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Cauliflower Steaks With Olive & Herb Salsa

Today we’re going to dive into a dish that’s not just healthy and delicious, but also fun to make!

Meet these cauliflower steaks with olive & herb salsa.

cauliflower steak with herb salsa

Now, don’t let the word “steak” fool you. 

This dish is 100% vegan.

But the best thing about this dish is that it’s so versatile. It’s sophisticated enough to be served at a fancy dinner party, and easy enough for a midweek dinner.

Ingredients you’ll need

This is a simple recipe, so I recommend getting good-quality ingredients.

  • Cauliflower: This veggie hero forms the “steak” in our dish. It’s got a deliciously nutty flavor that’s enhanced by roasting, but still subtle enough that you can really taste the zingy sauce it’s paired with. You need a large, dense head of cauliflower.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: A kitchen staple that brings a mild fruity flavor to our sauce and adds some necessary moisture to our steaks. You can also use avocado oil. Be generous with the oil.
  • Pimento-stuffed green olives: These bring a delightful salty flavor to our salsa. I love pimento stuffed olives because of the hint of spice you get, but you can use any olives you want.
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice brightens up our salsa and balances out the richness of the olive oil. Be careful not to add too much lemon juice, though!
  • Baby capers: These little bursts of briny flavor complement our salsa, adding a real depth to the dish.
  • Fresh parsley & oregano: the heart of our salsa. Fresh herbs make all the difference, adding vibrancy and a mouthwatering aroma. Don’t use dried!
  • Sugar: Just a touch is needed to balance the tartness of the salsa. You can also use honey or maple syrup.

Let’s get cooking: step-by-step instructions

Prepare the cauliflower

Begin by preheating your oven to 350F (180C). To save on cleanup, line two baking trays with baking paper.

Take your cauliflower and cut it crossways into four 1.5 cm-thick slices. This can be a little tricky, so make sure you’re using a sharp knife.

In a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Add one slice of cauliflower to the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes, turning halfway through.

It should be golden brown on both sides. 

Roast the cauliflower

Then transfer the fried cauliflower to your prepared baking trays and sprinkle it with some freshly ground salt and pepper. Repeat this process for the remaining cauliflower slices.

Once all your cauliflower slices are ready, roast them in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until tender. The result will be a golden and soft cauliflower steak.

Prepare the salsa

While your cauliflower is roasting, start preparing your salsa. 

In a small bowl, combine finely chopped olives, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, baby capers, chopped parsley, oregano, and a pinch of sugar. 

Season this mixture with freshly ground salt and pepper. 

Stir until it is well mixed. 

Taste your salsa – if you find it too tart, add more sugar to balance it out. Or if it’s too flat, a bit more lemon juice can brighten it up.

Plate and serve

Once your cauliflower steaks are done, carefully transfer them to a serving dish and generously top each steak with your homemade olive and herb salsa.

A beginner’s guide to cutting cauliflower steaks

Cutting cauliflower into steak-like slices can be hard to get right. They’re so crumbly!

But with a little patience and a few handy tips, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

Remove the leaves: start by removing any green leaves from the cauliflower. You can cut them off with a knife or pull them off by hand.

Trim the stem: you want to leave some of the stem intact because this is what holds the florets together, but trim off any excess to create a flat base.

Slice the cauliflower: position the cauliflower with its flat stem side down on the cutting board. With a large, sharp knife, cut the cauliflower in half right through the center.

Cut the steaks: cut each half into thick slices (about 1.5 cm). Aim to get at least two ‘steaks’ out of each half. The middle sections are the easiest to cut into steaks because they hold together the best.

Use the florets: you’ll probably end up with some loose florets – don’t toss these! You can roast these alongside your steaks or save them for another dish. We hate food waste here.

Psst… you can also save the leaves to use in soup or make pesto with.

Other sauce ideas

Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable that it can pair well with loads of sauces. 

Here are a few other ideas if you’d like to experiment.

  • Garlic aioli: creamy and garlicky, this sauce will complement the crispness of your cauliflower steaks. You could also add a dash of lemon juice for an extra zing.
  • Chimichurri: this Argentinian sauce is a blend of parsley, garlic, vinegar, oil, and chili. It will bring a burst of bright, tangy flavor to your dish. It’s a good sauce to have in your repertoire because chimichurri pairs well with so many dishes.
  • Romesco sauce: this Spanish specialty made with roasted red peppers, almonds, garlic, and bread adds a rich, smoky flavor profile that goes wonderfully with roasted cauliflower.
  • Pesto: a classic Italian sauce made from basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. The fresh, herby taste of pesto pairs excellently with cauliflower steaks.
  • Yogurt tahini sauce: Middle Eastern-inspired, this sauce combines the creaminess of yogurt with the nuttiness of tahini, a hint of garlic, and a splash of lemon juice. It’s YUM.

What to serve with cauliflower steak

You want something that complements the cauliflower without overshadowing it. 

Here are a few things I’ve served alongside the steaks.

  • Lentil stew: cook the lentils until they’re just tender, but still have a slight bite that contrasts with the softer texture of the cauliflower.
  • Mashed sweet potatoes: sweet potatoes are delicious with the nutty flavor of roasted cauliflower. And the bright orange color will look great on the plate! You can prep them ahead of time and then store the cut sweet potato in water in the fridge. Sweet potato fries are another delicious option.
  • Rice pilaf: a beautifully fragrant rice pilaf studded with nuts and dried fruit will turn your cauliflower steak into an autumnal treat.
  • Mac and cheese: a creamy, cheesy pasta will bring comfort and indulgence to your meal, contrasting beautifully with the light and fresh olive & herb salsa. Run out of butter? I’ve got a great guide on butter substitutes for mac and cheese. And while you’re at it, have a look at the best milk replacements for mac and cheese.
  • Roasted vegetables: use a medley of your favorite veggies, toss them in a bit of olive oil, sprinkle some herbs and spices, and roast them alongside the steaks. Easy peasy, and you can easily reheat leftover roasted veg too.
  • Cinnamon rolls: for dessert, consider baking a batch of freshly heated cinnamon rolls. The sweetness of the cinnamon sugar and cream cheese frosting is like a warm, sweet hug after your satisfying dinner!

Storing and reheating

Place leftover cauliflower steaks in an airtight container, and separate them from the salsa. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Unfortunately, due to cauliflower’s high water content, freezing is not the best option for these steaks. The texture will likely change upon thawing, becoming mushy rather than firm and steak-like.

When you’re ready to enjoy your leftovers, preheat your oven to 350F.

Place the steaks on a baking sheet and warm them for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through. It’s best to add the salsa fresh, if possible, to maintain its vibrant flavor and texture.

Cauliflower Steaks With Olive & Herb Salsa

Bring some healthiness to your dinner table with these nutrition-packed cauliflower steaks.
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large about 1.2kg cauliflower, cut crossways into four 1.5cm-thick pieces
  • 50 g 1/4 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, finely chopped
  • 60 ml 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon baby capers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh continental parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon caster sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cauliflower piece to the pan. Cook, turning, for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Transfer to prepared trays. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and cauliflower pieces. Roast cauliflower for 12-15 minutes or until tender.
  • Meanwhile, combine the olives, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, capers, parsley, oregano and sugar in a small bowl. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish. Top with the olive mixture.

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