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This is hands down the most satisfying way to eat cauliflower. Just before these cauliflower steaks are ready to come out of the oven, you cover them in salty parmesan cheese, creamy pine nuts, and lemon juice. You could easily make this as a simple vegetarian main dish or serve it as a side dish with a classic steak.
If the only way you've ever had cauliflower is boiled and smothered in cheese sauce, these cauliflower steaks are about to change your opinion on the humble vegetable forevermore. They're packed with flavor, and every bite is crispy and soft in the same mouthful. Cauliflower steaks really are that good.
Full disclosure, these cauliflower steaks are not meant to nor do they resemble a meat-based steak in any way.
What is cauliflower steak?
It may have crossed your mind to question why cauliflower would ever be considered a “steak”. If you're living in North America (and beyond) when you think of steak, you think of a cut of beef first, and probably not a vegetable.
Cauliflower steak is a certain way to cut cauliflower, and that's into thick slabs. It also creates a canvas for other spices and flavors to be absorbed into the veggie, much like you would rub or marinate a beef steak. You can also cook a cauliflower steak in many of the same ways you would cook a traditional steak – pan fry to sear, toss it in the oven to finish, or grill it on the bbq.
As far as taste goes, cauliflower steaks do not taste like a cut of meat. They are very much still a vegetable – and a delicious way to eat vegetables at that!
It takes less than 10 ingredients to make these cauliflower steaks, and many of the ingredients you probably have in your pantry or spice drawer already!
- Cauliflower: Pick up 2 large heads of cauliflower for this recipe. You'll cut them into 6 steaks total (plus have some extra little pieces as leftovers)
- Olive oil: The olive oil is important here because it not only helps the spices stick to your cauliflower, but helps them crisp up in the oven as they roast.
- Spices: For these cauliflower steaks you'll make a spice rub with garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, and paprika. This spice blend will help move the cauliflower from a plain old veg into a highly craved side dish.
- Parmesan cheese: The tangy, salty nature of parmesan cheese elevates your steaks to a whole new level.
- Pine nuts: If you haven't cooked with pine nuts much, know that they add an incredible warm, nutty flavor when toasted, so are the perfect addition to a roast cauliflower steak. Plus, they keep their crunch when cooked, which add a nice textural change up to this dish.
- Fresh thyme: You can chop it up or add it as small sprigs to your baking sheet so that the cauliflower picks up some of that freshness.
- Lemon: Cut a lemon in half and add some fresh citrus to your steaks during the roasting process. It brightens everything up and helps the other flavors sing.
- Garnish: This is optional, but it's nice to serve your steaks with some minced parsley as a finishing note for a fresh herby flavor.
How to make cauliflower steaks
Here's what you'll do to make delicious roast cauliflower steaks:
- Prep the cauliflower: Cut each cauliflower head into 3 steaks.
- Spice mix: Mix all the spices in a small bowl.
- Coat your steaks: Drizzle a good amount of oil onto each steak and then sprinkle with the spice mix.
- Roast: Pop your baking sheet into the oven and roast the steaks for 30 minutes. They should be crispy, tender, and golden brown.
- Top them off: Bring the cauliflower out of the oven and add your cheese, pine nuts, thyme leaves, and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Pop them back in the oven for 5 more minutes.
- Garnish & enjoy: Add some more olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs before serving.
How to cut cauliflower steaks
When you're cutting cauliflower into steaks, remember it's inevitable that you'll end up with some florets at the end, so don't fret about that.
Start by cutting the cauliflower head in half. Then cut in half again. You should be able to get 2-4 large “steaks” from each cauliflower.
If it's important to you that the cauliflower steaks remain whole, be very careful when you make the second cut. Have a look and make sure that you're cutting up the stem.
Variations to try
Cauliflower is a blank canvas, so you can absolutely make these cauliflower steaks to your liking or your family's liking. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Golden Turmeric Cauliflower Steaks: Use a combination of ground turmeric, sea salt, chili powder, black pepper, and ground ginger to get a warm and spicy finish on your steaks. Add olive oil, fresh lemon, and cilantro, too! For this variation, follow this recipe for roasted turmeric cauliflower and cut your veg into steaks.
- Asian-inspired Cauliflower Steaks: In this variation, you'll add sesame oil, miso paste, chili garlic sauce, and fresh ginger – yum! Follow this recipe for an Asian-inspired whole roast cauliflower just cut your veg into steaks instead.
- Cheesy Irish Cheddar Cauliflower Steaks: In this version, you'll use onion powder, paprika, oregano, and Irish cheddar cheese. Follow this recipe for cheesy Irish cheddar cauliflower, only cut your cauliflower into steaks instead of pieces.
What to serve with cauliflower steaks
Can I grill the cauliflower steaks instead of roasting them?
Absolutely! Follow this recipe until it's time to cook. Pop your cauliflower steaks on the grill and close the lid. Let them cook until slightly charred and crispy on the outside, and fork-tender on the inside. You'll need to flip about halfway, grilling for 5 minutes per side.
What can I do with the extra florets?
After cutting your cauliflower into steaks, you will end up with some loose florets. You can toss these onto the same baking sheet with your steaks and roast, or save them and use them in another recipe.
Can I freeze cauliflower steaks?
You sure can! Allow the cooked cauliflower steaks to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container or reusable silicone bag. They will last in the freeze for 2-3 months. Reheat them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for ~ 5-7 minutes.
- 2 large cauliflowers
- ¼ cup olive oil (plus more to serve)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 lemon (divided)
- Minced parsley and nice olive oil (to serve)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Cut each head of cauliflower into three steaks.2 large cauliflowers
- Mix the garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika in a small bowl.1 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper, ½ teaspoon paprika
- Place the cauliflower steaks on the baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, and then sprinkle them with the spices¼ cup olive oil
- Roast the steaks for 20 minutes then flip them over and roast them for another 10 minutes. They should be nice and dark brown in many spots.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven and sprinkle the parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and thyme leaves evenly over each steak. Squeeze half a lemon over the steaks. Put the cauliflower back in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the parmesan has melted and the pine nuts are toasted.1 cup grated parmesan cheese, ½ cup pine nuts, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, 1 lemon
- Serve the cauliflower with the remaining lemon half squeezed over the top, a drizzle of olive oil, and a little parsley.Minced parsley and nice olive oil
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.