5 Ingredients or Fewer

Dan Barber's Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Purée

February 12, 2013
11 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

There are plenty of cauliflower steaks out there on the internet, but we're partial to this recipe from farm-to-table genius Dan Barber -- true to his mission, it's the fullest celebration of cauliflower's talents. Barber uses every part of the buffalo, as they say, and adds almost nothing to distract you. He brings together the nutty crisped edges you get from roasting, and the unearthly creaminess of a purée (whipping up cauliflower's natural pectin turns it creamy even without dairy). Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit (February 2008). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Dan Barber's Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Purée
  • One 1 1/2-pound head of cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for brushing
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Using sharp heavy knife and starting at top center of cauliflower head, cut two 1-inch-thick slices of cauliflower, cutting through stem end. Set cauliflower steaks aside.
  2. Cut enough florets from remaining cauliflower head to measure 3 cups. Combine florets, water, and milk in medium saucepan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to boil and cook until cauliflower florets are very tender, about 10 minutes. Strain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
  3. Transfer florets to blender. Add half of the reserved 1 cup cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Add more of the liquid if desired, and puree again. Return puree to same saucepan.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Brush cauliflower steaks with additional oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add cauliflower steaks to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and bake cauliflower steaks until tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Rewarm cauliflower puree over medium heat. Divide puree between 2 plates; top each with cauliflower steak.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • BostonFoodDoc
  • lalf
  • Alma Delucchi
    Alma Delucchi
  • epicharis
  • Barb
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

56 Reviews

1903 October 29, 2023
My first review. Have made this many times over the years and love to add crumbled French roquefort to the puree.
Joan S. March 17, 2022
I just made this recipe tonight. It was very good and a keeper. Instead of adding water and milk I added chicken (it could be vegetable) broth. Thank you for the recipe.
BostonFoodDoc March 31, 2020
Made this tonight - wonderful! And really, quite simple. I think it will be a regular here (my meat-loving husband loved it, too), and I might try some of the tweaks others have recommended just to play around a little. Thank you for a great recipe!
lalf March 15, 2020
I reviewed this recipe in 2013. Since then, I’ve made it so many times I’ve lost count. I started to play with Dan Barber's brilliant 'template’ shortly after my first try — and I haven’t looked back; I thought it deserved elevating. My husband now begs for it as dinner. So consider trying some of the following changes:

The steaks — less work, no sauteeing:
Make sure to use a large cauliflower! Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut two 1.5-inch-thick cauliflower slices. Brush them with oil and sprinkle with S&P. Then roast the steaks on a baking pan for 50 minutes, about 25 minutes per side, until dark golden.

The puree:
When making the puree, instead of the 1.5 cups water, add 1 cup of veg or chicken stock to the florets and milk. Add a rounded 1/4 tsp ground coriander to the pot when you sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Cook until the florets are very tender. You should be left with just the right amount of liquid in the pot with the cooked florets to blend into a beautiful-tasting puree with just the the right amount of creaminess. I use a stick blender for this.

