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.
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 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.
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.
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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1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 stalk celery
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley (about 1/2 oz.)
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup pepitas