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Cauliflower Steaks with Caramelized Shallots

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 4 to 8 (main or side)
Calories: 486kcal
Author: Nisha Vora

Ingredients

  • 2 large heads of cauliflower*
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce/425g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup (30g) shelled roasted pistachios**
  • 1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Caramelized Shallots and Garlic

  • 4 large shallots, very thinly sliced (about 1/8" thick)***
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (try to slice as evenly as possible for even cooking)
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
  • Flaky or coarse sea salt

Herby Tahini Sauce

  • 1 medium lemon, zested and juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • Heaping 1/3 cup (85g) tahini, well stirred****
  • ½ cup (10g) flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 fat garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons ice water, more as needed

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 425ºF/218ºC and slice the cauliflower. Trim the tough outer leaves from each cauliflower. Trim the bottom stem off but keep the core intact (this is essential for getting steak-style cuts). Slice from the top down into ¾-inch thick steaks.
    NOTE: You will get quite a few loose florets.*****
  • Prep the cauliflower: Arrange the cauliflower steaks on two rimmed sheet pans in a single layer (no parchment paper). Drizzle the steaks with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, rubbing it into the crevices, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Flip the steaks and rub in another tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Prep the chickpeas: Transfer rinsed chickpeas to a clean towel and gently rub to dry; or transfer to a salad spinner to dry even better. In a bowl, toss the chickpeas with 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil, and season with ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and several cracks of black pepper. Scatter the chickpeas across the two sheet pans amongst the steaks.
  • Roast the cauliflower in the oven for 25 minutes, undisturbed. Remove from the oven and use a wide spatula to carefully flip the steaks. Toss the chickpeas. Continue roasting for another 10 minutes, until the steaks are nicely browned on both sides and the chickpeas are crunchy and browned.
  • Meanwhile, make the caramelized shallots and garlic: Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat and line a surface with a couple paper towels. Once hot, add the shallots and season with some salt. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Once the shallots are nicely browned, add the garlic and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots are completely soft and have golden-brown fried edges and the garlic is golden but not browned. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and Aleppo pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring very frequently.
    Transfer shallot mixture to paper-towel lined surface (to absorb excess oil) and lightly sprinkle with salt.
  • Make the herby tahini sauce. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, tahini, parsley, salt, several cracks of black pepper, cumin, and maple syrup to a food processor. Blend until the sauce starts to come together. With the motor running, add the ice water gradually. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add another spoon of water as needed until creamy but not stiff.
    Taste for seasonings, adding a pinch more salt as needed. The tahini sauce will thicken after resting. You can also make the sauce 3-4 days in advance.
  • If you have a spice grinder, blitz half of the roasted pistachios for the "pistachio dust" (it's cheesy and nutty, so good!).
  • Assemble the dish: Transfer the cauliflower steaks to a serving platter. Spoon a generous amount of the tahini sauce on top, and top with the caramelized shallots and garlic. Scatter the pistachios on top, and if using, the roasted chickpeas. Top with the chopped parsley.

Notes

*If using large cauliflower, you should get 3 steak-style cuts. If using small cauliflower, you will get 2 steak-style cuts. If your steaks are thicker (1 inch), the steaks will need 30 minutes on the first side and 15 minutes on the second side.
**If your pistachios are raw, here's how to toast them. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Allow the pan to heat up for a few minutes to get hot. Then add the pistachios and shake the pan frequently until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Take off the heat before chopping or grinding. 
***If you have a mandoline, it's the easiest and quickest way to slice the shallots evenly.  
****Our recommended tahini brands are Soom Tahini, Seed + Mill, and the Whole Foods 365 brand (most affordable). 
*****Ideas for using up the loose cauliflower florets are in the "Frequently Asked Questions" sections.