I immediately turn to cauliflower whenever I need to make a vegetarian version of a dish. Since it doesn't have much flavor, it's very easy to manipulate it. Swap out the meat in curries for cauliflower, use cauliflower for rice, the list is endless. To add to the list of wonderful cauliflower dishes, I made crispy cauliflower steaks with lemon walnut sauce. Imagine creamy whipped goat cheese, panko-crusted cauliflower, crispy chickpeas, and a tangy lemon walnut caper parsley sauce to top it off. The combination is utterly delicious!
Crispy Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon Walnut Sauce
- 14 ounces canned chickpeas drained
- 2 tablespoon oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 head cauliflower sliced into about ¼ inch steaks
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs beaten
- 2 cups panko
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoon oil
Lemon walnut sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 anchovies packed in oil
- 1 lemon thinly sliced, seeds removed
- ½ cup walnuts chopped
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon capers
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
Whipped goat cheese
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 2 tablespoon milk
- Drain, rinse and blot dry the canned chickpeas with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat and add the chickpeas. Cook until crispy, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Set aside.
- Set up the breading station for the cauliflower steaks. Place ½ cup all-purpose in one bowl and 3 beaten eggs in another bowl. Combine 2 cups panko with 2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon onion powder in a third bowl. Dredge the sliced cauliflower steaks in flour, dip in egg, and coat in the panko mixture.
- Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Pan-fry the cauliflower until golden brown on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. If the cauliflower brown too quickly, reduce the heat to low. Remove the cauliflower and keep warm.
- Wipe the saute pan clean and heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium-low heat. Add 2 anchovies and cook until the anchovies melt into the oil. Add the thinly sliced lemon, ½ cup chopped walnuts, and 1 minced shallot. Cook until the lemons are caramelized, walnuts are toasted, and shallots softened, about 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and add 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 2 tablespoon capers, ¼ cup chopped parsley, and ¼ cup olive oil. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- Make the whipped goat cheese by whipping together 4 ounces of goat cheese with 2 tablespoon milk in a blender or food processor.
- Spoon the whipped goat cheese on the plate. Lay the cauliflower steaks on top followed by the chickpeas and the lemon walnut sauce. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
With our current situation with the coronavirus invading the U.S., I'm avoiding going to the market at all costs. This means using what I have at home to create a delicious meal. By using several pantry items such as capers and chickpeas, I was able to come up with these crispy cauliflower steaks with lemon walnut sauce. Don't worry if you don't have all of the ingredients because I have all the substitutions for you!
Let's get started by making the crispy chickpeas. You can swap the chickpeas for another bean but just note that they won't get crispy like chickpeas. Instead, marinate them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar to give it a punch. You can also skip the beans altogether, it won't ruin the dish.
To get perfectly crispy chickpeas, make sure to drain, rinse and dry the beans. Drying the beans is crucial, allowing the oil to properly coat the beans and give it that crunchy exterior.
Next, prepare the cauliflower. Set up your breading station including whisked eggs, flour, and seasoned panko. Cut the cauliflower into slices, making sure not to cut the cauliflower too thick. If it's too thick, the breading will brown before the cauliflower is cooked. Watch the cauliflower as it cooks, if it seems to be browning too quickly, lower the heat. Alternatively, brown the cauliflower on the pan and finish cooking them in the oven.
Now for the sauce, you want to prep all of the ingredients before cooking because it does come together very quickly. You may be hesitant to use anchovies but it adds a beautiful umami flavor to the sauce that no other ingredient can contribute. As you cook the anchovies, you'll notice that they "melt" away in the oil. What is left is not a fishy taste but just a punch of savory goodness.
If you don't have walnuts, use almonds, pistachios, or pecans. Use basil or cilantro instead of parsley, swap the shallots for red onions or even use limes instead of lemons.
Whip the goat cheese with a touch of milk until creamy and spread it on a plate. No goat cheese? No problem! Whipped ricotta or creamy burrata would work wonderfully. With such an adaptable dish, these cauliflower steaks with lemon walnut sauce may be the lifesaver of your quarantine!
For more cauliflower inspiration, check out this roasted cauliflower with harissa date gremolata!