steak with cauliflower gravy on a platter
Photo by Kristen Kilpatrick

Topping Alex Snodgrass’s list of comfort food faves is chicken-fried steak, the dish she craved most when pregnant and the one that she was most determined to making Whole30-compliant: “It took a handful of tries to get it right; getting the breading right on the steak was hard,” she says. “The cauliflower gravy came together much better.”

Serves 4


For the Creamy Cauliflower Gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (1 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cups fresh cauliflower florets (1 large head)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the Chicken-Fried Steak:

  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca starch
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup avocado oil
  • 4 (6-ounce) beef cube steaks
  • Dried thyme, for serving


Make the gravy:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the ghee. Add the onion, salt, and thyme and cook until the onion is tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the cauliflower florets and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the gravy cook, covered, until the cauliflower is fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a high-powered blender and blend until very smooth. Stir in the black pepper. Cover and keep warm until ready to use.

Make the steaks:

In a bowl, combine the almond flour, tapioca starch, 2 teaspoons of the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Using a fork, stir to combine and break up any clumps.

In a separate shallow bowl, combine the eggs and whisk until well combined.

Pat the steaks dry then sprinkle on both sides with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat.

Just before frying the individual steaks, dip them in the egg wash, then dredge them through the flour mixture to evenly coat. Shake off excess.

Working in batches, fry each steak in the oil until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Use a sturdy spatula to transfer the fried steaks to a wire rack to cool.

To serve, smother the steaks with the gravy and garnish with a sprinkle of thyme and a couple cracks of black pepper.

The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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