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How to make grilled, pan-fried, air-fried, or roasted cauliflower steaks until tender in the middle and super crispy and caramelized outside + the sauces and dishes to serve them with. A low-carb, vegan, gluten-free, paleo appetizer, side, or main!

completed Cauliflower Steaks plated on a white plate against a white background
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Crispy Caramelized Cauliflower Steaks with Sauce

Cauliflower is a healthy, nutrient-dense, inexpensive addition to any vegan, low-carb, or keto kitchen. Along with cauliflower rice, mashed cauliflower, and buffalo cauliflower wings, this recipe for cauliflower steaks is our new obsession!

As well as being loaded with fiber and being low-carb, cauliflower is an excellent source of antioxidants, beneficial plant compounds, & vitamins C and K. This combination is great for reducing inflammation, protecting the immune system, and avoiding chronic disease. Not to mention these vegan cauliflower steaks taste delicious!

No matter the method used (air-fried, pan-fried, roasted, or grilled cauliflower steaks), these roasted cauliflower slices are quick & easy to prepare. When cooked until tender inside with a super moreish caramelized, crispy – and even sometimes charred – outer shell, they’re a far cry from flavorless boiled/steamed cauliflower, and sure to impress all.

This time around, we’re serving these cauliflower thick slices with our delicious hearty mushroom gravy, but keep reading for the best seasonings and sauces for cauliflower steaks as well as what to serve with cauliflower steaks for a super satisfying meal!

The Ingredients

At its’ most basic, this vegan cauliflower steaks recipe requires just 4 ingredients.

  • Cauliflower: Use a medium-large cauliflower head that’s blemish-free and creamy white.
  • Oil: Use any neutral cooking oil, like vegetable oil, canola oil, avocado oil, etc.
  • Sea salt & pepper: Season to taste.

You can further season the baked cauliflower steaks with spices. I.e., garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne/red pepper flakes, turmeric powder, or blends like curry powder, garam masala, Cajun spice, etc.

ingredients for Cauliflower Steaks and Mushroom Gravy measured out against a white surface

What Is The Best Sauce For Cauliflower Steaks?

It’s easy to change the sauce for cauliflower steaks based on the season, event, and your mood. At the moment, we love mushroom gravy, but keep reading for plenty of delicious alternatives.

Vegan Mushroom Gravy

Our current go-to sauce for this roasted cauliflower steaks recipe is our delicious 7-ingredient, 15-minute mushroom gravy. Here’s what you need to make it:

  • Mushrooms: Button mushrooms are budget-friendly while not too mellow. However, you can also use cremini mushrooms, baby bellas, portobellos, etc.
  • Aromatics: You’ll need garlic and yellow onion (or shallots).
  • Vegetable broth: Use high-quality stock (regular or reduced sodium)
  • Flour: To thicken the gravy. Use regular AP flour or a gluten-free blend.
  • Seasonings: This flavorful gravy uses fresh sage, thyme, salt (kosher), and black pepper.

Other Sauces and Toppings

How to Make Cauliflower Steaks: Step-By-Step

Whether pan-frying, air-frying, roasting, or grilling cauliflower steaks, the steps are super simple and fuss-free, requiring just a few minutes of hands-on prep.

How To Cut Cauliflower Steaks

Cutting cauliflower steaks needn’t be complicated and requires just 3 simple steps.

  • 1) First, remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower (by hand or with a sharp knife).
  • 2) Then trim the stem if needed so the head can sit flat on your chopping board.
  • 3) Using one hand to hold the cauliflower steady, use a long, sharp knife to slice it into 1-inch thick slabs. Alternatively, slice it in half first.

Depending on the size of the cauliflower, you may get 3 or 4 steaks per head. The leftover edge/broken florets can make cauliflower rice, mashed cauliflower, be added to soups, stews, pasta, etc.

How To Cook Cauliflower Steaks

Roasted

Oven-roasted cauliflower steaks can be enjoyed year-round with no special tools and become wonderfully golden brown and crispy.

  • 1) First, preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
  • 2) Once cut, rub the cauliflower slices with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over each.
  • 3) Bake the cauliflower steaks in the oven for 30-45 minutes (based on their thickness), flipping over at 15 minutes, until the roasted cauliflower steaks are golden brown and crispy on the outside and tender in the middle.

Air Fried

Air fryer cauliflower steaks are super crispy outside but in a fraction of the time needed to bake cauliflower steaks in the oven.

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 375F/190C.
  2. Lightly drizzle or spray the cauliflower slices with oil and salt & pepper.
  3. Air fry the cauliflower steaks for 12-15 minutes, carefully flipping over at 10 minutes, until golden-brown outside, and fork-tender.

