Roasted cauliflower steaks look so appealing as the centerpiece on a plate. Swiped with garlicky chimichurri sauce, it’s a vegetable-forward dish that lets this cruciferous vegetable really shine. Vegan & gluten-free.
Cauliflower usually spends its existence on the side of the dinner plate, sitting next to a pile of green beans. But when you cut that cauliflower into steaks and roast it, suddenly that humble veg becomes the star of dinner.
It gets nutty brown from roasting in the oven, and beautifully tender. Its muted flavor is perfectly complemented with a generous spread of cilantro chimichurri sauce.
Why is it called a steak?
Cauliflower steaks started popping up on restaurant menus several years ago.
Presumably, they are called steaks because it’s the best cut of the cauliflower. It’s the center cut that works nicely as a vegetarian main course, because it is so eye-catching.
However, it tastes nothing at all like animal-based steak. Unsurprisingly, it tastes 100% like roasted cauliflower.
What really takes this dish up a notch is a flavorful sauce like chimichurri.
What is chimichurri sauce?
Chimichurri is an Argentinean sauce that’s similar in concept to pesto. It simply involves throwing herbs, garlic, and a few other ingredients into a food processor.
It’s typically made with parsley. However, I’m not a big fan of parsley. So I prefer to make it with cilantro instead. (For variation ideas, be sure to check out my full post on cilantro chimichurri.)
Chimichurri sauce is one of those bright, garlicky sauces that I want to put on everything. I look for any excuse to use it.
It’s great drizzled on tacos, or roasted potatoes. It can be used as a salad dressing, sandwich spread, sweet potato quesadilla, or sauce for pasta or potato salad.
Chimichurri keeps well. So plan on making a batch early in the week. Then this meal comes together really quickly and with very little effort!
How to make sure the steaks don’t fall apart
The key to getting steaks that don’t fall apart into florets is making sure you have part of the stem/base still attached within the steak. Once you get far from the center, you’re more likely to have slices that break apart while you cut or flip them.
That’s why I recommend getting two heads of cauliflower. You can cut down the middle, and then get a slice from both sides of the middle.
However, if you don’t care about the perfect appearance or are game to risk it, you can buy one large head of cauliflower, and take your chances. If the slices aren’t perfect as you go out from center, they will still taste good. Or you can simply plan on two steaks, and roast the rest as florets.
How to make roasted cauliflower steaks
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
For the chimichurri, put the following into a food processor:
- Cilantro (with stems)
- Chopped onion
- Minced garlic
- Red wine vinegar
- Extra virgin olive oil
Blend until fully broken up & combined.
Now onto the cauliflower. Pull off any green leaves from around the heads.
For the steaks, cut a head of cauliflower in half, right through the stem. Cut a 1-inch slice off the middle. That’s your first “steak.” Cut another one inch slice off the other half. Then do the whole process all over again with your second head of cauliflower.
Put the cauliflower steaks on the prepared baking sheet. Coat with oil on both sides & a pinch of salt.
Roast for 20 minutes, gently flip the steaks, and roast for 10 more.
Serve the steaks with chimichurri sauce on top.
Make it your own
Here are some ways you can personalize this plant-based dish to make it your own.
There’s so much flavor in the chimichurri, I like to keep the cauliflower a blank canvas. But if you’d prefer, you can add seasonings when you coat them in oil. Sprinkle on cumin, paprika, oregano, chili powder, granulated onion, and/or granulated garlic.
After you pull the steaks out of the oven, add a squeeze of lemon juice for a brighter finish.
Add a sprinkling of vegan feta cheese for another pop of flavor.
Don’t bother cutting them into steaks, and enjoy them as florets instead. For four people, you’ll just need one large head of cauliflower instead of two. Since florets are smaller in size, you’ll likely need about 5 minutes less of cooking time.
(If needed, check out this easy roasted cauliflower recipe for more guidance on cooking cauliflower florets.)
How long will it keep?
Roasted cauliflower steaks will last for about four days in the refrigerator in a covered container. To reheat, cook on a baking sheet at 400 degrees in the oven for about 7 minutes, or reheat in the microwave. (The texture will be a little better in the oven.)
The chimichurri sauce can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
Can you freeze it?
For optimum texture, I wouldn’t recommend freezing the cooked steaks. But you can freeze any unused florets that weren’t roasted in a freezer bag.
You can also freeze any leftover chimichurri sauce. Put it into ice cube trays. Freeze. Then move the cubes to a freezer bag to store. When you’re ready to use it, let the cube(s) thaw in the refrigerator.
What to serve with it
Because this main course is low in protein & calories, I recommend serving it with some satiating sides that have a bit more heft to them.
- Black bean corn avocado salad
- Lemony potatoes with garlic & oregano or baked french fries
- Refried pinto beans or refried black beans
- Vegan tortilla soup with seitan & black beans
- Vegan burrito bowl with lentils & black beans
Roasted cauliflower steaks with cilantro chimichurri
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make the cauliflower steaks by cutting one head in half, right through the middle of the stem. Then cut a 1-inch slice off the middle. That’s your first “steak.” Cut another one inch slice off the other half. Then do the whole process over again with the second head of cauliflower. (You will have cauliflower leftover. Save it for another time.)
- Put the cauliflower steaks on the baking sheet, and coat with oil on both sides. Finish with a pinch of salt.
- Roast for 20 minutes on one side. Then gently flip them over, and roast for 10 more minutes, until beautifully brown.
- Serve the steaks with chimichurri sauce on top & extra cilantro leaves for optional garnish. (You can find a clickable link to the chimichurri recipe in the ingredient list.)