Cauliflower is my version of “the other white meat.” The taste and texture of thick slices of the cruciferous vegetable will surprise you with its marvelous sizzling  serenade coming off the grill or out a hot cast-iron pan with a deep brown char and delicious crunchy bits. 


A Cauliflower steak is fork tender, with a significant meaty, buttery taste. It’s a great choice for a more plant-driven way of eating, and can easily take the place along side of those wonderful cuts of meat and burgers at great outdoor barbecue.


Perhaps finding the perfect shaped cauliflower to cut into thick slices might be the difficult part.  Like searching for the “Great Pumpkin,” finding a full cauliflower is out there! Sure cauliflowers are round, but they’re not necessarily equal in fullness. The cauliflower you want is round, with tight florets at the top and full on the sides and bottom. I tend to find the tighter their green leaf wrapping, the more florets all around.


Treat the grilled steaks as you would a sirloin or strip steak.  Melt a lovely compound butter of lemon and capers and you have a spin on a  “cauliflower picatta.” One of my favorite ways to top the steak is with a peppery arugula pesto.  The sharpness of the green, with garlic, parmesan, walnuts and olive oil balances the cool tasting cauliflower.


Grilling cauliflower like steak isn’t new; but it’s something you should try.

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Arugula Pesto

You'll be happily surprised with the meaty taste of grill thick slices of cauliflower.  This is a great way to incorporate a new way to eat veggies and will equally do well as a meatless main.

 Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish

 Keyword Cauliflower, Grilled Cauliflower, Meatless eating, Plant-based eating

 Servings 4


  • 1 Large, tight Cauliflower the size of the cauliflower will determine how many "steaks" you can cut.

  • 4 tbsp Canola Oil

  • Seasoning to taste

Arugula Pesto

  • 1 bunch fresh Arugula

  • 1/4-1/2 cup roughly chopped Parmesan cheese more or less to taste

  • 1 clove Garlic, roughly chopped

  • 1/4 cup walnuts or more to taste

  • Salt & Pepper to taste

  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice


  1. Have a cast-iron pan or grill pan ready.

  2. If there are any green leaves on your cauliflower, gently remove those.
    Standing the cauliflower on it's steam-bottom, with a sharp knife, slice thick slices, at least  1 1/2 inches thick.  

  3. Pour 2 tbs of canola oil on a paper towel and spread on each side of the cauliflower, add any salt and pepper as well as seasoning you like.  Add the remaining oil to your pan or grill pan and heat .

  4. With your pan or grill hot, gently lay the cauliflower steaks in the pan, hearing a wonderful sizzle.  After 4 minutes, gently turn the cauliflower over and cook another 4 minutes.  The steaks are ready when they are fork tender and have a lovely char per side.

  5. Remove to a serving platter.


  1. While the cauliflower steaks are cooking, add the arugula, cheese, garlic and nuts to a Vita-Mix or food processor and give it a few pulses to roughly combine everything.  With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the arugula mixture until you have a rough blend.   I don't like a smooth pesto, so if you do, keep blitzing.  At the end, add a quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice

  2. Dollop the pesto over the cauliflower steaks and serve the rest on the side.