Roasted Cauliflower Steak with Spicy Tomato-Caper Sauce

The idea of making a “steak” out of cauliflower isn’t exactly new anymore, but we couldn’t help but play around with the concept and try to put our own spin on it. For the sauce, we drew inspiration from a classic puttanesca, which was invented in Naples and is typically served with pasta. Our sauce relies on capers, anchovies, and olives to deliver a delightful tang that is balanced by plenty of garlic and a touch of spicy chili flakes. When topped with a pile of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, we are sure you won’t miss the pasta one bit.


  • 1 medium cauliflower (about 3 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/8 cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped anchovies (about a 1.5-ounce jar)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (about 3 plump cloves)
  • 4 teaspoons non-pariel capers
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup pitted and sliced Kalamata olives (about 15 olives)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Fine sea salt, to taste (optional)
  • ½ ounce shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (about ¼ cup)


  1. CAULIFLOWER — Preheat the oven to 375°F and position a rack in the middle.
  2. Rinse the cauliflower under running water and remove any outer leaves. Put the cauliflower on a cutting board. Position your knife about 2-inches in from the side of the cauliflower and cut down from the crown to the base. Large florets will fall away; set them aside. Move your knife in about 1-inch from your previous cut and slice downward; this should result in a 1-inch-thick steak. Gently set the steak on a medium baking sheet. Repeat this process 3 more times. The structure of every cauliflower is slightly different, but you should be able to get 4 or more intact steaks from a typical medium cauliflower. Any loose florets can be roasted alongside the steaks, but they may need to be removed from the oven sooner, as they will cook more quickly than the steaks.
  3. Once all of the cauliflower is on the baking sheet, drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over it. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Using a clean hand, massage the oil and seasonings into the cauliflower. Flip the steaks and florets over. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Once again, massage into the cauliflower so it is evenly coated.
  4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Check on the cauliflower: the smaller florets may be finished roasting and the steaks will be ready to be flipped over. Using tongs, transfer any florets that are tender and golden brown to a plate. Flip over the steaks using an offset spatula and roast until golden brown and fork tender, 15 minutes more.
  5. SAUCE — Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the anchovies, garlic, capers, and crushed red chili flakes. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fried and aromatic, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and olives. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley and remove the pan from the heat. Taste the sauce with a clean spoon to check for seasoning. The capers, anchovies and olives lend a good degree of flavor, but if desired, season with salt to taste. Set aside.
  6. GARNISH — To serve, place the cauliflower steaks on a large serving platter and arrange the loose florets in between. Rewarm the sauce, if necessary, and spoon it over the cauliflower. Top with the cheese and serve immediately.