Grilled cauliflower steaks are my “oops” remedy of the week.
As in….I just ate peach pie for dinner. Twice. Oops.
What? We’re out of chips again and I’m the only one that has eaten any? Oops.
The wine is empty. Oops.
If your last week (er, month) been anything like mine, “oops” moments are a familiar event. I’m not going to say I regret them.
After all, why labor over a homemade fruit pie, then deprive yourself of enjoying a slice after lunch and dinner…and a small sliver at breakfast too?
And why get dressed up and visit an outdoor beer garden if not to order a pint?
As an embracer of oops moments, I also appreciate an infusion of healthy food to sustain myself between them. Bring on the wholesome, the nourishing, and the good things my body needs!
Put another way: I fully intend to eat more pie, so let’s work in a little healthy vegetable like cauliflower, shall we?
I am both wary of (and historically terrible at) “detoxing,” so when I need a healthy pick-me-up or reset, I turn to foods that, while unquestionably wholesome, won’t leave me feeling deprived.
If you need evidence that cauliflower, a rather bland-looking veggie that I don’t even remember seeing growing up, let alone eating, has gone mainstream, consider this: my first experience of a grilled cauliflower “steak” was at a local brewery. If breweries in my small county can serve grilled cauliflower with pride, it’s legit.
While raw cauliflower can lack appeal to all but the staunchest of veggie lovers, grilled cauliflower is an entirely different business. The heat softens and caramelizes the cauliflower until it becomes tender and almost sweet. It’s a similar effect to what happens when cauliflower is roasted in the oven, with the extra tasty upgrade of the grill’s smokiness.
While you can make grilled cauliflower steaks with little beyond olive oil, salt, and pepper, I added a few simple ingredients to give the recipe interest and depth. You’ll find lemon juice for brightness, garlic and parsley for freshness, a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat, and a shower of toasted walnuts for crunch. A brush of honey (or agave if you prefer to keep the recipe vegan) balances the flavor and helps the cauliflower caramelize even more deeply on the grill.
Here is what you will need:
♥ 2 large heads of cauliflower
♥ 2 tablespoons of olive oil
♥ 2 lemons – zested and juiced
♥ 2 cloves of garlic – finely minced
♥ 1 teaspoon of honey (you can substitute for agave to keep it vegan)
♥ 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
♥ 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
♥ 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
♥ 1/4 cup of chopped toasted walnuts
Here is what you will need to do:
♥ Remove the outer leaves from each of the cauliflower heads. Cut off the bottom stem end so that you can create a flat base and the cauliflower is able to stand upright on the cutting board. Resting the cauliflower on the stem, use a large sharp knife to trim away the sides and cut the head into either 2 very thick steaks of 3 more moderate steaks. Reserve the sides of another use (see notes below). In a small bowl, stir together the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and honey.
♥ Heat your grill to a medium heat – about 350F. Brush one side of each cauliflower steak with the lemon-olive oil mixture and then sprinkle the brush sides with half the salt.
♥ Place the salted side down on the hot grill and then brush the tops with the same mixture and sprinkle with salt again.
♥ Cover the grill and let cook for about 5-6 minutes until the bottom is beginning to char. Flip the steaks and re-cover for another 5-6 minutes until tender.
♥ Remove from the grill and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, parsley and walnuts.
♥ ♥ The total cooking time will vary based on how thick or thin you have sliced the steaks as well as your individual grill.
♥ ♥ With the leftover cauliflower florets, you can also toss them in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and grill them in a fry basket to serve along with the meal or set them aside for another meal or snack.
♥ ♥ Main dish or side dish? Either! I devoured nearly two of these steaks for lunch with some green but I think this would also be a perfect accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken.
♥ ♥ Switch it up! This recipe can be so easy modify to whatever you are in the mood for! Try swapping the parsley, walnuts and lemon for cilantro, almonds and lime.
♥ ♥ Upgrade! Try topping the grilled cauliflower steaks with Parmesan! I haven’t done this myself yet but I suspect it would be delicious.
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