Meaty pieces of roasted purple cauliflower steaks covered with the most delicious zesty and spicy chimichurri is the ideal side dish (or main dish!) for your next weeknight dinner. This recipe takes about 5 minutes of "hands-on" time and 25-30 minutes total...and is naturally vegan and gluten free.
Time to eat healthy again
I just love cauliflower -- it's so tender and satisfying and oddly versatile. I mean, think of all of the different ways to prepare cauliflower. I love it mashed, it's a great substitute in fried rice, you can form patties and pan fry, and I'm obsessed with Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi. Then there's the most simple preparation and the one I tend to do the most: roasting the cauliflower simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper then covering in a zesty, spicy chimichurri.
What is a cauliflower steak?
Cauliflower "steak" is all about how you cut the cauliflower. When you cut the head of the cauliflower into thick pieces vertically (between ¾" and 1"), you get these tender, substantial slices of cauliflower that make you feel like you're eating something hearty like a steak. My husband isn't fooled, but I could definitely have this for dinner on a Meatless Monday.
We've eaten some seriously delicious cauliflower steaks at Nobu in Malibu and Handle in Park City -- and these two places have inspired me to think about all of the amazing flavor combinations cauliflower can handle, including this spicy and fresh chimichurri sauce....but more on that later.
Why purple cauliflower and what does it taste like?
There's absolutely no advantage to using purple cauliflower other than it's just beautiful. You can certainly use regular cauliflower -- I do that all the time. Whole Foods recently had locally grown purple cauliflower, so I jumped at the chance to make this again with a more vibrant color.
Purple cauliflower gets its tinge from an antioxidant called anthocyanin. which also exists in red wine and red cabbage. It's not dyed or anything crazy like that.
Purple cauliflower also tastes like regular cauliflower. It still has the same crumbly but firm texture white cauliflower has. The only real difference is in the color. Purple cauliflower can range from a light purple (like the one I bought) to a very dark, vibrant purple.
The Star of the Show: Chimichurri
My husband introduced me to the joys of chimichurri many years ago. In fact, this is his recipe. He likes chimichurri on nearly everything -- with a good ribeye, on eggs, on vegetables, you name it -- he'll eat it. In our quest to get away from cookie after cookie, I've been remembering what other healthy alternatives I have in my arsenal, and purple cauliflower steaks with chimichurri is a seriously solid one.
If you've never had a chimichurri sauce, it's an Argentinian pesto (packed with parsley and cilantro instead of basil). It's zesty thanks to the mix of herbs and fresh lemon juice, a little bit vinegary thanks to...well, vinegar, and spicy thanks to a hot pepper and red pepper flakes. It also takes about 3 minutes to make thanks to a food processor.
9 Ingredients you'll need to make this purple cauliflower recipe:
- serrano pepper (or jalapeno if you want it less spicy...or leave this out completely if you want zero kick)
- lemon juice
- red wine vinegar
- red wine vinegar
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
How to Make Roasted Purple Cauliflower
For the purple cauliflower
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove and trim stem from cauliflower head. Cut purple cauliflower vertically in ¾"-1" slices. Place cauliflower on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush with just a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until fork tender.
For the chimichurri
All of the ingredients for this purple cauliflower recipe (except for the olive oil) goes into a food processor for about a minute or until all combined. Then, slowly add in the olive oil and BAM! You've got the most delicious sauce for so many things.
You likely won't use all of the chimichurri up, too, so be prepared to put on eggs, serve with pork tenderloin, or place on other roasted vegetables.
Increase the spice or tone it down
I'm a weakling when it comes to spice. I can do a little bit -- and love a small amount of red pepper flakes in my food -- but that's pretty much the extent of it. My husband, on the other hand, likes things super spicy. For him, I use a serrano pepper instead of jalapeno and don't bother taking out the seeds for that extra kick.
If you're not into spicy foods at all, just leave out the hot pepper all together, and if you're *really* not into any spice, leave out the red pepper flakes also.
Let's all try some new vegetables in the new year!
Purple Cauliflower Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce
- 1 head purple cauliflower (or 2 if they're small)
- 1 cup parsley (flat leaf or curly), tightly packed
- 1 cup cilantro, tightly packed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, sliced (seeds kept or removed)
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ cup good quality olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove and trim stem from cauliflower head. Cut purple cauliflower vertically in ¾"-1" slices . Place cauliflower on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush with just a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until fork tender.
- Meanwhile, combine all of the chimichurri ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor. Mix on high until well combined then slowly add in olive oil until completely combined.
- When cauliflower comes out of the oven, serve on a plate with chimichurri sauce. Serve immediately.