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Vegan cauliflower steak makes a beautiful, flexible, and satisfying main dish that’s easy enough for a weeknight but impressive enough for a dinner party. Here’s how to make it, with variations.

vegan cauliflower steaks with cilantro sauce on a plate
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Why we love this recipe

With its curly-headed mid-winter optimism and nearly endless ability to make friends with other foods, cauliflower is the best kind of culinary blank slate. Vegan cauliflower steak brilliantly turns it into an entree. It’s:

  • An easy and fun vegan, gluten-free main dish
  • Crisp and flavorful outside, meltingly tender inside
  • Unimpeachably nutritious
  • Flexible — scroll down for more flavor options

I first published a version of this recipe here and on Serious Eats way back in 2010. I’ve since updated both the recipe and the post.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe as written. For more flavor options, see the section below.

  • Use nice, big heads of cauliflower if possible — about two pounds each.
  • Chili powder refers to the spice blend, not pure ground chili.
  • You can serve the steaks drizzled with chimichurri or our wildly popular cilantro sauce (my favorite choice, pictured here).

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a beautiful batch of vegan cauliflower steak. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Mix the spices together in a small bowl.
  2. Trim the leaves from the cauliflower, plus any extra stem, leaving the head intact.
  3. Slice into 3/4-inch thick slices. You’ll get three to four intact slices from the center of each head, plus some extra florets on each side. You can roast them too or save for another use.
  4. Brush both sides of each steak with olive oil and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Roast at 450°F for 15 minutes, then flip once and roast about 15 minutes more, until browned and tender. Drizzle with sauce and serve.

Expert tips and FAQs

What should I do with the leftover cauliflower from the sides of the head?

There are so many great options. One is to simply treat the florets the same way as the steaks (coated with a bit of olive oil and spice blend) and roast it right on the sheet pan.

If you’d rather save it for another use, try another one of our vegan favorites: tofu cauliflower curry or warm cauliflower, lentil, and quinoa salad.

Can I make this recipe as florets?

Absolutely. You can do everything as indicated in the recipe card, except cut the cauliflower into florets instead of steaks, and toss it together with the olive oil before sprinkling with the spice blend. (You can do all of this in a large mixing bowl or directly on the baking sheet.) Make sure it’s spread out in a single, uncrowded layer, using two baking sheets if necessary. Serve with the cilantro sauce drizzled on top or on the side for dipping.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

One of the beautiful characteristics of this recipe is the crisp outside, tender inside combo. I think it’s worth roasting the steaks right before serving for this reason. The flavors will still be great afterward, so it’s up to you.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week. You can keep them intact or chop them up to add to salads, grain bowls, and more.

More great flavor options for vegan cauliflower steak

Cauliflower takes well to a wide variety of seasonings. Here are a few great options.

  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence + 1 teaspoon garlic powder + 1 teaspoon onion powder (topped with a big dollop of hummus)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano + 1 teaspoon dill weed + 1 teaspoon garlic powder + 1 teaspoon onion powder (topped with a vegan tzatziki)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (topped with marinara)
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (topped with vegan gravy)

More favorite vegan main dishes

vegan cauliflower steak on a sheet pan

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vegan cauliflower steaks with cilantro sauce on a plate
4.82 from 16 votes

Vegan Cauliflower Steak with Chimichurri or Cilantro Sauce

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Cauliflower is so versatile it's almost magic. Here we cut it into" steaks" and roast it to lightly crisp perfection with a savory spice blend and then drizzle it with a tangy chimichurri or cilantro sauce. Makes a great vegan entree. See the notes section for more flavor ideas.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

For the cauliflower steaks

  • 2 large heads cauliflower, about 2 pounds/(900 grams) each
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 450°F with a rack in the center. Wash and dry the cauliflower.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Trim the leaves and any excess stem from the bottom of the cauliflower, leaving the head intact.
  • From the top of the head to the stem, cut three to four 3/4-inch thick "steaks" from the center of each head. There will be some florets on either side that fall off. You can see this step in action in the video that accompanies this post.
  • Place the cauliflower steaks on a baking sheet with some space in between. Use two sheets if necessary. Brush each steak on both sides with the olive oil, and sprinkle both sides with the spice mixture.
  • Roast for 15 minutes, then flip each steak and roast until tender, about 15 minutes more.
  • While the cauliflower roasts, prepare the chimichurri or cilantro sauce.
  • Drizzle steaks with sauce and serve.

Notes

  1. Use nice, big heads of cauliflower if possible — about two pounds each.
  2. Chili powder refers to the spice blend, not pure ground chili.
  3. There are so many great options. One is to simply treat the florets the same way as the steaks (coated with a bit of olive oil and spice blend) and roast it right on the sheet pan. If you’d rather save it for another use, try another one of our vegan favorites: tofu cauliflower curry or warm cauliflower, lentil, and quinoa salad.
  4. If you like, instead of steaks, you can make this recipe with florets and serve it as an appetizer or side dish. You can do everything as indicated, except cut the cauliflower into florets instead of steaks, and toss it together with the olive oil before sprinkling with the spice blend. (You can do all of this in a large mixing bowl or directly on the baking sheet.) Make sure it’s spread out in a single, uncrowded layer, using two baking sheets if necessary. Serve with the cilantro sauce drizzled on top or on the side for dipping.
  5. One of the beautiful characteristics of this recipe is the crisp outside, tender inside combo, so I think it’s worth roasting the steaks right before serving for this reason. The flavors will still be great afterward, so it’s up to you.
  6. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week. You can keep them intact or chop them up to add to salads, grain bowls, and more.

Nutrition

Calories: 254kcal, Carbohydrates: 18.8g, Protein: 3.7g, Fat: 21.7g, Fiber: 4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Snacks and Starters
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.82 from 16 votes (16 ratings without comment)

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