- Celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli shared her favorite “accidentally vegan” recipe with Insider.
- It calls for affordable ingredients, like cauliflower, coconut milk, and spices.
- I don’t even like cauliflower that much, and this is still one of my new favorite dishes.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
It’s tempting to order take-out or make a frozen pizza for dinner, but making a restaurant-quality dish at home isn’t as much of a hassle as you might think.
While promoting her recent ZENB pasta partnership, chef and Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli told Insider that cauliflower “steak” – a dish that’s popular at her New York City restaurant Butter – is one of her go-to recipes for when she wants to make an easy dinner.
“I call it my accidentally vegan entrée, and it’s basically cauliflower that’s blanched, soaked in coconut milk, and then roasted,” she said. “It’s just, like, ‘What did I just eat?’ It’s got that kind of vibe.”
Here’s how it went:
It called for several ingredients, but everything was affordable and easy to find
The recipe has three components: marinated cauliflower steaks, a vinaigrette, and a gremolata topping – an Italian green sauce made with parsley, garlic, and lemon.
It looked a little intimidating at first glance, but when I read through the recipe, I realized this dish would actually be pretty simple.
Several ingredients were already in my kitchen, I just needed cauliflower, coconut milk, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, Dijon mustard, olive oil, lemon, garlic, and parsley.
The preparation took a few hours, but it was worth the wait
Despite the lengthy prep – two hours for letting the cauliflower marinate – I was able to make this on a weeknight, starting everything from scratch right after my workday ended to have it ready in time for dinner.
I started by cutting the cauliflower head into three thick slices, or “steaks.” The recipe said to cut the head into two pieces, but mine was massive.
From there, I put two slices in a pot of heavily salted water to boil for about seven minutes.
I was thankful to have three slabs of cauliflower because one fell apart while boiling. I still strained it and let it drain on a sheet pan while the third steak boiled.
While the cauliflower rested and release the extra water, I prepared a small baking dish with coconut milk, crushed coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, and salt.
I placed the cauliflower pieces in this dish and put it in the fridge to marinate for two hours.
Just before the two hours were up, I put together my vinaigrette and gremolata so that the food would be ready to plate after the cauliflower roasted.
The vinaigrette was as easy as whisking mustard, olive oil, red-wine vinegar, and lemon juice together.
Then, I chopped up about half a bunch of parsley and combined it with minced garlic and lemon zest.
After marinating, I popped the cauliflower in the oven for about 15 minutes, then broiled it on high for about five minutes. I kept a close eye on it while broiling to make sure it didn’t burn.
When everything was out of the oven, I put one hefty steak on a plate, generously poured on the vinaigrette, and topped it all of with a couple of spoonfuls of gremolata.
This dish was a total flavor explosion in the best way
I love vegetables, but cauliflower is one of my least favorites.
Still, I’m always game to try something new, and this time paid off because this cauliflower steak was incredible.
There were so many exciting things happening to my taste buds. It was sweet, spicy, salty, tangy. Every bite was amazing, even the tougher stalk.
I broke out a knife for the full steak effect, but the cauliflower was tender enough to cut with a fork.
I’ll definitely be making this dish again
This was a beautiful dish.
I’ve never been to Butter, but I can’t wait for the day I can make a trip to NYC to have this prepared by the pros. Until that day comes, I’ll have this on heavy rotation at home because I’m already obsessed.
Guarnaschelli also told me this dish can easily get a protein boost by adding any kind of beans or crushed nuts on top, so I’m excited to try that as well. I think finely crushed walnuts would be a nice addition in terms of both flavor and texture.
The vinaigrette and gremolata alone are also amazing, and I’ll be using them on my standard salads and roasted veggies on nights I don’t have time to marinate the cauliflower.
Really, every part of this dish is pretty versatile. I can see myself using the coconut-milk marinade for tofu as well, or drizzling the dressing and gremolata on veggies, pasta, or even pizza.
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