plant based steak dinner

Let me tell you about the steaks I grilled last night.

Perfectly marinated, served over fresh greens and finished with a decadent cheese sauce, it was a perfect home version of a classic steakhouse dish*.

Except it was all plant based.

*Honestly, I am guessing here. Every time I have been to a steak house, I have cocktails and a salad. and cocktails.

…and the steaks are made with cauliflower.

I vertically sliced a head of cauliflower into 3/4 inch thick ‘steaks’ and marinated them. Put them on the grill and served them over fresh kale chiffonade, topping the whole thing with a rich cheesy sauce.

Amazing. Decadent. and somehow were light and fresh at the same time.

cauliflower steaks

dairy, gluten and steak free, vegan

1 head cauliflower
1/3 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup tamari
juice of 2 lemons
3 chipotle chiles (canned in adobo)
sea salt and pepper 

Combine oil, tamari, lemon juice and chipotles in food processor or blender, purée until smooth. Remove outer stem and greens from cauliflower, slice vertically into 3/4 inch pieces (yields 4 or 5 pieces, depending on size). Arrange cauliflower in a single layer in dish with high sides (baking dish), pour marinade over, salt and pepper, cover and set aside to marinate (30 minutes to one hour).

Grill over medium indirect heat, 10 minutes each side.

Meanwhile, prepare a kale chiffonade (recipes here and here) and the cheese sauce: 

havarti cheese sauce

dairy, soy and gluten free, vegan

1/3 cup almond milk
3 ounces havarti cheese, cubed

In saucepan over medium heat, melt cheese. Add milk and stir into a smooth sauce.

Serve cauliflower steaks over kale chiffonade salads, top with warm cheese sauce.

I cannot wait to make these again. Perhaps a plant based lobster dinner next?



  1. Laurel says

    Man, I’ve GOT to get me some of that Havarti cheese. Why do I live in the back of nowhere? Oh yeah, marriage. Silly me. Um, you can erase this if you like but isn’t Tamari gluten free soy sauce or am I just hallucinating again? Oh, and when we move Texas next to the floating junk pile will you cook for me? Please?

    • spabettie says

      no hallucinating, that was my mistake (the cheese sauce is soy free… I originally had the recipe all written together). *sigh*

      I will totally cook for you, since Texas will be right next door! 😀

  2. says

    Oh my gosh, this is brilliant! I mean, so simple that it seems obvious, and yet it isn’t. You have no idea how long my list of your recipes to make is getting 😀

    • spabettie says

      I love that there is a long list! 😀 this one is SO good, and yes, very easy… I’ve roasted them in the oven too.

      • says

        Yeah, I’ll definitely be going with the oven version (…unfortunately. Unless I sneak over the fence and use my neighbor’s grill.), but cauliflower is now on my grocery list!

          • says

            Haha, I don’t know. They are pretty, er, “country.” I’m not sure they know what an un-fried vegetable is. But there’s always time to convert them!

  3. says

    I had a cauliflower steak once at a restaurant with mashed potaters and a gluten-free gravy and it was terrific. Need to try that at home sometime. Also really want to try watermelon steaks.

    • spabettie says

      watermelon steaks, would they be savory? I guess balsamic goes well with watermelon… okay, Evan, you need to make this because I want to see it! :)

      • Hannah-lyz says

        Ooh I saw watermelon steaks once before. Marinated watermelon, then grilled. It looked scarily like a real steak! If you ever try one, I’d love to hear what they’re like!

        • spabettie says

          okay, Hannah-lyz, I am going to have to look into this… and you know if I try and am successful, I will share it here! :)

    • spabettie says

      thanks Debra, I noticed that earlier and thought I changed it, had changed the cheese sauce recipe instead. it is fixed now.

  4. says

    Kristina, this is brilliant! I love the cauliflower steak idea, marinating it to get that incredible savory taste, grilling it for the color and flavor, then topping it with a rich cheese sauce. My mouth is watering at work now! I’ll be adding this to my menu for next week — cannot wait.

