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Cauliflower Piccata is a lighter, vegetarian version of more traditional piccata recipes. And because the cauliflower steaks aren’t dredged in flour like typical piccata, it’s also gluten free. With this easy recipe, you'll spend a total of 5 minutes at your stove top. The oven does the majority of the work, roasting the cauliflower steaks to tender, deeply caramelized perfection before they're drizzled with a silky lemon butter caper sauce. It's a convenient meal for any day of the week, and its elegant simplicity makes it worthy of special occasions.
Piccata recipes generally include meat (like veal, chicken or pork) that gets pounded flat, coated in flour, and seared on the stovetop. This recipe replaces the central ingredient with thinly sliced, roasted cauliflower steaks for a similar result. Though it strays from traditional Italian versions, this vegetarian piccata delivers the flavor and texture you’d expect from the classic dish.
Ingredients You Need to Make Cauliflower Piccata
- Cauliflower: look for firm, uniformly shaped cauliflower heads with with hearty stems for the best cauliflower steaks.
- Avocado Oil: or other high heat, neutrally flavored oil
- White Wine: or vegetable broth
- Lemon: fresh lemon juice is a must as it's a major flavor component of the sauce
- Capers: ideally ideally non-pareil capers
- Butter: if using unsalted butter, add ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt or ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to the sauce - for vegan piccata, use a vegan friendly butter substitute
- Parsley: flat leaf parsley / Italian parsley
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
What sets this recipe apart.
The key difference that sets this vegetarian piccata apart from others like it is the way the cauliflower is prepared. Instead of being dredged in flour and pan seared, cauliflower steaks are seasoned with salt and pepper, drizzled with olive oil and roasted on a rimmed baking sheet at high heat until they're beautifully caramelized and finished with a tangy, buttery sauce, studded with salty, earthy capers.
Though I typically prefer tender-crisp or even crisp-tender cauliflower, roasting these cauliflower steaks until they're almost meltingly tender and deeply caramelized makes them absolutely luscious. That said, if you want them to have more bite, reduce the temperature to 425˚F and reduce roasting time by 5 minutes or more.
More Great Ways to Enjoy Cauliflower
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
- Easy Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
Other Must Try Piccata Recipes
How to Make Cauliflower Piccata
Cut 2 to 4 ,¾-inch thick 'steaks' from each head of cauliflower, outer leaves removed. (Roast remaining cauliflower florets or reserve for another use.) Place cauliflower steaks on a baking sheet in a single layer; drizzle each side with olive oil and season the top side with salt and pepper. Roast in an oven preheated to 450˚F until deeply caramelized and very tender, about 35 minutes (carefully flipping steaks after 25 minutes).
When cauliflower steaks are nearly done, make lemon butter caper sauce in a small skillet. Arrange roasted cauliflower steaks on a serving platter and drizzle evenly with sauce. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley if you like and serve.
- 2 medium heads cauliflower outer leaves trimmed (see recipe note #1)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or other high heat oil, divided
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup white wine or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup capers drained and rinsed
- 4 tablespoons butter (½ of a standard cube)
- fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish, optional
- 1 small lemon thinly sliced for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 450˚F. (recipe note #2)
- Place head of cauliflower on a large cutting board, stem side down. With a very sharp knife, cut in half, from top to bottom. Then carefully slice off one or two ¾-inch thick 'steaks' from the cut-side of each half, taking care to include the core. Repeat with second head of cauliflower. (You'll get 2 to 4 steaks from each cauliflower head, depending on the size of the head and width of the core.) You'll have the ends leftover - divide these into florets to roast along with the steaks or reserve for another use.
- Arrange cauliflower steaks and florets (cut side up) on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil (recipe note #3). Then carefully flip and drizzle with second tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven, undisturbed for 25 minutes, until sections of the cauliflower steak bottoms have caramelized to a deep bronze.
- After 25 minutes, carefully flip the cauliflower steaks with a thin spatula and stir florets. Return to oven for 8 to 10 minutes more, until very tender and lightly charred.
- While the cauliflower finishes roasting, make sauce: add wine, lemon juice, and capers to a skillet and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until reduced slightly, 1-2 minutes. Add butter and stir to melt; continue boiling until slightly thickened 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Transfer roasted cauliflower steaks and florets to serving platter and spoon sauce over evenly. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices if desired and serve.
- Be sure to look for firm, uniformly shaped heads of cauliflower with hearty stems for the best cauliflower steaks.
- When you roast cauliflower steaks at 450˚F for this amount of time, you'll get luscious, very tender, deeply caramelized steaks. If you'd rather have tender-crisp, lightly caramelized cauliflower steaks, reduce the oven temperature to 425˚F and flip after 20 minutes. Then continue roasting to your desired doneness.
- For efficient oil drizzling, move the steaks and florets together on the baking sheet so there is as little space as possible. Once you've drizzled both sides, spread them out, so every steak and floret has some room to caramelize.