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Spiced Cauliflower Steaks with Almond Alioli

These griddled cauliflower ‘steaks’ are spicy with a robust flavour and texture, great for a Spring Sunday lunch with alioli, flatbreads and salad. The cauliflower steaks reheat well so can be prepared and cooked in advance. We like to serve with vegan almond alioli (recipe below) but they're equally good with a minty yoghurt dressing or tahini. For more cauliflower recipes like this one, check out Rachel's write-up in Vegetarian Living.

Spiced Cauliflower Steaks

Serves: 4 | Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free | Prep: 45 minutes | Cook: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped

Spice Mix:

  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp back peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp allspice berries
  • 3 cardamom pods, use the seeds
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander for scattering

Serve with:

  • Vegan alioli
  • Pitta or flatbreads
  • Cucumber, tomato and onion salad
  • Wedges of lemon
  • Chopped coriander

Method

  1. Trim the outer leaves and stem of the cauliflower and place in a pan fitted with a steamer. Steam for 8-10 minutes with the lid on until the cauliflower is only just tender when pierced with a small knife.
  2. Remove onto a chopping board and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Toast the whole spices in a dry frying pan until they smell aromatic then place in an electric grinder or mortar and pestle.
  4. Grind till fine and mix with the remaining ground spices in a bowl. Add the olive oil and mix to a paste.
  5. When the cauliflower is cool enough to handle, turn it on its side and carefully slice four 'steaks' approx 2-3 cm thick. (The remaining bits of cauliflower can be broken into florets and tossed with remaining marinade and either sautéed in a pan or roasted briefly in a hot oven for another meal, or made into cauliflower tabouleh)
  6. Brush the cauliflower steaks with the spice paste on both sides, making sure that they are well covered, place them on a baking tray and set aside to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  7. To cook the cauliflower steaks, heat a grill and place them under the grill.
  8. Grill the cauliflower for a few minutes on each side, taking care when turning, and watching that the spices don't burn. You may want to brush a little extra oil on the steaks as they grill. As soon as they become golden brown, remove to a warm plate for serving.
  9. To serve, spread a warm flatbread or pitta with alioli, top with some tomato, cucumber and onion salad, a wedge of lemon and a good scattering of chopped coriander.

Almond Alioli

Dietary: Vegan | Serves 4 to 6 | Prep time:15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 75ml water
  • 1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 finely minced garlic cloves
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Soak the breadcrumbs first by pouring on the water and vinegar and leave for a few minutes for the breadcrumbs to soak up the liquid.
  2. Crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar, adding a little salt and oil to make a smooth paste.
  3. Add the soaked bread and drizzle in the sunflower oil until you have used it all. Add water if needed to reach a hummus consistency.
  4. Stir in the ground almonds and olive oil, adding salt and lemon to taste.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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