Fancy perking up your weeknight dinner? These cauliflower steaks just might be your answer. Substituting grains and meats for cauliflower seems to be all the rage right now, so I had to try my hand at it. You treat it exactly the way you would a piece of meat—say beef or chicken—seared on a hot griddle pan and then finished off in the oven.

The first time I made these I cooked the cauliflower steaks entirely on the pan (covering and cooking with stock until tender). Only problem with this method is that there is a chance of it overcooking and falling apart (speaking from experience). Cooking the steaks in the oven is a more reliable method to get them perfectly al-dente and this is what I would recommend here; it’s foolproof and also saves you the trouble of hovering over the pan constantly.

The roasted pepper sauce sits well in the refrigerator for a couple of days, meaning: make a bigger batch than you would need and you can rustle this dinner up in less than fifteen minutes! It’s also glorious tossed with pasta (with a dash of milk or cream), or as a dipping sauce with crudités, meats or toasted bread. So again, make a huge batch.

        If you’re like me and live with a vegetarian in the house—or happen to be one yourself—this dish makes for a really hearty meal in itself. I know, when I came across the concept I thought it to be a little pretentious (fake steaks, pfft), and even made a salad on the side thinking it wouldn’t be enough for a main meal. Who knew cauliflower could be so meaty and substantial! However, I must point out here that most recipes I looked up used a whole head of cauliflower to serve four people. This makes sense to me only if this dish forms a part of a three-course meal or if the people in question don’t have as voracious an appetite as I do. As a general rule, I always make more quantity than what a recipe instructs. I’m glad I followed that principle here because I think we ended up eating the whole head of cauliflower between the two of us, bits and all.

 

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CAULIFLOWER STEAKS WITH RED PEPPER SAUCE
Servings
2
Ingredients
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 200 grams spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus 1 tbsp for spinach)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
Red pepper sauce:
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
Servings
2
Ingredients
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 200 grams spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus 1 tbsp for spinach)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
Red pepper sauce:
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (360 F).
  2. Sauté spinach leaves in a little olive oil until they wilt. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Reserve the pan.
  3. Heat olive oil in the same pan and sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper and cook on a high heat until tomatoes soften, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a blender jar and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Place the pepper directly on the open flame of a gas stove. Roast until it blisters and chars on all sides, rotating occasionally with tongs. Place pepper in a zip-lock bag or glass bowl covered with cling film and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Take the pepper out and peel away the charred skin; slit lengthwise and remove seeds. Transfer the fleshy bits to the blender jar along with the onions, tomatoes, garlic and extra virgin olive oil and blend to a coarse purée. Season with pepper and salt and set aside. [This sauce can be made earlier and refrigerated until ready to use.]
  6. Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower keeping the core intact. Place it core side down on your work surface and using a large knife, slice the cauliflower into 4 thick ‘steaks’ of about 1” each starting from the center. [You will have small bits breaking off in the process. Save these and any remaining cauliflower for another recipe, like a stir fry.]
  7. Heat a large griddle pan (or regular pan) until very hot. Brush the cauliflower steaks with olive oil and place on the pan, grilling for 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a flat baking tray and lay them out in an even layer without overlapping them. Ladle a little of the stock over each steak and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender but still holding its shape, about 10-15 minutes. [A good test is to stick a knife in the center of the cauliflower. You want it to go through without too much resistance.]
  8. Divide red pepper sauce among plates. Place 1 or 2 cauliflower steaks on each plate with wilted spinach on the side. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe Notes

* Adapted from BBC Good Food

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