Going Vegan #1: Cauliflower Steak

Hello everyone! I hope that all of your summers have gone by really well. Despite my almost half year absence from this website, I am still here! Even better: I have been recording a couple of notable food experiences over the summer that I’d like to share with everyone. As you can tell from the title, I have taken an interest into cooking (or trying to cook) vegan foods lately. There were some ups and some downs (accidentally making chocolate milk instead of chocolate fudge), but overall, I have to say that I am was astounded at the quality and ease at which I could make some of these foods. So… to kick this end of the summer vegan lineup off, let’s start with the cauliflower steak.

Cauliflower steak is actually incredibly simple (see link below). Essentially, you do everything you would do to cook a steak (pan style), except instead of beef, you use a lovely cauliflower. While the differences between these two ingredients might seem quite noticeable at first glance, the cauliflower serves as a surprisingly close replacement for meat. If you cook it right, it becomes very soft and tender, just like a steak. Also like a steak, it can get that perfect all around sear that compliments the soft interior very well. Lastly, I’m just not going to say much about vegan butters because they’re all so incredible and they work perfectly well as substitutes (Mikoyo is the brand that I used and it worked great, but it’s not the only one out there that’ll work obviously, so just use what you like!).

Here is the video (to be honest, most videos on cauliflower steaks are pretty much the same). On a side note: if you have a different way that you like to cook/marinate your steaks, then you should definitely go with that. It really shouldn’t matter that much. To cook, you’re basically just going to follow the standard pan seared steak process complimented by repeatedly scooping the vegan butter over the cauliflower to give it that added flavor and texture (this is called butter basing). The time in the pan for the cauliflower shouldn’t really be more than 15 minutes.

My first recommendation would just be to get that nice steak shape while cutting the cauliflower so that it is easy to get a nice cook on all sides and it is not too hard to handle in the pan. Another tip would be to not be afraid to add a little too much butter. I wasn’t really too familiar with the whole butter basing technique before I tried it, but I knew that it was simply a way to help the steak develop a better crust and cook quicker. Hence, if you feel like your steak isn’t soft enough or the pan is looking a little low on “juice”, then it is perfectly fine to add a little more butter. It will make it a little less healthy, but also a lot tastier 🙂

I’ll admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I first fried my cauliflower steak. It was probably one of the first times I had even cooked a steak, so when I bit into the soft, tender inside, I couldn’t believe it. The butter basing had literally turned the cauliflower into what felt like butter. Each piece melted in my mouth, and they all had a perfect balance of all the seasonings, thanks to the butter scooping process. The crispy exterior too felt like that of a seared piece of beef. To put it simply, it obviously wasn’t a real steak, but it was pretty darn close and everything you’d want a vegan alternative meal to be.

After cooking this dish, I think my main takeaway is that although products like Impossible Foods will always be available as an alternative for meat, sometimes other foods, not re-creations, will work just as well. They might not taste the same, but in the culinary world, I believe that trying different alternatives and experimenting on recipes is what cooking is all about. Cauliflower definitely won’t satisfy all steak lovers out there, but it does provide a different approach to a classic meal that I’m sure you will find appealing in, at the very least, its uniqueness, if not already in its incredible taste. So if you have a cauliflower sitting around and are wondering what to do with it, or if you just want to try something new, click on that video and go make yourself a mouth watering vegan cauliflower steak. It sure doesn’t take too long at all, and I’m willing to bet that you will have found a new favorite.

Cutting off one large chunk first
Cutting the large chunk into two “steaks”
Always grateful to have fresh rosemary from the mini backyard garden!
Simple spices
The olive oil spray is what helps make everything stick (I think spices will naturally stick a little better to raw meat than cauliflower, so this is definitely an important part)
Vegan butter in… doesn’t look different at all!
The beginning of the butter scooping process…already a nice sear forming
The final product (look at all of that juice!)

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Lara Dao says:

    Hi Nate! Thank you for the healthy meal idea. I have made cauliflower steak once in my life and I struggled to get the perfect shape because I found the pieces of cauliflower would crumble as I cut it. I probably need to get a sharper knife! Also, I have not tried the butter basing technique and that probably makes all the difference in getting the steak to resemble actual steak. Glad you posted this!

    Like

    1. n8chen says:

      Let me know how it goes!

      Like

  2. NorCalKenny says:

    Good stuff. Missed your posts. Glad you’re back.

    Like

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