Lemon Pepper Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
on May 08, 2023
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Cauliflower is one of those amazing vegetables that you can roast, steam or even eat raw. And if you’ve never tried grilling it, you have to make these lemon pepper grilled cauliflower steaks. This recipe has just 10-ingredients. They turn out smoky, bright and citrusy with crispy edges. There are endless ways to serve them from an appetizer to a side dish to a main dish.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Grilling cauliflower is easy. Once you slice it, you just whisk together the marinade, brush the cauliflower and put it on the grill until it is lightly charred.
The lemon pepper marinade is a vinaigrette too. After brushing the steaks before they go on the grill, you can use the rest of the lemon-olive oil mixture to drizzle on the grilled cauliflower for a light dressing. And if you want it to be vegan, you just have to make 1 ingredient swap.
It’s incredibly versatile. From the course to the flavors, you can serve these cauliflower steaks with so many different things. This recipe can be a main, a side or an appetizer. Lemon and pepper are almost universal ingredients that go with lots of cuisines from Mediterranean to Middle Eastern and more.
This is what you need:
- Cauliflower: When you’re choosing cauliflower, it should feel heavy for its size and not have any dark or soft spots. You can use any color including white, orange, purple or green cauliflower.
- Lemon juice: Always use fresh lemon juice for any recipe that calls for citrus.
- Olive oil: Since this recipe has so few ingredients, you want to use high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Mustard: Just like you would for a vinaigrette, the marinade calls for a tablespoon of whole grain mustard. This is for flavor and to help the marinade emulsify.
- Honey adds a touch of sweetness and balances out the acidity from the lemon juice. If you prefer the recipe to be vegan, then substitute with maple syrup.
- Garlic powder: I use garlic powder instead of fresh minced garlic, so there isn’t any risk of the garlic burning on the grill.
- Salt & pepper season the marinade. There is more black pepper than salt to really go big on that classic lemon pepper flavor.
- Pine nuts: Since cauliflower naturally tastes nutty, I finish the steaks toasted pine nuts. You can use chopped almonds or walnuts instead.
- Parsley: Besides nuts, I also garnish the cauliflower with fresh herbs.
How To Cut Cauliflower Steaks
For this recipe, you can use 2 small heads or 1 large cauliflower head. Rather than breaking the cauliflower into florets, you slice it, so those flat sides maximize contact with the hot grates of the grill. There’s an amount of crumbling that is unavoidable, but that’s ok. Just accept that some steaks will be larger than others.
You usually can get 2-3 big steaks out of a large head of cauliflower. The small to medium sized sections can easily be grilled as long as they are wider than the grates. What I think is the biggest difference between grilled cauliflower and grilled cauliflower steaks is that steaks have flat sides and are not florets. It will look as beautiful and taste as wonderful if you serve several smaller steaks on a plate that are equivalent to a single larger steak.
To cut cauliflower into steaks:
- Trim the off leaves and stem at the bottom with a sharp knife.
- Start in the center top of the head, and slice it in half. Then cut steaks that are about 3/4 inch thick. It’s best to do this starting with the taller side because it is more likely to stay in tact. Always do this on a cutting board.
- As long as the steaks won’t fall through the grates, it is fine for them to vary in size from small to medium to large.
How To Make Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on medium heat. Slice the cauliflower head into steaks.
1. Whisk together the marinade in a small bowl. That includes the lemon juice, mustard, honey, garlic powder, salt, pepper and olive oil.
2. Brush the cauliflower steaks on both sides with the marinade. You should still have some left in the bowl to drizzle on the cauliflower after it’s grilled.
3. Grill the cauliflower for 4-5 minutes per side until it has grill marks. It should be tender, but still have some bite to it.
4. Spoon the remaining marinade over the grilled cauliflower steaks and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and parsley.
What to Serve with Cauliflower Steaks
You can treat them like a main or a side dish. You can even eat them in as an appetizer and dip them into hummus. Either way, they pair really well with these recipes:
Herby Lemon Quinoa
Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Lemon Tahini Roasted Vegetable Couscous
Italian Chopped Salad
Grilled Romaine Salad
Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad
White Bean Salad
Green Bean Tomato Olive Salad
Roasted Garlic Hummus
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
If you have leftover grilled cauliflower, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. I like eating it cold by chopping it and tossing it into a salad. If you want, you can warm the cauliflower in a 350-degree F oven. It will lose some of the bite it had when you first grilled it, but it will still be tasty.
Marinate the cauliflower on a sheet pan. Arrange the slices in a single layer to brush them. Then they are easy to carry to the grill.
Don’t just dump the lemon pepper-olive oil all over the raw cauliflower. You want to save part of it to drizzle on the grilled cauliflower.
Look out for hot spots on the grill. Some pieces may grill faster than others depending on the consistency of the grill temperature. Don’t hesitate to pull them off the grill if they are finished before others.
Yes, you can grill cauliflower on a stovetop grill pan. It won’t have the smoky flavor it would on the grill, but you can do it.
If you don’t have a grill, you can cut the cauliflower into steaks, brush it with marinade and roast it on a sheet pan in a 425-degree F oven for 20-25 minutes until browned at the edges, flipping halfway through roasting.
More Cauliflower Recipes
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Herby Tahini
Potato Salad with Roasted Cauliflower
Black Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower
Cauliflower Spinach Pesto Pasta
Roasted Cauliflower Kale Salad
Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Couscous
Tahini Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
Cauliflower Soup with White Beans
Shaved Cauliflower Arugula Salad
Did you make this cauliflower recipe? Please leave a rating and comment below. Thanks!
Lemon Pepper Grilled Cauliflower Steaks Recipe
- 1 large head cauliflower, about 2-1/2 pounds, or 2 small heads
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on medium heat.
- Remove the leaves and trim off the bottom stem of the cauliflower. Half the head lengthwise down the center. Then starting at the larger side of one of the halves, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices. (Some of them will break apart into small to medium pieces. You can still grill them as long as they are wide enough that they won’t fall through the grates).
- In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, mustard, honey, garlic powder, salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Brush the cauliflower on both sides with the marinade. There should be some left in the bowl to drizzle on the cauliflower after its grilled.
- Grill the cauliflower for 4-5 minutes per side until it has grill marks. It should be crisp tender with browned edges.
- Spoon the remaining marinade over the grilled cauliflower and top with toasted pine nuts and parsley.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe originally published July 8, 2021. Updated: May 8, 2023.