These cauliflower steaks with garlicky edamame mash use the whole head of cauliflower. All together, it’s a hearty meal with plenty of plant protein!
I spend a lot of time supporting my clients through the process of replacing animal-protein based dishes with meatless options.
Cauliflower steaks and whole roasted cauliflower are two of my favorite suggestions. When it’s given the royal treatment as an entrée, cauliflower is beautiful to look at and nutritious to eat. It’s an especially good main dish option for those folks who want to eat more plant-based, yet don’t have much of a taste for vegan meats, tofu, or tempeh.
The only drawback of cauliflower-as-an-entrée, at least as I see it, is that it’s not rich in protein. And my outlook as a dietitian is that balanced plates should always deliver on a solid vegan protein source. Protein is essential for satiety, immune function, muscle repair, and many other processes. When I plan my own meals, I usually pick my plant protein and work backward from there!
Back to these cauliflower steaks. When I made them the first time, I wondered how I might pair them with a plant protein that would fit seamlessly into the dish. I thought of edamame, a protein that I love but don’t use often enough at home.
Edamame hummus is a favorite of mine. I wondered what it would be like to incorporate the stray pieces of cauliflower that are always leftover after making cauliflower steaks into a creamy, mashed edamame—similar to edamame hummus, but softer.
Success! The garlicky edamame mash completes this meal, affords vegan protein, and ensures that the whole head of cauliflower is used up.
Cauliflower steaks are just thick slabs of cauliflower that are seared, grilled, or roasted. These crosswise slices of the cauliflower feel more substantial than eating regular cauliflower florets or pieces—hence the cheeky designation as a “steak.”
Cauliflower steaks are generally pretty easy to cook. The hardest part of making them, at least for me, is cutting the cauliflower correctly.
I cut my head of cauliflower crosswise into slabs that are about 3/4-1″ thick. A good, sharp chef’s knife is important for this. It’s also helpful to have a visual for this, so here’s a video you can check out if you’d like to see the process before you do it.
In that video, the person starts slicing from one side of the cauliflower head to another. I usually start with one cut down the center of the cauliflower then slice outward from there. You can try slicing both ways and do whatever is most intuitive for you.
As you get further from the middle of the head of cauliflower, it will be harder to cut big, even steaks. Some florets and pieces will start to fall away. I usually just roast those pieces with the steaks that I was able to cut successfully.
In this recipe, though, the stray cauliflower pieces are a good thing! They become part of the protein-rich edamame mash. I’m not always a successful root-to-stalk cook, but I am always trying to do better. I love that this recipe allows me to employ the whole vegetable.
While the cauliflower steaks make this meal visually appealing and hearty, edamame does the heavy lifting for vegan protein.
Protein isn’t edamame’s only attribute, however! Edamame, which is another name for young soy beans, also provides fiber, which is good news for cardiac and digestive health. It’s a good source of folate, Vitamin K1, and thiamine, also known as vitamin B-1, as well.
Edamame isn’t as soft as other beans. It’s a little chewier, which is part of what makes it fun to snack on. When it’s warmed and puréed, though, it turns into a tasty and nutritious hummus. Recently I had the thought, inspired by this recipe from Sprouted Kitchen, to do an edamame mash instead.
The problem was that the edamame mashes I made kept turning out a little dense, rather than fluffy. That’s when I thought that cauliflower might be a good addition, to lighten up the mash and add even more good nutrition. Since I always have stray bits of cauliflower after making cauliflower steaks, this recipe became my cue to test a new edamame mash.
Preparing the edamame mash to pair with the cauliflower steaks is simple. You’ll bring water to a boil and add both your shelled edamame (I always buy frozen and thaw before this step) and your cauliflower pieces.
Then, you’ll drain the cauliflower and edamame and add them to a food processor. Use the S blade to pulse and process this mixture, along with garlic, vegetable broth, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
This mash is very delicious on its own. It can be an accompaniment to lots of plant-based dinners. I’ve tried it with grilled and baked tofu, my lemon pepper tempeh cubes, chickpeas, sautéed greens, and many other components. I love that it combines a plant protein and a nutrient-rich vegetable in one simple, flavorful side.
I think that the steaks and mash are perfectly satisfying on their own. However, they can be even more delicious with a good sauce. Some options for drizzling:
Of course, if you’d like to make the meal even heartier and more colorful, you can always add your favorite vegetable side dish. I love to serve this recipe with sautéed kale or broccoli rabe in the winter and grilled zucchini in the summer.
The cauliflower steaks with garlicky edamame mash lend themselves easily to your weekend batch cooking efforts! Both the steaks and the mash can be prepared—separately or together—and stored in the fridge for up to five days.
In addition to being delicious and nutrient-dense, this meal is also great for serving to friends or family. I hope that you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!