Cauliflower steak tapas in living color!
As a kid growing up, my grandfather would always give us two choices for dinner – eat or do not eat! As a dad I adopted this approach for about the first 10 years of parenthood. More recently, as the kids have matured and developed their own palates and nutritional identity my wife and I have evolved to allow them more ownership of their food choices and overall diet. Obviously over those first ten years or so we made sure to establish a strong foundation for smart and balanced choices and we continue to provide guidance.
The results of our approach means that in our four person household we have a vegan, a pescatarian, and two 75 percenters (my son and I are non-meat and non-dairy for at least 75% of our meals). By and large this is fun for me as the primary cook in the house as I enjoy the challenge it presents including developing some efficiencies, exploring new areas and approaches to cooking and meal prep, etc. However, there are those days when I’m not sure which way is up such as this one. In a week where my wife was in Iceland, both kids had multiple tests and sporting events, and I had a few deadlines to meet on top of the normal day to day household/work operations I was all over the place. Dual versions of this cauliflower steak tapas recipe reflects this state of craziness.
I personally think Richard Pryor is on that Mt. Rushmore of geniuses. He was so adept at his craft that there is a wide gap between he and others in a field of some really great comedians. In one of his earlier movies, “Which Way Is Up” (a favorite of mine) he plays three different roles – an orange picker named Leroy, a grandfather, and a preacher. Leroy gets fired from his job as laborer and by mistake joins the worker’s union during one of their demonstrations. Afterwards he is forced to leave his wife and family behind to go to Los Angeles where he ends up working for the same company that fired him back home. He is now a manager at the company but disconnected from his buddies who still work as laborers. He meets and falls in love with another woman which leaves him splitting time between his wife Annie Mae back home and his new LA girlfriend.
Perhaps not to the same degree as Richard Pryor’s character Leroy, but the reality for us all is that life gets in the way more often than not and we have to be ready to deal with all that comes with whatever coping mechanisms we have. For me, I put my headphones on, grab my knives and get to work. To meet the diverse dietary needs of my family I prepared a tapas style dinner, with cauliflower steak tapas as the center and in a few cases made two versions – one with and without meat. Despite the different dietary considerations both versions of this cauliflower steak tapas dish were easy, efficient, and low involvement. There is little prep and little cooking. It involves simply roasting the cauliflower steak and mixing salsa ingredients in a bowl.
Cauliflower is a staple in our house and this purple variety was the centerpiece to the dish and I paired it with a “Mediterranean” type salsa including capers, olives, and herbs for the pure plant-based option and then just added Spanish style dried chorizo for an option with meat. The sweet cherry tomatoes and herbs were perfect compliment to the salty and briney capers and olives. I love the flavor and color in this dish which makes it a perfect Fall classic!
Dope beats, fresh eats. Enjoy a plant based or meat enhanced cauliflower steak tapas!
“which way is up” Plant-based Roasted Purple Cauliflower Steak Tapas
For the Cauliflower
- 1 large head cauliflower sliced lengthwise through the core into 4 'steaks'
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the Salsa
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved lengthwise
- 1 tbsp Capers drained
- 1/4 green or kalamata olives pitted and halved
- Fresh Parsley and Basil
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp Lemon Juice Salt and pepper to taste
Make the Cauliflower
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place cauliflower steaks on the prepared baking sheet.
Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl. Brush 1/2 of the olive oil mixture over the tops of the cauliflower steaks.
Roast cauliflower steaks in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Gently turn over each steak and brush with remaining olive oil mixture. Continue roasting until tender and golden, 15 to 20 minutes more.
Make the Salsa
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Let sit 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to come together.
Serve with the cauliflower steaks