Plate as per the recipe. But before serving, sprinkle liberally (or less so, if you like) with a good dukkah! Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe for dukkah is excellent.
Alma D. March 14, 2020
Thanks for this great recipe. I made this and enjoyed it very much! I will make it again I’m sure. I want to do a soup and salad lunch with the purée. Can’t wait to try all of the variations I see in all the reviews. Thanks for this great addition to my vegetarian recipes.
Ellen K. February 14, 2020
I love this recipe, but I borrow the cooking technique from Barber's Carrot steak dish (not vegetarian). Simple modification, use left over meat fat to do the initial sear on the cauliflower steaks instead of oil. When transferring to the oven cover the bottom of a heavy pan or dutch oven with a piece of tin foil and set on top of the steaks. Something about the weight of the pan makes the cauliflower steaks cook up to be the perfect consistency.
epicharis March 24, 2018
Good, simple, a nice way to use a cauliflower, but I agree the puree by itself needs a bit of a boost. Even a few garlic cloves didn't do much. It might make a nice base for soup, though!
tosacem January 21, 2018
Made as is and it was delicious but can see the adjustments people made to recipe. It will now be in my veggie rotation.
jayaymeye December 10, 2017
This is a good base recipe, but I agree that it needs some sprucing up. I tried to keep it as close to the recipe as written so I could give relevant feedback. Tasting it as-is, I felt the puree needed more. I added a smidgen of grated (microplane) garlic, a bit of olive oil. It could certainly handle parmigiano reggiano or pecorino. I could see adding butter as well. We make something similar as a vegetable-based white sauce for pasta, but add much more garlic (simmer with the cauliflower), butter, and pecorino. As-is, a good base for further creations.
Barb April 23, 2016
To keep it vegan, I tossed a handful of cashews in my Vitamix instead of milk.
Ryely D. August 8, 2015
I first seasoned the cauliflower steaks with garlic powder, salt, pepper and a light shake of beef bouillon powder on each side. Then browned them. It was great!
Rowan M. December 6, 2015
you just made Dan curse,
bullion powder? jesus christ its a cauliflaur, can you not just eat it and appreciate it for what it is without having to add some powdered fake meat to it? I am cringing so hard right now.
Nathan D. May 4, 2016
you should learn to spell cauliflower... its a cool word and fuck off
Nathan D. May 4, 2016
and bouillon is way off... you must still be learning lol
Ron May 29, 2015
Could just be my stove, but medium high turned my steaks black; also,even though the heat was too high, it still took much more time to reach Browning point than two minutes
michelle_a May 27, 2014
Incredibly simple & delightful recipe. I did have to keep the cauliflower in the cast iron much longer on each side (about 6-9 mins per) to really brown them, which in turn cut down the time in the oven. I added capers & fresh lemon juice to the puree as well, which brightened up the dish. Next time, I'd add a meaty protein to really make this a robust meal; but this was very lovely as is.
Ellen F. April 2, 2014
This recipe looks great except that I don't use milk---has anyone tried this with milk alternatives? Another great variation is my Cauliflower Steaks Topped with Savory Quinoa and Caramelized Onions! Take a look...http://veganamericanprincess.com/cauliflower-steaks-topped-with-savory-quinoa-garnished-with-caramelized-onions-plus-chilled-asparagus-soup-to-start/
lalf April 3, 2014
see "lalf" below.
Andochina April 3, 2014
I've made mashed potatoes with just water and good olive oil and it came out great, I would think that could work with the cauliflower as well for a completely vegan meal.
Glenn May 30, 2015
Brilliant!, Ellen
Andochina March 19, 2014
This was some hot cauliflower-on-cauliflower action. I made it as is, and served with roasted brussell sprouts, which were also great on top of the puree. Can also be experimented with endlessly. A great vegetarian dish.
Emdog October 26, 2015
Such a dreary day, meat is bad for you, blah blah blah and "This was some hot cauliflower-on-caulifower action" made me laugh. I'm still smiling! Thank you.
Sarah A. February 9, 2014
I love the simplicity of this dish, but I decided to borrow the technique and complicate the flavors a bit more: toasted walnuts and honey to the purée, and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses glazing the top of the steak. For color and bite, I made a gremolata with parsley, lemon, pink peppercorn, and garlic.
Grace V. February 11, 2014
sarah - well this is just happenstance and happy chances. love your take on the dish! i'm giving this lovely recipe a go but with a bit of caramelized onion, goat cheese, and also, toasted walnuts. side salad of shredded brussel sprouts, heirloom toms, muscats, and blood orange+shallot dressing.
Shannon February 5, 2014
I used unsweetened almond milk instead of the whole milk and let the cauliflower florets cook until most of the liquid was gone (took less than 20 minutes) and then used an immersion blender to puree what was left in the pot (instead of straining, saving liquid, blending). Added some soy free earth balance to the puree to make it more creamy. I left the cauliflower steaks in the oven for an extra 10-20 minutes and sprinkled with a bit of garlic salt once cooked. Great meal!
pkpk February 4, 2014
Great Recipe ! I made it with a little modification, I fried and baked the cauliflower and used thousand island dressing for the source. Try it.
allans November 9, 2013
okay - so I've been staring at this recipe and beautiful picture for a week, got a gorgeous head of cauliflower and made it as written for tonight's meal. EXCELLENT! So simple, yet so satisfying. This is going to be a mainstay in my rotation. Thanks!
kgindermaur July 7, 2013
Like lalf below, I ended up baking the steaks for slightly longer than recommended. The whole milk/cauliflower puree was velvety, rich, and satisfying!