Perfectly cut and seasoned cauliflower steaks in the oven make a tasty alternative to a traditional steak. Discover how to transform this humble vegetable into a stunning main dish everyone will devour.
When it comes to eating less meat, finding suitable substitutes may be challenging, especially for specific dishes such as a juicy beef steak.
This roasted cauliflower steak is a hit every time I serve it! Even by the hard-core meat eaters.
- 💚 Why You Will Love This Recipe
- 🤔 What is Cauliflower Steak?
- 🛒 Ingredients You Need
- 🌿 Substitutions and Variations
- 🔪 How to Cut Cauliflower Steaks
- ✅ How to Make This Recipe
- 🍽️ What to Serve with Cauliflower Steak
- ❄️ How to Store
- ♻️️ Zero Waste Tips
- 🔪 Helpful Kitchen Tools & Gadgets
- 🌎 Sustainability Suggestions
- ➕ More Plant-Based Main Dishes
- 📖 Recipe
- Cauliflower Steaks (Baked or Grilled)
- 💬 Comments
💚 Why You Will Love This Recipe
- If you want to try a dish that tantalizes your savory taste buds, this is the one.
- The combination of cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, and pine nuts smothered in a pesto sauce will satisfy most carnivores' taste buds!
- Cauliflower steaks are easy to make.
- Uses simple, wholesome ingredients.
🤔 What is Cauliflower Steak?
Roasted Cauliflower is referred to as "steak" because the cauliflower is cut into steak-like slabs.
You won't mistake the taste for a steak, but it creates a hearty plant-based meal that serves up similar to a steak with the right mix of flavors and texture.
If cauliflower doesn't appeal, eggplant and portobello mushrooms are other "meaty" vegetables worth trying as a plant-based main dish.
🛒 Ingredients You Need
Cauliflower steaks in the oven are made with mostly fresh ingredients you can easily find at the market or grocery store.
Cauliflower: Choose a head of cauliflower without any brown spots. It should be firm and not feel wilted in the stems.
Thyme: We will be using dry and fresh thyme.
Shiitake mushrooms: This upscale, tasty mushroom adds a rich meaty flavor to the cauliflower steak.
Broccoli florets: This relative of cauliflower is chopped up into small pieces and used to add color and contrast to the plate.
Pine nuts: For the pesto but also to serve over the top of the oven cauliflower steaks for serving.
Fresh basil leaves: The ingredient that makes pesto taste so amazing!
Olive oil: We will be using this to make the homemade pesto. I would highly recommend using extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
Garlic cloves: Fresh garlic is essential.
Parmesan cheese: A traditional ingredient when making pesto, but if you prefer to stick with plant-based, you can use a vegan parmesan substitute such as a quarter-cup of nutritional yeast.
🌿 Substitutions and Variations
- Mushrooms: Shiitake mushrooms may be more difficult to find than traditional mushrooms. They are also a bit more pricey than other mushrooms. If you want to swap them, I'd recommend cremini for a more budget-friendly, easier-to-find substitute.
- Pine nuts: Pine nuts are one of the most expensive nuts. While they are traditionally used to make pesto, I've found that walnuts make a cheaper alternative.
- Homemade pesto: If time is tight, you can opt for a store-bought pesto instead, but I especially enjoy the flavor of the freshly made pesto. Vegan pesto is also available in most supermarkets.
🔪 How to Cut Cauliflower Steaks
- Wash and clean the head of the cauliflower, pulling off the outer leaves.
- Slice it lengthwise into one-quarter-inch sections from the top of the head down.
- Gently place slices on the baking sheet along with the florets.
✅ How to Make This Recipe
Once you've got your cauliflower cut into steaks, you're ready to get to the fun part. Here's an overview of the steps to make cauliflower steaks. Detailed instructions are in the recipe card.
- Place the cauliflower steaks separately on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spray olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and dry thyme.
- Flip them over and spray oil, and season on the other side.
- Roast the shiitake mushrooms on a separate parchment-lined baking tray. Place it on a separate rack in the oven along with the cauliflower.
- Bake each pan for 15 -20 minutes, flipping the cauliflower over once and moving the shiitakes around to cook evenly on all sides.
- Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and steam until tender in a double boiler. Place aside and keep warm in a covered dish.
- Toast the pine nuts for approximately five minutes on low heat.
- To make the pesto sauce, place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Heat the pesto sauce on low, in a small pot.
- Place the cauliflower on the plate, and then add the broccoli and shiitake mushrooms. Drizzle with the pesto and top with some pine nuts and a sprig of thyme.
Cauliflower Steaks on the Grill
If you'd rather skip the oven, these vegan steaks also work great on the grill. Follow all the same instructions above except swap the oven and use the grill.
- Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium heat. Place the prepped cauliflower steaks on the grill.
- Grill until golden brown and lightly charred, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Flip and cook until well-marked, about 5 to 7 minutes more.
TOP TIP: If using an indoor grill pan, cover with a sheet pan or similar cover to help retain heat and steam cook.
🍽️ What to Serve with Cauliflower Steak
Keep it traditional with your favorite potato dish and a nice salad. Mashed, baked, or roasted potatoes all work great. For salads, I enjoy the fresh flavors of this spring asparagus and pea salad or this snap pea salad.
