Cauliflower steaks with lemon-caper lentils and Moroccan white bean puree: An impressive vegan and gluten-free entree perfect for entertaining or easy weeknight dinner.
Why You'll Love these Cauliflower Steaks:
I could wax poetic about this dish and the layers of textures and flavors it emulates all day.
To start, the white bean puree lays a smoky-sweet foundation for meaty cauliflower steaks. Heaps of lentils add protein and fiber, briny bits of capers add zing, and herbs a fresh finish. My favorite Moroccan spice paste, harissa, does the heavy lifting in both the puree and the cauliflower steaks. This way, you get a double dose of its irresistible flavor.
How to Make Cauliflower Steaks:
Cauliflower steaks help make this dish feel hearty enough to really satisfy. There are, however, a few tricks to achieve the meatiest cauliflower steaks.
- Pro tip #1: Choose a LARGE cauliflower head. This helps ensure the center core stays intact when you slice into it. Most large cauliflower heads will yield 3 to 4 "steaks" depending on how thick you slice them. The end pieces will likely fall apart and that's totally fine! Just roast the remaining florets alongside the steaks.
- Pro tip #2: Make sure the cauliflower has enough space to breathe on the baking sheet. If the pieces are too close together, they'll steam as opposed to brown and caramelize (pictured above). And those crispy bits are really where the magic lies.
What to Serve with Cauliflower Steaks:
This recipe also calls for black lentils, which lend extra meatiness to the dish. Not only are black lentils a nutrition-powerhouse, they're super-forgiving in terms of cooking. Plus, they can take on a LOT of flavor, so don't be afraid to douse them in spices, acid, and olive oil.
I use the black variety here because they are firm, rich, and hold their shape well after cooking. I typically purchase mine from the bulk bin section of Whole Foods or Sprouts, which tend to be the best deal. Plus, I can purchase however many I need!
I should also explain why "hummus" is in quotations. Shocking as it may be, I actually did NOT add tahini to the puree, therefore stripping it of the technical term "hummus". Mainly because I wanted the harissa to shine through as much as possible and not be masked by the bitterness of tahini.
However, if you decide to make this puree into a dip or hummus, feel free to add a few tablespoons of tahini. Either way, it's good enough to be eaten by the spoonful.If you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations!
More Vegan Cauliflower Recipes to Try:
BBQ Cauliflower Tacos with Green Tahini
Teriyaki Cauliflower Power Bowls
Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon-Caper Lentils and Harissa "Hummus"
- 1 cup black lentils rinsed
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice divided
- 2 Tbsp. capers drained
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil divided
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt divided
- 1 tsp. black pepper divided
- 4 Tbsp. harissa paste divided
- 1 15-oz. can great northern or cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup freshly chopped mint leaves
- 4 Tbsp. pine nuts
- Add lentils and broth to a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are soft, 30–40 minutes. Stir in 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and capers. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F. Remove toughest outer leaves from cauliflower (leave on any tender inner leaves). Trim stem to create a flat base. Holding cauliflower upright on stem, slice into 4 equal slabs to create steaks. Place steaks and florets on a rimmed baking sheet; Brush with 2 Tbsp. of the oil, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. black pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, carefully flipping/tossing once halfway through, under tender. Brush with 2 Tbsp. harissa; bake for 5 more minutes.
- Combine beans, remaining 2 Tbsp. harissa, garlic, remaining 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. oil, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. black pepper in a food processor; blend until smooth.
- Divide harissa "hummus" evenly among each of 4 plates. Top evenly with lentils and one cauliflower steak. Brush additional harissa over cauliflower, if desired. Garnish with fresh mint, pine nuts, and an extra drizzle of olive oil.
Thank you for a fantastic recipe. We both really enjoyed it and will be putting into rotation for meal plans. We liked eating a mixture of the steaks and some crispy cauliflower bits (achieved by cutting the florets that didn't stick together into smaller pieces). For my own personalizeation I added a little bit of lime juice and cumin to the "hummus", I know not all harissa sauces are made same, I was using a Trader Joe's one. I'm excited to explore more of your recipes.
This was a very unique recipe and we weren’t sure what to expect but it was delicious! Great combination of flavors which made for a complex and very yummy meal! Will definitely be making this repeatedly!
Is the hummus served at room temp? This is a beautiful dish, plan the make it soon.
Hi Fran - the hummus should be room temp. Enjoy!
This was a fantastic recipe, thank you very much. As noted in another comment, I doubled the bean spread, which worked out perfectly. I served it alongside a cucumber salad which paired perfectly.
So glad you enjoyed it, Pauline! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
I have not made this recipe yet it looks delicious I like the way it looks also is visually appealing and my only question is is this going to be really spicy I like spice up my food but if it’s too hot I can’t eat it
Hi Cindy—it’s not spicy at all as long as you use MILD harissa sauce. I use a brand called Mina.
This was delicious! My harissa that I had been saving forever was expired by the time I went to make this recipe but it was still an amazing recipe without it. I highly recommend using the bean purée as a dip alongside hummus and/or can replace middle-eastern garlic sauce for falafel dishes. I certainly added it to my old school handwritten cookbook for quick favorites.
This recipe was really delicious. I doubled the "harissa hummus" portion b/c I knew my gluttonous hubby would want more, and I'm glad I did. Because even with the extra we had more lentils than hummus and the ratio was a tad off.
Also found that the cauliflower florets crisped up much better than the pieces that were cut into steaks. So next time I will stick to florets-only. And there will definitely be a next time.
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! I agree, the florets always crisp up better than the steaks. They're just a fun alternative to the florets sometimes. 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!
So delicious! Made this the other night and just left out the capers as they aren't really my favorite. Absolutely loved it, and have a new recipe to add to easy and impressive dinners to make for friends. Also, had some leftover bean harissa dip and have been enjoying it on sandwiches with some leafy greens and cucumber for lunch!
Made this for dinner the other night and absolutely loved it! Instead of dried black lentils I used a can and skipped the simmer step, but besides that I made it as is 🙂
Hi Mallory, I'm SO glad to hear you enjoyed it! It's one of my favorite recipes. And I love the shortcut you took! Cheers
I don't seem to getting the same nutritional information as you. Even if I exclude the pine nuts I get 1 serving to be 473 calories which is way higher than 302. Does the recipe call for 1 cup of dry lentils or precooked?
Between the black lentils (680 calories), the olive oil (480 calories), and the beans (385 calories) that adds up alone to be 385 calories per serving so I don't see how you have less than 385.
jeez kate - way to put a downer on a great dish, If you care so much about counting calories, then maybe you should only stick to dishes you can suck through a straw
Haters gonna hate!!!!! great recipe Jamie
Would love to make this soon but I can’t seem to find black lentils. Do you think any other lentils would work well?
That harissa hummus looks so delicious. I've never tried adding harissa to a hummus or a dip like that - but harissa is one of my favorite condiments / ingredients! Can't wait to try this. Thank you!
Hi Billy, Harissa is one of my favorites as well—so flavorful. I hope you enjoy it in this recipe!
Delicious! I added a touch more harissa and garlic in the "hummus," and the whole meal was a hit! I could see this being a very easy meal to throw together when you are used to it and have the ingredients on hand, even on a week night. I was worried that there wouldn't be enough flavor, in trying the individual things, but together, it really pops. Thank you!
PS Thank you for saying where you get the black lentils. Apparently I can ONLY purchase those in the bins at Whole Foods.
Hi Kelly, I'm so glad the recipe was a hit! Thank you for coming back and leaving a review. Cheers!
Never tried harissa but it was easy to find and we loved the taste! I'd like to try the white bean spread as a dip too.