Grilled Cauliflower Steaks

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This terrific vegetarian grilled dish is satisfying and substantial. It can serve as a main course or a side, and leftovers are amazing chopped and added to all kinds of dishes from chilis to grain bowls.

Cauliflower steak cooking on hot grill.

Slabs of cauliflower cut from the middle of the head and cooked up on the grill make eye-catching and delicious grilling fare. You can make them even more special by dolloping on a sauce such as Salsa Verde, Chimichurri Sauce, or Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. A great way to use up any leftover sauces!

The cauliflower gets a nice flavor from a basting sauce made up of olive oil, lemon, garlic, and a few spices, which also add a warm color to the dish. A touch of honey adds just a hint of sweetness to balance out the more robust flavors.

If you are making a vegetarian meal and looking for something to anchor the plate, a grilled cauliflower steak is a great choice: satisfying and substantial. You can make a little grilled veggie feast by pairing this with grilled corn, peppers, and eggplant if you like. A side of Broccoli Orzo Salad would go nicely with the cauliflower as well.

But these also can be a nice companion to non-vegetarian main courses, like Grilled Top Sirloin or Balsamic Marinated Skirt Steak. You can also cut the steaks into smaller pieces once grilled.

Grilled cauliflower on white plate with lemon wedge.

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks: This terrific vegetarian grilled dish is satisfying and substantial. It can serve as a main course or a side, and leftovers are amazing chopped and added to all kinds of dishes from chilis to grain bowls.

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Ingredients

  • Cauliflower – This dense, hardy, cruciferous vegetable can be sliced into nice thick planks, which hold together on the grill and become nice and tender when grilled over moderate heat.
  • Olive oil – Helps keep the cauliflower tender and adds flavor.
  • Lemon – Provides a touch of acidity.
  • Minced garlic – About 1 to 2 cloves should be enough, depending on the size.
  • Paprika – For flavor and nice color.
  • Cumin – Adds a smoky, earthy flavor,
  • Cayenne pepper – Adds a touch of heat.
  • Honey or agave nectar – Just a hint of sweetness; use agave for a vegan dish.
  • Fresh parsley – This is optional but very pretty and adds a nice fresh vegetal note.

How to Cut Cauliflower Steaks

You will probably only get 3 cauliflower steaks from a head of cauliflower, maybe 4 if the head is very large. You can easily double this recipe to get 6 or more cauliflower steaks.

Trim the stem of the cauliflower so that it sits safely on the cutting board. Using a large sharp knife, cut a “slice” about 1 inch thick from one side of the cauliflower (the outer part cauliflower will fall apart as you slice it; that’s ok). Continue cutting 1-inch thick slices from the middle of the cauliflower. 

You will probably get 3 intact cauliflower slices, or “steaks,” from the middle of the cauliflower. The other end of the cauliflower will also fall apart. Save the pieces and florets for another use. 

What to Do With Leftover Cauliflower Bits

I love making cauliflower steaks because I know there will be extra raw cauliflower crumbles and florets from the sides to cook up in a different way! You can toss them with the leftover brushing sauce and just grill them in a grill basket along with the steaks. Or you can take this opportunity to make roasted cauliflower, Moroccan Carrot and Cauliflower Soup, or any number of cauliflower dishes with these bonus pieces. See below for loads of cauliflower recipes.

How to Grill Cauliflower

  1. Make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients.
  2. Prepare the grill: Heat the grill to medium (about 350 degrees). Make sure the grill is clean and oiled (see recipe for tips).
  3. Brush the cauliflower with the basting sauce. 
Basting cauliflower steaks with olive oil, lemon, garlic, and other spices.
  1. Grill the cauliflower: Grill the cauliflower for 5 to 6 minutes until the bottom is browned and has nice grill marks. Flip the cauliflower, brush with any remaining sauce, and grill for another 5 to 6 minutes (longer if needed), until tender. 
Cauliflower steak cooking on hot grill.
  1. Serve: Sprinkle the cauliflower with the parsley, if desired. Serve warm or room temperature with the lemon wedges. 
Squeezing lemon juice over grilled cauliflower steaks.

Leftovers and Storage

If you don’t eat all of the steaks at the time you make them, you can chop, dice, or crumble the leftover cooked cauliflower steaks into grain bowls, chilis, soups, and salads. It’s a nice dividend and perhaps worth making extra grilled cauliflower steaks with this thought in mind!

Leftover grilled cauliflower will last for up to 5 days, covered in the fridge.

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Drizzling chimichurri sauce over a plate of grilled cauliflower.

Other Cauliflower Recipes

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5 from 1 vote

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks

This terrific vegetarian grilled dish is satisfying and substantial. It can serve as a main course or a side, and leftovers are amazing chopped and added to all kinds of dishes from chilis to grain bowls.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 3 People

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley (optional)
  • Lemon wedges (to serve)

Instructions 

  • Trim the stem of the cauliflower so that it sits safely on the cutting board. Using a large sharp knife, cut a “slice” about 1 inch thick from one side of the cauliflower (the outer part cauliflower will fall apart as you slice it; that’s ok). Continue slicing 1-inch thick slices from the middle of the cauliflower. You will probably get three intact cauliflower slices, or “steaks” from the middle of the cauliflower. The other end of the cauliflower will also fall apart. Save the out pieces and florets for another use (see note).
  • In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne, honey, salt, and pepper.
  • Heat the grill to medium (about 350 F). Scrub the grill rack with a grill brush. Use grilling tongs to dip a wad of paper towels in some vegetable oil, and use the oil-dipped paper towels to wipe down the grill rack.
  • Place the cauliflower steaks on a cutting board and brush them with the basting sauce on top. Place the cauliflower steaks sauce side down on the grill and baste the other side. Cover the grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the bottom is browned and has nice grill marks. Use a wide spatula to flip the steaks, give them another brush with any remaining sauce, and cover the grill and cook, with the cover down, for another 5 to 6 minutes, until grill marks appear on the second side, and the cauliflower is tender. The cauliflower may need another few minutes; you can flip them as needed so that one side doesn’t get overly browned as they become tender. Brush as the cauliflower cooks with any leftover basting sauce.
  • Remove the cauliflower to a serving plate and sprinkle with the parsley, if desired. Serve warm or room temperature with the lemon wedges.

Notes

Leftovers are amazing chopped and added to all kinds of dishes from chilis to grain bowls to quesadillas.

Nutrition

Calories: 145kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Sodium: 62mg, Potassium: 629mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 728IU, Vitamin C: 100mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 2mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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