Some days it seems that cauliflower has taken over the internet. It’s appealing in particular to vegetarians and health food enthusiasts because it can be a good substitute for chicken (try my cauliflower buffalo bites or BBQ cauliflower pizza if you need convincing), or as a replacement for refined grain foods like white flour in pizza crust or white rice. Since it has no taste of its own, cauliflower can be a blank canvas for any flavor, which makes it a lot of fun to cook with.
Increasingly popular is the cauliflower “steak”. I’m not sure why it’s called a steak, but the name describes the center slices of a cauliflower head that include the stem and all. I don’t agree with the name steak because this is obviously not meat, and while delicious, it’s doesn’t taste like meat. Nutritionally, cauliflower couldn’t be farther from a filet mignon. I fear that this misnomer sets carnivores’ expectations really high, and can lead to inevitable disappointment…which is too bad because these “steaks” can be really delicious. I’ve left the steak name off this recipe, though the food described here is what is usually called a cauliflower steak.
This recipe is a blank slate roasted cauliflower, focusing on the technique of roasting it to perfection. Pair it with my traditional chimichurri sauce for a final product that is really gourmet. Chimichurri is an Argentine condiment designed to go on steak, and it still works really well here.
Before we launch into the recipe, I wanted to give a shoutout to the fabulous black food bloggers who led the way this week in a virtual Juneteenth cookout initiative! The recipes look amazing and I can’t wait to try some of them. I am going to admit, embarrassingly, that I didn’t know what Juneteenth was until this year (and if you don’t know, find out here) but I am excited to recognize this day every year moving forward and learn some new foods in the process. Maybe I’ll even have a new recipe under my belt for next year!
This recipe is so simple. All you need is one head of cauliflower, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Start by removing the leaves and extra stem at the bottom of the cauliflower head.
Flip the cauliflower over and start slicing downward at about one-inch increments. Don’t panic if on the first cuts florets fall off the head and don’t hold together – this is normal. When you get towards the center, the cauliflower will naturally hold together and that’s where you’ll get your “steaks”. Depending on the size of the head and luck, you’ll get anywhere from 2 to 4 steaks out of one head of cauliflower. In this unlucky photo shoot, I only got two.
I like to roast the florets at the same time as the steaks (because why not?) Lay it all on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over the top to taste. You can use a pastry brush to get the cauliflower coasted evenly in oil or, in lieu of a brush, hands work well too! Make sure to do both sides. Salt and pepper both sides to taste. Roast until both sides start to brown, about 40 minutes total, flipping regularly.
Heap chimichurri sauce on top for a gourmet finish. And why not use it on the extra florets too?
Simple Roasted Cauliflower
45 minutes, 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 head of cauliflower
- Olive oil, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- One recipe Traditional Chimichurri Sauce
- Baking sheet
- Pastry brush (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.
- Remove the leaves and extra stem from the bottom of the cauliflower head. Flip the head over and slice downwards in 1-inch sections. Loose florets will fall off; this is natural. Continue slicing until you have sliced the whole head. You should end up with 2-4 steaks.
- Place cauliflower steaks and florets on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil to taste, using a pastry brush to evenly coat with oil. Make sure to flip and drizzle on both sides. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, flipping halfway. The cauliflower is ready when it is lightly browned (see photos above).
- Enjoy with chimichurri sauce.