plant based steak dinner

by Kristina Sloggett

in Dinner, Gluten Free, grilling, recipes, Vegan

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 pepperΒ 

Combine oil, tamari, lemon juice and chipotles in food processor or blender, purΓ©eΒ 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:Β 

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?


{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table August 9, 2012 at 5:12 am

I totally forgot about these “steaks.” There was one in Food & Wine last winter that I never got around to making. Totally trying yours! :)


2 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:24 am

yes Laura – you need to make these, you will LOVE them!


3 j3nn August 9, 2012 at 5:14 am

I’ve been wanting to try cauliflower steak! The cheesy sauce puts this over the top. Perfect combo. YUM!


4 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:24 am

I know, the cheese sauce is a new thing, and it will now be an always thing. πŸ˜‰


5 Heather (Where's the Beach) August 9, 2012 at 5:21 am

Girl I love you! This looks amazing. Even better over the kale. Seriously, you are incredible.


6 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

I have a kale problem. I’ve been eating it every day.

and thank you πŸ˜€ you are too sweet!


7 Laurel August 9, 2012 at 5:47 am

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?


8 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

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! πŸ˜€


9 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) August 9, 2012 at 6:10 am

Dangit, this is the second cauliflower recipe I’ve seen that made me regret not grabbing some yesterday at the store! Now I definitely have to go back! This looks perfectly amazingly delicious!


10 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:21 am

yes, you will need to go back… you will love these, Sarena!


11 veganlinda August 9, 2012 at 6:41 am

Amazing! Can’t wait to try! The cheese is wonderful and genius to serve over cauliflower steaks.


12 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:21 am

I just cannot get enough of this havarti cheese – and it makes a perfect sauce!


13 Alyssa (Everyday Maven) August 9, 2012 at 6:45 am

This looks awesome. I <3 cauliflower steaks on the grill too!


14 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:20 am

we love them! this was the first time I added the cheese sauce, that will now be the normal πŸ˜‰


15 Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit August 9, 2012 at 7:20 am

cauliflower steaks? Jeez, that’s brilliant. I love the addition of the cheese sauce. Ah, this is so smart!


16 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:20 am

the cheese sauce was key. πŸ˜‰


17 jobo August 9, 2012 at 7:22 am

Whoa. This just blew my mind. cauliflower steak? I am a broken record, but I need to try this!


18 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:19 am

yes you do! :)


19 Allie August 9, 2012 at 7:23 am

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 πŸ˜€


20 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:19 am

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


21 Allie August 10, 2012 at 8:21 am

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!


22 spabettie August 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm

well, if you make this for your neighbor, they may allow you full access to that grill of theirs πŸ˜‰


23 Allie August 11, 2012 at 7:27 am

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!

24 Evan Thomas August 9, 2012 at 7:56 am

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.


25 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:18 am

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! :)


26 Hannah-lyz August 10, 2012 at 5:48 am

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!


27 spabettie August 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm

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! :)


28 Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy August 9, 2012 at 9:19 am

that looks incredible! talk about a wonderful “steak” dinner!!! :)


29 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:16 am

thanks Caralyn! :)


30 debra August 9, 2012 at 10:12 am

I know that wheat free tamari is available, but it is a soy food :)


31 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 10:16 am

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


32 Christina August 9, 2012 at 10:31 am

Yum yum and more yum! These look delicious!!!


33 Eileen August 9, 2012 at 11:27 am

I keep seeing cauliflower steaks around–why have I not tried them? They sound amazing, especially with that cheese sauce!


34 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

the cheese sauce really finishes it perfectly, Eileen. we love these, you should try them!


35 Jared August 9, 2012 at 11:39 am

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.


36 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm

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?


37 Jared August 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

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!


38 spabettie August 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

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


39 Kelly August 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm

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


40 Carrie August 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm

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!


41 spabettie August 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

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


42 Heather @ Better With Veggies August 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I put in a request at my Whole Foods for Havarti Daiya – I hope they get it in so I can make that sauce. I think you are THE most creative recipe creator I know. I want to be like you one day. =)


43 spabettie August 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

AW. Heather you seriously just made my day. BIG silly smile right now πŸ˜€

and I hope your WF brings Daiya soon!


44 Carla W August 9, 2012 at 11:53 pm

I agree, you come up with the best dishes!


45 spabettie August 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

πŸ˜€ thanks, Carla!


46 Ginny August 10, 2012 at 2:25 am

should make anyone want to try a plant based way, looks better than anything in a steakhouse.


47 spabettie August 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm

thank you, Ginny!


48 Hannah-lyz August 10, 2012 at 5:46 am

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!


49 spabettie August 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm

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 πŸ˜‰


50 Richa August 10, 2012 at 10:55 am

yumm. those steaks looks so gorgeous.. i think these will make an easy dinner fix for unannounced guests! hope everything is good.


51 spabettie August 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm

they really are easy, and fairly quick. I cannot wait to make them again, actually!


52 lynn @ the actor's diet August 11, 2012 at 5:13 am

love cauliflower steak – i’ve served them as sandwiches w caramelized onions!


53 spabettie August 13, 2012 at 9:55 am

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


54 Patty August 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

how do you come up with such creativity day after day? when is your cookbook going to be published? :)


55 spabettie August 13, 2012 at 9:51 am

thanks Patty… I have thought about it, just not enough time right now! :) hopefully soon…


56 Jeanette August 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

This sounds fantastic – you are so creative!


57 spabettie August 13, 2012 at 9:49 am

thank you, Jeanette – you just made my day! :)


58 Jen August 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm

steak!! you got me.


59 spabettie August 13, 2012 at 9:17 am



60 Natalie August 13, 2012 at 10:15 pm

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


61 spabettie August 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm

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


62 Danielle August 14, 2012 at 8:23 am

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!


63 spabettie August 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm

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!


64 Lora August 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm

The perfect vegetarian dinner. Wow!


65 spabettie August 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm

thanks, Lora – I was really happy with this one! πŸ˜€


66 Grandma Wrinkles August 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

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


67 Kath (My Funny Little Life) August 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Aww, this is a very cool idea! πŸ˜€ My parents told me that they just had pumpkin “cutlets” (pumpkin slices breaded with a little rice flour and then grilled) for lunch the other day, and liked them very much.


68 Hannah-lyz August 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm

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 ^^


69 spabettie August 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

yay – so happy you liked them! I really cannot get enough of these. or the cheese. πŸ˜‰


70 Dawn August 29, 2012 at 4:02 pm

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? πŸ˜‰


71 spabettie August 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm

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


72 Byird March 20, 2013 at 2:34 am

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


73 Kristina Sloggett March 20, 2013 at 5:11 am

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.



74 spabettie August 13, 2012 at 9:54 am

haaa, okay. πŸ˜‰ I don’t know though, this one is covered in cheese!


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