Cauliflower Steaks, a Perfect Plant-Based Meat Replacement, if Cooked Correctly

Replace the beef (or a meat knockoff) with something better.

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Treated right, cauliflower might be able to quell—or even conquer—a meat craving. Sure, some turn to the new crop of alt lab-grown products for a meat-like taste. But for an all-natural option, transform cauliflower into "steaks". We'll share how to cut, cook, and finish them to deliver a meaty richness that you may even like better than beef.

Making the Cut

This is the tricky part, the only tricky part.

When cutting slabs from a whole cauliflower head, each slice must include part of the inner stem to hold the cauliflower steak together. Visualize the cauliflower on a cutting board, stem facing you. Now, imagine slicing the head's rightmost sliver. The pieces would detach, falling to the cutting board as disconnected florets, right?

This is why we include some connective core in each slice, which yields about three steak-like cuts per cauliflower head—maybe four if yours is very large. Set aside the florets sliced off the ends for another use.

With a sharp knife, slice vertically down through the vegetable. How thick for each slab? That depends. If you slice on the thin side (¾ to 1 inch), the steak becomes charred and crispy, almost like standard roasted cauliflower. But if you go thick, more like 1½ inches, the steak develops substance, a tender glide, and a nutty meatiness.


Once your cauliflower steaks are cut, it's all downhill.

You don't have to rub or marinade cauliflower steaks before cooking them. You can, but there's ample opportunity to add flavor after cooking. To get the ball rolling, rub each steak with olive oil (or a similar oil) and coat liberally with salt. Granulated garlic is also a smart, versatile add.

Grill or Roast?

I prefer the grill.

Set your grill to medium-high, 450℉. When fully heated, grill your cauliflower steaks for 5 minutes or so on each side, or until generously charred and a fork slides into the thickest part easily.

Thinner steaks cook faster. If a thicker steak becomes too charred before its interior is cooked, finish it for a few minutes over indirect heat.

RELATED: Here's How to Grill Vegetables to Perfection—and 7 Recipes to Make With Them

Roast in the oven.

Bake cauliflower steaks in a foil-covered baking pan for 10 minutes at 400℉. Next, raise the temperature to 450℉ and blast the steaks for another 5 minutes to create more brownness and texture.

RELATED: 10 Healthy Roasted Vegetable Recipes That Practically Cook Themselves

Finishing Touches

Embrace its meaty qualities.

Combine grated Parmesan (for umami) and lemon juice, toss to mix, and then drizzle over cooked steaks. Alternatively, treat your cauliflower steaks as you would a skirt steak or ribeye with sauces traditionally used to complement steak, like our fried herb salsa.

RELATED: Creative A1 Steak Sauce Recipes That Go Beyond Steak

Highlight its vegetable side.

Right before serving, add herbs, pine nuts, and a balsamic drizzle, or finish with a dollop of yogurt sauce or spoonful of miso-based vinaigrette.

The final touch? A steak knife beside the plate. It makes for fluid cutting and puts you in a meaty mindset—not that you need the boost if you've treated your "steak" the right way.

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