    • spabettie says

      thank you Jared!! I hope you love this as much as we do – I am VERY excited about this one and happy that you are too. You’ll have to let me know how you like it… have you tried that havarti yet?

      • says

        I have! It is the only daiya wedge I have tried yet and really enjoyed it. Nice, light, mellow flavor to it. I actually ate all of it sliced with crackers, and melted some onto a baked potato. Delicious!

        • spabettie says

          it makes such a great sauce too. I was never much of a fan of the shreds, but I love the havarti wedge! :)

  5. Kelly says

    definite double take on this one, you sly girl 😉 this is what you were talking about the other night I guess? looks great!

  6. says

    Well, okay, you just blew my mind. I thought the steaks were going to be bean or grain-based, I was NOT expecting cauliflower!!! Looks delicious, I am still slightly speechless by your creativity. Nice job, Kristina!

    • spabettie says

      yay, I gotcha! 😉 these are so easy, and if I can say, really really good! I look forward to making them again!

    • spabettie says

      AW. Heather you seriously just made my day. BIG silly smile right now 😀

      and I hope your WF brings Daiya soon!

  7. Hannah-lyz says

    How have I never seen anything like this before?? This is genius! I’m not a big fan of fake meats, so a cauliflower-steak sounds devine!

    • spabettie says

      I know, I don’t often do the faux meat (I haven’t liked meat all of my life, why would I want to mimic it?) I love this cauliflower, and thought it would be fun to call it a steak 😉

    • spabettie says

      I made these again this weekend, and served them as tacos… 😉 caramelized onions would be SO GOOD on these!

  8. Natalie says

    I made this for dinner tonight, it was absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to make it again. Thanks for the great recipe idea!!

    • spabettie says

      you are so welcome, Natalie! so happy you enjoyed – I said the same thing, couldn’t wait to make them again. :)

  9. Danielle says

    we grilled these last night; one of ours fell apart on the grill (I think I sliced it too thin on one side), but other than that grumble THESE ARE SO GOOD! I love the simple marinade, I will use that for a lot. thanks for a fun new idea!

    • spabettie says

      I think I had a couple very small pieces from the top fall off, but mine were pretty sturdy (and YES, kinda hard to cut in perfect uniform thickness, especially when you are getting to the smaller rounded sides!).

      so happy you enjoyed!

  10. says

    I love you. You never cease to amaze me, and this, once again, was fantastic! we will be having it again next week for sure. thanks so much!

    I miss our chats, hope you are well oxo T

  11. Hannah-lyz says

    I made these!!! As soon as I had a whole head of cauliflower in the fridge, I KNEW what I would be making! I marinated the “steaks” in a piri-piri style marinade, grilled them and served over rice (with the left over marinade) So good! My fiance loved them too! Amazing how something so simple can be so yum ^^

  12. Dawn says

    First, the cheese sauce is other-worldly. It is SO good.

    Second, I tried to grill these inside on my stovetop grill pan. BIG mistake. The sauce is ultra smoky, so I filled the entire house with smoke. Fail.

    Also, the grill just didn’t really get hot enough to cook the cauliflower.

    So…while the marinade tasted yummy, I would discourage indoor grilling. Perhaps, indoor broiling, instead? 😉

    • spabettie says

      agreed on the cheese sauce being other-worldly! :)

      and yikes, I have broiled/baked these in the oven, and we have grilled them outside… I didn’t even consider the smoke factor of this sauce (yes, spicy!) as I’ve never grilled indoors. sorry about that

  13. Byird says

    Hi – these look really great and thanks for posting. Strongly urge removing the tag “vegan” when the cheese sauce is not.

    • Kristina Sloggett says

      hi Byird,

      if you click the live link of “havarti cheese” in the recipe, you will see it is DAIYA, a plant based dairy soy animal free cheese.



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