Most people who’ve never had “cauliflower steak” laugh when they first hear the name of the dish. That’s because it seems like a paradox—how could a vegetable possibly be a steak? But trust me, if you’ve never tried cauliflower steak, you’re missing out on wonderfully delicious experience—even if you don’t particularly like vegetables, let alone, the lowly cauliflower.
I’m not a fan of cauliflower myself, but when I tried a Cauliflower “Steak” at the Cheesecake Factory last year, cooked with brown butter, herbs, capers and parmesan, I became a cauliflower lover! The specialty dish was served with spinach and couscous sautéed with corn and tomato, which rounded out the unforgettable meal.
Roasted Cauliflower Steaks make an elegant and satisfying first course, side dish, or even a main course for dinner. Although roasted cauliflower does not resemble the appearance, texture and mouthfeel of beef steaks in any way, when a whole head of cauliflower is cut into thick slices, marinated, seasoned, and roasted until golden brown and crispy around the edges (but succulent in the middle), they become a hearty and downright amazing plant-based meal.
As part of the Underground Health Reporter’s Meatless Monday issue, I’m featuring a Roasted Cauliflower Steak recipe wherein thick slabs of cauliflower are roasted in a flavorful marinade of miso paste, tomato puree, wholegrain mustard and dried herbs. It is served with a Mediterranean side dish of giant couscous. If you’ve never had giant couscous before, it’s a grain that resembles tiny balls of pasta. When accented with pesto, artichokes, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, couscous tastes divine, and pairs beautifully with the cauliflower steaks.
Since cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, it’s brimming with nutrients that fight free-radical damage and oxidative stress in the body. A single cup of cauliflower provides approximately 70% of your minimum daily requirement of vitamin C, helps boost immune function, and comes with countless other health benefits. Therefore, you can enjoy this delicious Mediterranean-style meal that is also beneficial for your health.
Roasted Cauliflower “Steaks”
with Mediterranean Couscous
Prep and Cook Time: 30 mins
1 head cauliflower
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp white miso paste
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
½ tsp dried thyme
1 cup giant couscous (preferably wholegrain)
½ tbsp oil
2 handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp basil pesto
6 pieces marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
3 tbsp sliced black olives
6 pieces sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Heat the oven to 375°F.
Cut the head of cauliflower in half, and cut a thick slice from each half, making sure each slice stays together at the stem. (Set aside any remaining florets for use in making other cauliflower-based side dishes).
In a bowl, combine the miso, tomato puree, mustard and dried thyme, and mix thoroughly. Use the back of a spoon to spread the marinade over the two slices of cauliflower (both sides). Place on a baking tray, and roast for around 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender, crispy, and browned.
In the meantime, boil the giant couscous in water for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked, then drain.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and add the chopped spinach and garlic. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, until the spinach has wilted. Add the drained couscous to the pan, along with the pesto, artichokes, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. Mix well to combine, and cook until everything is piping hot. Season to taste, and serve with the roasted cauliflower steaks.