Add some vegan butternut squash mac and cheese to create a comforting meal.
❄️ How to Store
I find cauliflower steaks are best fresh. If you have leftovers, store them in the fridge for up to three days. Its pungent aroma intensifies as it sits, so keep that in mind. Reheat in the microwave or the oven at 325° F until heated.
I do not recommend freezing leftovers.
♻️️ Zero Waste Tips
Do you have extra cauliflower you want to use up? Here are some of my favorite ways to cook fresh cauliflower.
- Side Dish: Cut the cauliflower into florets for smaller size portions. It can complement almost any protein - meat, poultry, or seafood.
- Cauliflower Rice: Place in a food processor and pulse it until you have your desired texture. Sauté in a pan with olive oil.
- Crust or Wrap: Purchase frozen crust or prepare cauliflower pizza crust from scratch. Cauliflower wraps are available in most markets now as cauliflower has become very popular.
- Mashed: Boil the cauliflower and then mash and season as you would potatoes.
- Vegetable & dip: Serve cauliflower raw or steamed on a crudité platter.
- Grill the extra cauliflower florets in a grill basket alongside cauliflower steaks, or put them aside for a snack with hummus.
🔪 Helpful Kitchen Tools & Gadgets
- Knife and cutting board. A quality knife and well-made cutting board are worthwhile purchases.
- Food processor. A Cuisinart food processor is a time-saving tool in the kitchen.
- Baking sheet with parchment paper. Roasting is best done on a baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper or a Silpat.
- Steamer basket or double boiler. A steamer basket and double boiler/3-quart pot combo are handy for steaming vegetables.
- Kitchen tongs. Cooking tongs help make flipping or picking up ingredients easier.
- Grill pan. A cast iron grill pan or outdoor roaster is essential for grilling vegetables indoors or outdoors.
Yes, this is a great meal to make when having vegetarian/vegan guests over for dinner. Everything can be made ahead of time and just kept warm in the oven.
When the guests are ready to eat, heat the pesto sauce, plate the ingredients, cover with pesto, and top it with thyme.
Or you can present it nicely on a serving platter. If the guests are vegetarian, you can top it with a sprinkling of your favorite cheese!
Try and purchase fresh cauliflower that has creamy white florets and bright green leaves and is free of spots or discoloration.
It can store well in the crisper section of the refrigerator for up to 7 days. You can store it whole (or cut it into florets), wrapped in plastic, or a paper bag to protect the florets from discoloring.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, like broccoli, kale, and cabbage. This veggie is a rich source of vitamin C, Vitamin K, and folate, providing vital minerals such as calcium and magnesium and a good protein source. It has a substantial amount of phytochemicals, unsaturated fats, and essential omega-3 fatty acids.
It contains anti-inflammatory properties, aids in healthy digestion, boosts the immune system, and has many other health benefits.
🌎 Sustainability Suggestions
Reducing your meat intake has been shown to have an impact. BUT, if you still choose to eat meat in addition to this delicious Roasted Cauliflower "Steak," learn more about where to buy grass-fed beef that is sustainable, regenerative, and raised with organic farming values.
Going vegan for two-thirds of meals could cut food-related carbon emissions by 60%!How much would giving up meat help the environment? - The Economist
➕ More Plant-Based Main Dishes
If you made this recipe, please leave a star 🌟 rating on the recipe card right below! You can also drop a review in the comment section. Your feedback is appreciated! And don’t forget to tag @themindfulfork so we can see your creations.
Cauliflower Steaks (Baked or Grilled)
- 1 head cauliflower
- olive oil spray
- ½ tablespoon thyme seasoning
- 1 package shiitake mushrooms sliced thin
- 2 cups broccoli florets cut bite size
- 1 cup chickpeas optional: add for additional protein
- 3 tablespoon pine nuts
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme for garnish
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese or substitute
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 1 tsp salt
Prep and Cook the Cauliflower
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Clean cauliflower and slice into ¼ inch sections from the top of the head down.
- Place separated on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spray with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Turn and repeat on other side.
- On a separate parchment-lined baking sheet, roast the shiitake mushrooms. Place on a separate rack in the oven along with the cauliflower.
- Bake for 15 minutes, flipping the cauliflower over once and moving the shiitakes around to cook evenly (optional: add chickpeas, spray with olive oil). Cook an additional 15 minutes or until all ingredients are crispy golden brown. Add thyme seasoning within the last few minutes of cooking.
Alternate Method: Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
- Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium heat. Place the prepped cauliflower steaks on the grill. Grill until golden brown and lightly charred, about 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook until well-marked, about 5 to 7 minutes more. (Note: If using an indoor grill pan, cover with a sheet pan or similar cover to help retain heat and steam cook).
Prepare Other Components
- Cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces and steam until tender in a double boiler. Place aside and keep warm in a covered dish.
- Toast the pine nuts, in a separate pan, for approximately 5 min on low heat.
- Prepare the Pesto Sauce: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well blended.
- Heat the sauce in a small pot.
- Plate the cauliflower first, then add the broccoli and shiitake (and chickpeas). Drizzle with the pesto and top with some pine nuts and a sprig of thyme.