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:
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
- 3/4 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
- 1/4 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, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 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, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 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.