Big, Bold Vegan Flavors
One of the common frustrations I hear among plant-based eaters is a lack of big, hearty dishes. As much as we love our vegan Buddha Bowls and Kale Salads, sometimes it’s nice to cut into a thick “steak” and take a big bite. We crave bold, interesting flavors.
“Healthy” doesn’t have to mean “boring”. On the contrary, when I started cooking more healthy, plant-based recipes, I began discovering the complex flavors of different cuisines. Cooking delicious vegan recipes meant exploring the cuisines of India, Thailand, Morocco, and Peru. Eating more vegan dishes will often push you to get out of a Standard American “meat and potatoes” rut. In fact, you’ll probably expand the variety of foods you eat. This recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Spicy Tunisian Chermoula is a prime example.
Hearty Cauliflower Steaks
A big head of cauliflower can be cut into thick, hearty steaks. The trick is to leave the core intact while cutting the cauliflower. This helps the steaks hold together, rather than crumble into florets.
Once you’ve cut the steaks, you can treat them as a vegetarian substitute for meat steaks. Roast them in the oven, sear them in a cast-iron pan, or put them on the grill. Even though it’s plant-based, the goal with cooking is the same: Get a nice char on the outside and finish until tender on the inside.
These steaks can then be slathered in a sauce like Oil-Free Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce or Oil-Free Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. Or wedge them between two slices of bread for a hearty cauliflower sandwich.
Spicy Tunisian Chermoula Sauce
Chermoula is a herbaceous sauce that originated in Morocco as a common accompaniment to tagine. However, it quickly traveled to other parts of Northern Africa. There, it was often served as a sauce for fish. It compliments the delicate, subtly sweet flavor of seafood. Because of this, my plant-based vegan recipe uses roasted cauliflower, which also as a subtly sweet flavor.
Chermoula Flavors and Variations
What does Chermoula taste like? It has a spicy kick combined with a smoky warmth from spices like paprika and cumin. Plus, a fresh pop of flavor comes from fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, and mint. Other flavor components can include ginger, lemon, red chilis, and lime.
Just as there is no “set recipe” for Indian Curry or Mexican mole, there is no “one recipe” for Chermoula. A Tunisian Chermoula might have mashed grapes while a Moroccan version could have Ras al Hanout.
Traditionally, oil is used as the fatty emulsifier to bring all of the flavors together. For my recipe, though, I’m on a mission to cook without oil. I use avocado and green peas to add creamy, rich flavor. These also help create a thicker sauce and add bright green color.
This Chermoula sauce works great on other roasted and grilled vegetables like eggplant steaks, Portobello mushrooms, or roasted potatoes. It also makes a great spread for wraps and sandwiches, similar to a spicy mayo or hummus. Or mix into simple rice and grain dishes for an easy flavor-boost.
Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Spicy Tunisian Chermoula Sauce
Medium| Servings: 4 | Ready In: 30 minutes | Yield: 4 cauliflower steaks + 1 1/2 cups Chermoula
Bold flavor packs this hearty, vegan entrée. Cauliflower “steaks” are oil-free roasted and topped with a spicy, creamy Tunisian Chermoula Sauce. This makes an impressive plant-based dinner. Healthy and satisfying. If you like this, you’ll also love: Whole Roasted Argentinian Cauliflower, Moroccan Chickpea Tagine Stew, and Oil-Free Cauliflower Couscous with Rosemary and Lemon.
For the Roasted Cauliflower Steaks
- 1 head cauliflower
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Spicy Tunisian Chermoula Sauce:
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, stems removed
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup water, as needed
How it’s Done:
To Oil-Free Roast the Cauliflower Steaks:
Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick baking mat. Remove the leaves and trim the stem of the cauliflower, leaving the core intact.
Place the cauliflower core-side-down on a cutting board. Slice the cauliflower into four 1-inch thick “steaks”. Place the steaks on the pre-lined baking sheet. Also, place any loose florets on the baking sheet.
Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan (usually about 1/2 cup is enough). Place the cauliflower in the oven. Roast for 25 minutes, or until knife-glide tender. Flip after the first 15 minutes of roasting. If you don’t have much color after 25 minutes of roasting, flip again and increase the oven temperature to 425F for 5 more minutes. While the cauliflower steaks roast, make the Spicy Tunisian Chermoula.
To make the Spicy Tunisian Chermoula Sauce:
In a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients for the chermoula, except the water. Pulse a few times to combine. Add 1/4 cup of water and puree. Add more water, as needed, until you have a smooth consistency. You want the sauce to be quite thick, like the consistency of guacamole or hummus.
To serve the Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Spicy Tunisian Chermoula Sauce:
When the cauliflower steaks are done roasting, slather them with a good amount of the chermoula sauce. Serve immediately.
If you like this, you’ll also love: Whole Roasted Argentinian Cauliflower, Moroccan Chickpea Tagine Stew, and Oil-Free Cauliflower Couscous with Rosemary and Lemon.Print Recipe
Chef’ Katie’s Tips
Cauliflower Steaks: Use these steaks as a healthy, plant-based replacement for meat or bread. Top them with guacamole, pesto, or hummus.
Extra Chermoula: Use extra chermoula like you would use guacamole. Spoon it over roasted potatoes, top loaded sweet potatoes, serve with tacos, or enjoy as a healthy dip with veggies and pita bread.
Lower fat? For a lower-fat option, you can remove the avocado. Increase the amount of green peas to 1 1/2 cups.
Yellow and Purple Cauliflower: For an interesting visual twist, use yellow or purple cauliflower in this recipe.
Oil-Free Mission: I’m on a mission to get rid of empty calories, and oil is the most calorie-dense food. In this recipe, avocado adds healthy fat to the chermoula. The cauliflower is roasted oil-free. A little bit of water helps prevent burning.
Watch to Learn More:
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 6 g||9 %|
|Saturated Fat 1 g||4 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 4 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0 %|
|Sodium 52 mg||2 %|
|Potassium 899 mg||26 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 13 g||4 %|
|Dietary Fiber 6 g||26 %|
|Sugars 4 g|
|Protein 4 g||8 %|
|Vitamin A||24 %|
|Vitamin C||156 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
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