Vegan! Vegetarian! Healthy!
Those are the words Jay uses when I ask him what he wants for dinner. He isn’t any of those things per se, but he likes to pretend, and I get it. We can all do better. So I make him dinners like this and then top mine with butter + cheese. It works for everyone!
This is an imitation of a cauliflower steak that used to be on the menu at Yardhouse, which we frequent because it has all.the.beers on tap and is in a relatively central location to our jobs/house and has a good happy hour. The recipe I have in my head was super tender and smoky and definitely had a meaty taste even though the “meat” here is cauliflower. I’m a big fan of liquid smoke for that reason; there’s just something about burnt edges from grilled meat that is really hard to replicate.
For this version, you need cauliflower, duh. I use a whole head, steam it a bit, THEN cut it into steaks, which worked for 2/3 of this head of cauliflower. I pureed the rest for Beck and moved on with my life. Even if the cauliflower falls apart on you a little bit you still will end up with great flavor, but the big “steaks” are fun if they work out.
To start, cut the leaves off the cauliflower, and use a sharp knife to cut out the first inch or so of the core. I using a paring knife for this and just work my way around the center of the core until it pops out. Then, put the cauliflower in a large pot with about 1 inch of water. I have a steamer basket here, but honestly you can do this without one and save a dish, promise. Cover the pot, turn the heat to medium-high, and let the cauliflower steam for about 10 minutes. It should start to soften but not be fully cooked – check it after 5 minutes if your stove heats up quickly.
While the cauliflower is steaming, make the seasoning blend. For that you’ll need liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, butter, and steak seasoning – any blend that is languishing in your cabinet, or make your own! Google can tell you how.
For the seasonings, add the butter to a little dish. Melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds, then add the liquid smoke, Worcestershire, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir that together and let it hang out while you make the cauliflower steaks.
Steaks! When the cauliflower has steamed but isn’t fully cooked, preheat a grill pan (or outside grill, but some pieces might fall through the grates) to medium-high heat. Cut the cauliflower into 1-inch pieces with a sharp or serrated knife.
Brush the cauliflower with the butter mixture, then sprinkle each piece with steak seasoning.
Now, grill! About 5 minutes on each side until nice grill marks form. A metal spatula flipped my steaks best, but tongs would work well too.
You will love these – even if you’re a meathead like me. They are easy, flavorful, and, yes, fine, we could all eat a few more veggies. As long as they taste like this, I’m all in.
Serve with something cheesy to balance everything out, probably. Or, fine, something green.
- 1 whole head cauliflower
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Montreal steak seasoning (or your favorite kind!)
- Remove the leaves and core from the cauliflower using a sharp paring knife, keeping the whole head intact. Place the head of cauliflower in a large pot with 1 inch of water. Cover the pot and turn the stove to medium-high. Let the cauliflower steam for 5-10 minutes until slightly softened but not cooked through.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a dish and mix with the liquid smoke, Worcestershire, garlic powder, and onion powder. Set aside.
- When the cauliflower has steamed but isn't cooked through, remove it to a cutting board to cool. Preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. When the cauliflower is cool enough to handle, cut it into 6 or so large steaks, about 1 inch thick. Some pieces may fall apart; grill them too! Brush the cauliflower on both sides with the butter mixture and sprinkle with the steak seasoning.
- Grill the cauliflower steaks and any extra pieces for 3-5 minutes on each side until dark grill marks form. Serve with your favorite side dishes. Enjoy!