The Key To Cutting Cauliflower Steaks Is All In The Technique

When it comes to vegetarian alternatives to traditional meat dishes, one of the most satisfying is the cauliflower steak. The nutty, roasted exterior, paired with the tender, fresh interior, provides a flavor and texture combination that's hard to beat. But if you're not careful, your efforts to prepare that perfect cauliflower steak may result in a sad pile of crumbled florets instead.

However, cutting a perfect steak out of that head of cauliflower is surprisingly simple. First, you should leave the stem attached. While it's not a particularly pleasant part to eat, keeping it helps hold the rest of the steak together as you slice. Otherwise, they're liable to fall apart. Next, the size of the steaks is critical. The ideal thickness is roughly one inch or slightly more, which helps the steaks stay together on the grill or in the oven. 

Don't slice too thickly, however, or you'll risk ending up with an overcooked outside with a still-raw inside. You'll also want to ensure you use your sharpest large chef's knife, which will pass cleanly through the cauliflower rather than requiring excess pressure or sawing that will damage the final product.

Making the best of the rest

There are a few more general principles to keep in mind when cutting cauliflower steaks and any other vegetables or other items. For one, use a cutting board made of wood or plastic that sits flat and securely on your countertop. This makes the cutting process easier, safer, and less harmful to your knife. In addition, do your best to keep the size of your pieces consistent, which will allow more even cooking in your dish. You should also wait to cut your cauliflower steaks until you're ready to cook. Important nutrients begin to degrade the minute you slice into your veggies, so time is of the essence. 

However, even the best chefs have some leftover cauliflower pieces that either didn't make it onto a steak or fell off in the prep process. Fortunately, there's no need to waste these delicious bits. Those roasting their cauliflower steaks in the oven can simply toss these florets onto the baking sheet or dish alongside the larger pieces. Those using a grill can do the same or cook the pieces in a foil wrapper if they're small enough to risk falling through the grate.

If you're looking for a new spin on this delicious dish, you can even try our air fryer cauliflower steak recipe, which produces delicious, crisp-tender results (with a delicious lime-spice flavoring) in just 15 minutes of hands-off cooking.