Cauliflower Steaks with Sage Pesto and Red Pepper Drizzle Recipe

Move over green bean casserole. “Meaty” cauliflower steaks are coming to dinner. Whether you are hosting a holiday dinner or always wondering what to bring as your contribution, you can break away from the usual suspects with these “steaks.” You may have seen versions of cauliflower “steaks” such as these on restaurant menus in part as a celebration of “plant-forward” cuisine and in part to offer a vegetarian option. It is a showy dish because you present a thick slice of cauliflower, seared and roasted to sweet perfection, topped with a colorful sauce, says Twin Cities chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell, who created this recipe for Real Food. The vegetarians in your circle will appreciate the dish, and the “steaks” make an impressive side dish for those eating meat. Give each diner a steak knife to slice off bites. You’ll have plenty of cauliflower florets left over—save them for salads, soups and stir-fries.

Cauliflower Steaks with Sage Pesto and Red Pepper Drizzle

Makes 6 Servings

3 small cauliflowers
1 tablespoon canola oil

Sage Pesto
2 tablespoons fresh sage
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Red Pepper Drizzle
1 (7-ounce) jar roasted peppers, drained and patted dry
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Hold the whole cauliflower on its side, with the base perpendicular to the cutting board, and slice the stem flush with the bottom of the cauliflower. Trim away all the leaves and discard. Stand the cauliflower up on the stem end, and hold the cauliflower steady as you slice two even 1- to 1½-inch wide slices from the center. Slice straight down and divide the stem in half between the two slices. Save the remaining cauliflower florets for another use.

3. Place two large sauté pans or cast iron pans on the stove over medium-high heat. Pour 1/2 tablespoon canola oil in each pan and heat for a few seconds. Place the cauliflower steaks in the pans and sear for about 2 minutes per side until well browned. Transfer to two baking sheet pans. Bake the browned steaks for 20 minutes, until a paring knife inserted in the stem goes in with no resistance.

4. While the steaks bake, make the sauces. (These can also be made a day ahead, if desired.)

5. For the Sage Pesto: Place the sage, parsley and pecans in the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 1 minute, until well minced. Add the olive oil and salt and process until smooth.

6. For the Red Pepper Drizzle, place the drained peppers, honey, lemon juice, cayenne and salt in the processor and purée until smooth.

7. When cauliflower is baked, remove from oven and keep warm. To serve, place a piping hot cauliflower steak on each plate, then spoon about 11/2 tablespoons of sage pesto over it, spreading the sauce but leaving the browned edges of the cauliflower visible. Drizzle red pepper sauce over the pesto in a decorative way, then serve.

Nutrition info (per serving): CALORIES 227 (161 from fat); FAT 19g (sat. 2g); CHOL 0mg; SODIUM 317mg; CARB 15g; FIBER 5g; PROTEIN 4g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.