Kitchen Catastrophe 21 – Cauliflower Steaks

  Have you ever hooked up with a woman, and a week later, she ‘ran into you’ at the mall, wearing a wig, swearing she’s a different woman? And the next week, the same woman had a more elaborate disguise, and seduced you again, before revealing she was a sex-bot designed to appeal to adults but not children? No? That was just a fever dream I had after watching Blade Runner and A.I. while drinking German liqueur? Thank God. So let’s talk about a more commonly encountered shape-shifting seductress of the dinner table, Brassica Oleracea.

Fancy name for a simple thing.

Yes, the common Cauliflower. Or Broccoli. Or Kale, Kohl-rabi, Cabbage, Collard Greens, or Brussels Sprouts. Seriously, these are all the exact same plant. Well, they’re cultivars of the same SPECIES of plant. Meaning we took one plant, and redesigned it SEVEN different ways to be more appealing. Hence my comparison to a sex-bot earlier, but it’s more accurate to think of them as…sisters. They’re all basically genetically identical, but each has their own personality.

Kale, obviously, is the trendy hipster socialite. You’re kind of into her, but she seems really high maintenance and a little in-your-face about being healthy all the time. Kohl-rabi is the sister that went off to a school on the other side of the country and majored in Pottery, and only speaks in cryptic but cutting asides at family Christmas parties, where she insists on spiking her egg-nog with absinthe. Cauliflower is perhaps the saddest. She’s the least disliked sister, but she’s also the least LOVED. She’s the perpetually cheerful one, with all the same interests as you and your friends, and you try dating her for a while, but she’s never quite in sync; like, she loves video games like you and your friends, but you guys play Civilization, she prefers Doom. And the fact that she’s always almost perfect makes it even more maddening.

I’ve dated several cabbages in my time, is the point.

Does that make this revenge porn?

I would never, Caption Jon. How dare you. Anyway, among the remarkably diverse oleraceas, Cauliflower is also the most adaptable. You see it steamed beside steak. You see it raw on vegetable platters. People make pizza crust out of it. I tested for myself the claim that cauliflower dipped in BBQ sauce tastes just like chicken nuggets. (Close, but not quite right. More on that later.)  It subs for mashed potatoes, rice, and chicken.  So I, of course, presented with this wide array of options, picked the second easiest method, the Cauliflower steak.

Accidentally Healthy

Now, we recently updated our archive to include tags on all our posts, so you can search for dinners, or breakfasts, or for health concerns like Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, and Vegetarian. And for a man who loves starches as much as myself, I’m shocked I’ve made so many gluten-free recipes. However, going through the posts, I made another realization: We’ve only made one Vegan recipe, buried in a 4 recipe post, for salsa. Making vegan salsa isn’t an accomplishment; it’s how it’s supposed to be made.  So I decided to make this a vegan post. And then the vegan recipe was super boring, so I made it a vegan/vegetarian post.

Doubling down on Veggies

Most cauliflower steak recipes share a couple foundations: steaks ¾ -1 inch wide, roasted on a baking sheet with parchment paper, cook at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, flip, and cook for another 15-20. The main variety is what you put on the steak for flavor.

Also, there was another fundamental shared point that I wish I had known several years ago: make your first cut through the middle, and cut your steaks outward from there. This gives you a better portion of the stem in each steak, making them more likely to keep their shape.

And yet, I still manage to screw it up.

Next, toppings. The vegan recipe is super simple (Read “Boring”). Baste the top side with sauce, baste the other side after you flip. The sauce is minced garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, olive oil, and- wait a second. This is a vinaigrette! This recipe is just “Make steaks, make a vinaigrette, put on steaks, cook.” See, this is why I needed two recipes, if I had only had the vegan one, I’d have wasted 400 words on dating vegetables, and 200 on actually making the food. Like that note I wrote 80% of while drunk.

The vegetarian dish is only slightly more complicated, and most of that comes from the fact that you bread the steaks in a full dredge.

I gave this shot the Dutch angle, to make stationary tubs seem cooler.

One tub flour, one tub egg with a dash of milk, and the last tub is a mixture of breadcrumbs, parmesan, and flavorings. Flop flop shake, flop flop shake, flop flop shake. Sprinkle olive oil on top, and boom, done.

Forty minutes later, they’re done.

Probably a little overdone, dumb dumb.

I ate one of each. Then went back and ate the other two. And you know what? Both recipes were fine. The vegan one had crisp edges and tender ‘flesh’, and the garlic and lemon gave it solid flavor, while the breaded one had a great crunch factor over tender “meat”. You could probably serve it to kids as chicken nuggets, and not get caught.  I will say that they’re not quite weighty enough to carry entrée status in my house, but I think they could get there. Vegan or vegetarian, cauliflower steaks are simple enough and tasty enough to add to your vegetable curriculum.

Maybe I was too harsh.

As ever, thanks for reading, and if you like the post, feel free to share it or like our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and tell your friends.



Serve 1 Jon or 2 normal people.

Vegan Cauliflower Steaks with Garlic Vinaigrette


  • 1 head cauliflower, leaves and bottom stem trimmed
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut cauliflower in half, cutting down through the stem. Slice steaks out from middle cut, in ¾-1 inch strips. Place steaks on prepared baking sheet.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients together in a small dish, and spoon half onto the tops of the steaks.
  4. Roast 15-20 minutes, flip the steaks, spoon remaining vinaigrette over newly exposed sides, and roast additional 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, and plate steaks. Serve warm.

Vegetarian Breaded Cauliflower Steaks


  • 1 head cauliflower, leaves and bottom stem trimmed
  • Dredge 1
    • ¼ cup flour
    • Dredge 2
      •  1 egg
      •  2 tbsp milk
      • Dredge 3
        • ¾ c breadcrumbs (Panko will give a bigger crunch, normal will be more ‘chicken nuggety’ )
        • ¼ c parmesan
        •  1 tsp mustard powder
        •  Salt and Pepper to taste
        • Olive oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut cauliflower in half, cutting down through the stem. Slice steaks out from middle cut, in ¾-1 inch strips. Place steaks on prepared baking sheet.
  3. Using three dishes, compose the 3 dredges, and dredge each steak, flipping to cover both sides in each dredge before dropping it into the next, and place breaded steaks on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkly top with olive oil.
  4. Roast 15-20 minutes, flip, sprinkle with more olive oil, roast another 15-20. Remove from the oven, and plate the steaks. Serve warm with sauce of your choice.