Some vegetables, such as cauliflower, make a great plant-based steak. This dish is made in the oven, but can also be grilled on the BBQ.
Enjoying a meal of “steak and potatoes” doesn’t have to be a thing of the past, even if you are living a plant-based lifestyle. Thick slices of roasted cauliflower are very tasty and extremely satisfying. They work well as the main course or as a side dish.
Cooking with Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer. It also contains fiber to enhance weight loss and digestion, choline that is essential for learning and memory, and many other important nutrients.
Just like traditional steak, cauliflower steaks have a meaty, hearty texture and are very satisfying. You can put sauces, like chimichurri or pesto, on them just like you would a steak. So while this definitely won't pass for an actual steak, the cauliflower steaks taste great and they're easy to make.
Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Did you know that 92% of cauliflower is water? That means this veggie can help keep you hydrated, but it is also a good source of fiber.
Cauliflower has a group of substances known as glucosinolates. As you chew and digest it, these substances are broken down into compounds that may help prevent cancer -- they help protect cells from damage and have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial effects.
Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, containing some of almost every vitamin and mineral that your body needs. A serving is 1 cup, or about 100 grams, of chopped cauliflower. One serving of raw or cooked cauliflower has:
0 grams of fat
5 grams of carbohydrates
2 grams of dietary fiber
2 grams of sugar
2 grams of protein
30 milligrams of sodium
Why Sweet Potatoes Are A Great Main Ingredient
Sweet potatoes are sweet, starchy root vegetables that are grown worldwide. They come in a variety of sizes and colors — including orange, white, and purple — and are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Not to mention, they provide a number of health benefits and are easy to add to your diet.
Just one sweet potato gives you 400% of the RDA for vitamin A. This helps keep your eyes healthy as well as your immune system, your body's defense against germs. It's also good for your reproductive system and organs like your heart and kidneys.
Even better, one sweet potato has about 4 grams of plant-based fiber, which helps you maintain a healthy weight and lowers risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.
Sweet potatoes are available year-round and are at their peak during the winter. When choosing sweet potatoes, have in mind what you are going to use them for. Larger ones tend to have a more stringy texture and take longer to cook because of their size. Small sweet potatoes have a more uniform texture but contain less meat. Avoid any with bruises or signs of sprouting.
Some common traits of bad sweet potatoes are discoloration and growths through the skin. They will begin to get soft and wet (water will leak out) and then turn brown and/or black. If part of the sweet potato goes bad, the whole potato should be thrown out, as the flavor is affected.
As for choosing the right cauliflower, look for firm cauliflower with compact florets and crisp, fresh leaves with no sign of yellowing or wilting. Avoid cauliflower with small brown specks on the florets; they are a sign of aging. The size of the cauliflower head does not affect its quality.
Store fresh cauliflower heads in a loosely closed or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. Cauliflower needs air circulation, so don't seal or knot the bag closed. If you bought a plastic-wrapped head of cauliflower from the grocery store, just loosen up the knot. When properly stored, cauliflower can last up to three to five days in the fridge
Cauliflower Steak with Sweet Potato Wedges
- 1 medium cauliflower insure florets are tight together
- 1 medium sweet potato cut into wedges
- to taste black pepper optional
- to taste cumin optional
For Pesto Sauce
- 3 cups basil leaves washed and dried
- 1/2 cup low-sodium cooked chickpeas
- 4 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- small amount water or aquafaba
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a sheet of aluminum foil so you can wrap the cauliflower slices. Also line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To Make Pesto Sauce: All all sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Cut the stem off as close to the cauliflower head as possible. Carefully cut the cauliflower from top to stem making several thick slices approximately 1-inch thick.
- Place the cauliflower slice on a piece of foil. Spread pesto sauce over both sides of the cauliflower ensuring that the sauce gets into all the crevices, Note: Be very careful with cauliflower slices so it does not fall apart.
- Wrap the slice in the foil and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Put the steaks in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sweet potato by cutting the potato into wedges and place on the prepared baking sheet once the steak is ready to go in the oven. Sprinkle potatoes with black pepper and cumin if using.
- Remove for refrigerator and cook in oven for 15 minutes.
- Turn over the packet and potato wedges and continue to cook for 15 more minutes.
- Once the cauliflower is soft, unwrap it and put on a plate. Scoop any leftover sauce from the packet and put on the cauliflower.
- Spoon some of the pesto sauce on the potato wedges.