Cauliflower Steaks with Crispy Butter Beans and Pepita Romesco Sauce


Layers of flavor and texture are so important when cooking plant-based. No one likes bland or one-note food, and these cauliflower steaks are the opposite of that. We start with a zesty Romesco sauce on the base of the plate, and then add two crispy, earthy layers of sautéed butter beans and roasted cauliflower, and then top it off with a crunchy, vibrant, bright celery and shallot salad and roasted pepitas.

Why Cauliflower Steaks?

Sure you could just roast some cauliflower florets and call it a day, but there is something deeply satisfying about having a big meaty chunk of plant on your plate to really make it feel like a meal. Plus you can take some beautiful food pictures that inspire even the most stubborn of meat eaters to eat more plants.

Romesco Sauce History

Romesco is typically a tomato-based sauce from Catalonia. It is traditionally made with roasted tomatoes, garlic, toasted almonds, pine nuts, or hazelnuts, olive oil and red peppers. Stale bread can be used as a thickener or texturizer. The sauce may also contain vinegar, onion, or herbs.

My Take on This Traditional Sauce

When I learned that Romesco sauce started as a tomato based sauce, I was surprised because I have always made it with a base of roasted red peppers. When making your sauce, which peppers you select are important. I find that canned red peppers tend to have a metallic, tinny taste, and I prefer to use jarred instead. (This is similar to the butter beans, so if you can find them in a box instead of in a can, do it.)

Instead of the bread used in traditional recipes, crunchy pepitas add a thickness and bite to the sauce. Brighten it up with lemon juice and garlic, and blend it with olive oil and water. This sauce is plated on the base of the dish and is the perfect dip for the earthy cauliflower steaks.

What to cook next?

Love cauliflower? Check out this recipe for another cruciferous vegetable, Romanesco Broccoli, the glorious embodiment of Fibbonacci’s sequence in plants.

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Cauliflower Steaks with Crispy Butter Beans and Pepita Romesco Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield:2 servings


1 head cauliflower

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

small shallot

1 stalk celery

Small bunch of flat leaf parsley (about 1/2 oz.)

1 lemon

1 – 4 ounce jar roasted red peppers

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup pepitas

1 – 14 ounce can of butter beans


Cauliflower Steaks

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Trim leaves off of cauliflower, and cut off 1 inch from the stem. Trim away leaves from remaining stem. Cut the cauliflower into 4 thick steaks.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub both sides of the steaks with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and then season both sides of the steaks with salt, pepper, and dried oregano. Roast cauliflower until tender and well browned, and even slightly burnt in places, about 20-25 minutes.

Celery Salad

  1. While cauliflower is cooking, peel and thinly slice the shallot. Thinly slice the celery. Pick parsley leaves away from stems.
  2. Combine shallot, celery, and parsley in a small bowl and add juice from half of the lemon. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to combine the celery salad.

Romanesco Sauce

  1. Peel garlic. Drain and rinse the roasted red peppers.
  2. Add juice of the other half of lemon, red peppers, garlic, and 1/4 cup of pepitas to a high speed blender. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon water. Blend on high until the pepita romesco sauce is well combined.
  3. Heat a small skillet over medium heat, and add remaining pepitas. Cook until toasted and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.

Butter Beans

  1. Drain and rinse the butter beans, and dry with a cloth. The drier you get the beans, the crispier they will be when cooked. Place a large skillet on medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add the butter beans and season with salt and pepper. Cook beans until crispy in places, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

To Serve

  1. Spread the pepita romesco sauce on 2 large plates. Top with crispy butter beans and then cauliflower steaks. Top with celery salad and toasted pepitas.

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