Cauliflower Steak has New School Relevance

Cauliflower Steak with Spiced Honey

Cauliflower. Did you hate it as a kid? Do you find it bland and boring as an adult? Well then I have some bad news for you. You’re old school. Because somehow cauliflower has pushed its way beyond its stodgy past and attained new school relevance. Whether you grill, sear, roast, mash, blend or simply eat a big thick slice of Cauliflower Steak, there are a million creative ways to enjoy this cruciferous vegetable. From Cauliflower Pizza to Cauliflower Ice Cream.

I usually enjoy cauliflower as a side dish– tossed with olive oil, sprinkled with bold spices like cumin, coriander or anise, then roasted until softened, charred and sweetened in an intensely hot oven or grill. When served in this simple manner it will sit nicely on the plate next to almost anything you’d like to serve. It’s also nice cooked in this manner, then tossed with cheesy pasta.

However, cauliflower is also making its new school appearance as a serious main course option. It may have started as a vegetarian excuse to use the word steak in a sentence, but charred Cauliflower Steak is now served as a main course in high-end restaurants and at fancy-pants dinner parties (including mine).

I think this is partly due to the availability of really good cauliflower that’s as beautiful as it is delicious. Farmers markets and organic vegetable stands sell cauliflower in vibrant shades of violet and saffron. There are spiky chartreuse examples, and even adorable miniature versions. They all beg for some new school attention.

In less enlightened old school kitchens, cauliflower is humble fare that’s either camouflaged beyond recognition, or so timidly seasoned that its true beauty gets ignored. I won’t let that happen in my kitchen.

Cauliflower Steak with Chili-Spiced Honey

This new school Cauliflower Steak with Chili-Spiced Honey recognizes that cauliflower can stand up to bold seasoning (in fact it almost begs for it). I chose a chili powder that I mellowed with honey. The combination creates a sweet and spicy glaze that caramelizes beautifully. I used an array of additional textures to highlight the charred and softened dichotomy of this Cauliflower Steak. Warm beans, cool radish slices, and salty pistachios all bring an extra dimension of both taste and texture. I also laid a single wedge of pillowy soft, coriander-spiced sweet potato on the plate at my party. This is optional.

All I need to make this Cauliflower Steak a success is to invite *three of my favorite blogger friends to the table to throw loads of new school praise my way. GREG

*Thanks Bibberche, Lentil Breakdown and Two Broads Travel, you know just what my old school ego needs.

purple cauliflowervCauliflower Steak with Spiced Honey


Cauliflower Steaks with Chili-Spiced Honey 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2Source Adapted from Camile BecerraPublished

When I am browning the steaks on the stove I weigh them down with a bacon press to assure that they brown evenly.

Cauliflower Steaks with Chili-Spiced Honey


  • 2/3 cup small dried beans (such as white or flageolet)
  • 4 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (plus more as needed)
  • chili powder (as needed)
  • 6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (divided, plus more for drizzling)
  • 1 lemon (juice only)
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil (plus more for brushing)
  • freshly cracked black pepper (as needed)
  • 2 thinly sliced radishes
  • 2 tablespoon shelled and chopped salted pistachios


Place beans in a medium pot, cover with water by about 1‑inch. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let soak 1 hour. Drain.

Wipe pot clean; return beans to pot. Add broth, ½ teaspoon salt and a big pinch or two chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender but not mushy, about 1 hour (depending on beans). Drain the beans and place them in a medium bowl. While the beans are still warm add 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice; toss to combine. Cover and set aside in a warm place.

Place oven rack in center position and heat oven to 375°F.

Trim away leaves of cauliflower and trim stem end. Using chef’s knife, start at top center of cauliflower head and cut in half through stem end. Trim to create two 1‑inch thick steaks, one from each half. Set cauliflower steaks aside for this recipe; save remaining cauliflower for another use.

Mix remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, honey and a big pinch or two of chili powder in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Swirl the mixture to combine; heat until the honey dissolves. Remove from heat.

Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet large enough to hold both steaks without touching. Brush cauliflower steaks with additional oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the oil in the skillet shimmers but is not yet smoking, add cauliflower steaks and cook until nicely browned and beginning to char, about 3 minutes per side (see note). Pour the spiced honey glaze over the cauliflower, brushing the tops and sides with a pastry brush to coat. Flip and repeat. Transfer skillet to hot oven and bake cauliflower until tender; 10 to 12 minutes.

Place each cauliflower steak onto a warm plate. Brush some of the sauce from the skillet on top each steak; sprinkle with beans to taste (you’ll have extra beans for another use). Garnish the steaks with radish slices and pistachios. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.