Dinner/ Mediterranean/ Oven dishes/ Side Dishes/ Vegan/ Vegetarian

Cauliflower Steaks with Walnut, Caper & Lemon Salsa

20 January 2022

These cauliflower steaks have been on my to do list for a while and I’m glad I finally got around to it. The amount of flavour this way of cooking gives to the humble cauliflower is ridiculous. First you slowly pan fry the cauliflower in a mix of butter and olive oil until browned on both sides and then they’re finished of in the oven for 20 minutes until fork tender. I also added in the outer leaves when I added the skillet into the oven and they became lovely little crisps.

Top it all off with the salsa and it’s just fingerpicking good! I served it with a simple green side salad, pan fried sea bass and some bread to soak up the juices. I’ll definitely make this again!

Recipe for the cauliflower by @ottolenghi for Bonn Appetit Magazine.

Cauliflower Steaks with Walnut, Caper & Lemon Salsa

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Dinner, side dish
By Ottolenghi & Saffron Serves: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 1 hour


  • ⅓ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained & patted dry
  • 1 long red chili, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried raisins or currants
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (sherry or red wine vinegar)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (or less, to taste, I like it lemony)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 small /medium cauliflower
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (replace with olive oil if keeping it vegan)
  • 2 sprigs oregano (optional, if not readily available then leave it out or replace with thyme)
  • 2 long strips lemon zest
  • Lemon wedges (for serving)


The Salsa


Preheat oven to 180°C and toast walnuts on a baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 7–10 minutes.


Let cool and then chop roughly. Set aside in a bowl.


Increase oven temperature to 220°C for roasting cauliflower.


Heat oil and capers in a small saucepan over medium heat, keep stirring.


After about 5 minutes the capers will burst, turn golden brown and crisp up.


Remove from heat and carefully pour oil and capers over the walnuts.


Mix in the chili, parsley, raisins, vinegar, and lemon zest; season with salt and set aside.

The Cauliflower


Remove only the toughest outer leaves from cauliflower, chop the best looking ones roughly and set aside, discard the rest.


Leave any tender inner leaves on the cauliflower.


Trim stem to create a flat base. Resting cauliflower on stem, cut in half from top to bottom, creating two halves with the stem attached.


Trim outer rounded edge of each piece to create two 3-4 cm thick "steaks" (the stem will hold the florets together), set the steaks aside.


Very roughly chop remaining florets.


Cook florets in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until very tender, 6–8 minutes.


Drain well, then process in a food processor with garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and 1 Tbsp. water until smooth; season with salt. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add some honey or sugar if you'd like it a bit sweeter. Set aside.


Heat oil in a large oven proof skillet (see notes) over medium-high.


Add butter and swirl until melted, then add cauliflower steaks, oregano, and lemon zest.


Cook, gently lifting up cauliflower occasionally to let hot fat run underneath, until steaks are deep golden brown (if oregano or lemon start to burn, place on top of steaks).


Turn steaks and season with salt. Add in some of the set aside outer cauliflower leaves and transfer skillet to oven and roast until cauliflower stems are fork-tender, 10–15 minutes.


To serve, spoon about ⅓ cup cauliflower purée onto plates and place steaks on top. Spoon salsa over and sprinkle with salt. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.


  • Do Ahead: Salsa can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic, pressing directly onto surface and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
  • If you don't have an oven proof skillet you can also transfer it all into a baking dish after sautéing in a frying pan first.

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