Grilled

Grilled cauliflower steaks are smokier thanks to light charring, and are perfect for enjoying during the warm summer months.

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (about 350F/180C).
  2. Combine the seasonings and olive oil and brush the cauliflower with the mixture.
  3. Grill the slices for 5-7 minutes per side (use a large spatula to flip) until golden brown and lightly charred all over but tender in the middle.

Pan-Fried

Pan-fried cauliflower steaks require just two steps and are great for seasoned and marinated cauliflower steaks.

  1. Preheat a grill pan over medium to medium-high heat with a little oil (or combine the seasonings in oil and brush the cauliflower pieces generously with it).
  2. Pan-fry the cauliflower slices on each side for 6-8 minutes until golden-brown and tender in the middle.

The Mushroom Gravy

No matter the cooking method, prepare the gravy in 15 minutes while the cauliflower steaks are roasted/cooked. Refer to this mushroom gravy recipe for top tips and FAQs.

  • 1) Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • 2) Once hot, add the diced onion and sauté until translucent (4-5 minutes), then add the garlic and sauté for one minute.
  • 3) Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until tender.
  • 4) Stir in all the spices and cook until fragrant.
  • 5) Add the broth and the flour (one tablespoon at a time), constantly stirring, until the gravy thickens. Then pour it over the cauli steaks and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Don’t slice them too thin: Otherwise, they won’t hold together. ¾-inch is as thin as we’d go, but 1—1 ½ inches work best (cooking time will increase the thicker they are).
  • Slice evenly: They need to be the same thickness to cook evenly.
  • Don’t overcrowd them: Cook them in a single layer with space between to allow airflow. This will yield the crispiest, most caramelized results.
  • Handle with care: Be gentle when flipping, as it’s fragile while cooking.
  • Season to taste: Cauliflower has a mild flavor, so you may prefer more seasoning/sauce to make it to your liking.
  • Use enough oil: This will make truly caramelized crispy cauliflower steaks.

What To Serve With Cauliflower Steaks?

You can enjoy this cauliflower steak recipe as an appetizer, side, or main on any weekday, at your next BBQ/grill day, or on holidays like Thanksgiving/Christmas. You can enjoy it alongside/over:

Storage Instructions

You can pre-chop the cauliflower slices up to 2 days before cooking them. Save the cooked leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days (store the gravy separately).

To freeze, spread them across a freezer-safe tray until solid (2-3 hours), then transfer them to a Ziplock/Stasher for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Reheat the cauliflower steaks in the air fryer at 350F/175C for 3-4 minutes or in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, you can reheat the gravy on the stovetop or in the microwave.

More Cauliflower Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

The BEST Cauliflower Steaks [Multiple Methods + Toppings]

5 from 72 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
How to make grilled, pan-fried, air-fried, or roasted cauliflower steaks until tender in the middle and super crispy and caramelized outside + the sauces and dishes to serve them with. A low-carb, vegan, gluten-free, paleo appetizer, side, or main!

Ingredients 

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 diced yellow onion
  • 16 ounces of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh chopped sage
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of broth 1 can
  • 3 tablespoons of flour

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Slice the head of cauliflower into 1 inch thick slices and rub with 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 45 minutes.
  • While the cauliflower is baking, heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and cook the onion until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until tender.
  • Add sage, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant .
  • Add broth and flour (one tablespoon at a time). Stir until gravy thickens.
  • Plate your cauliflower and pour gravy on top.

Notes

  • Don’t slice them too thin: Otherwise, they won’t hold together. ¾-inch is as thin as we’d go, but 1—1 ½ inches work best (cooking time will increase the thicker they are).
  • Slice evenly: They need to be the same thickness to cook evenly.
  • Don’t overcrowd them: Cook them in a single layer with space between to allow airflow. This will yield the crispiest, most caramelized results.

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 7gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 776mgPotassium: 853mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 275IUVitamin C: 76mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Method: Oven
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
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Stephanie Lundstrom

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Comments

  1. This looks like such an amazing recipe but it’s a pity it’s not oil-free You create incredible recipes! I think you’d be amazed how how many people are pursuing a whole food plant based diet that’s oil-free these days and would love your recipes if there were oil-free options!

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback. Most of the recipes can be made oil-free by substituting water or vegetable broth. Hope you enjoy!

  2. 5 stars
    I made these cauliflower steaks with your mushroom sauce for our meatless Monday dinner this week. Such a great recipe. I think these cauliflower steaks would go really well with a curry sauce too!

  3. 5 stars
    This is truly the most perfect meat-free meal.
    I love cauliflower, and the mushroom gravy that goes with it is so hearty and full of flavour. A great dinner option!

  4. 5 stars
    I love a good cauliflower steak, but this mushroom gravy takes this dish to the next level. Thanks for sharing this recipe.