Above: Make cauliflower steaks with lemon lime feta gremolata for a vegetarian meal on the grill. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
BY MELISSA D’ARABIAN
We finally live in a world where going meatless on Mondays can appeal to even the enthusiastic carnivore. Which is why vegetable “steaks” are becoming increasingly popular.
The concept is pretty simple. We cut up thick slices of veggies — often eggplant, portabella mushroom caps, heads of cauliflower — and grill or broil them just as we would beef steaks. If you are doubter, let me be the first to say I understand. I was skeptical, too. But veggie steaks really rank up there in the most satisfying of meatless meal options. They won’t replace your juicy rib-eye, but they will make a satisfying meal.
Cauliflower is a veggie steak favorite, its flavor enhanced by the high heat of grilling or roasting, which coax out a sweet earthiness. This method of cooking it has made me a huge fan of a veggie I hated as a kid (when it typically was boiled to cruciferous noxiousness and bathed in a ridiculously-colored cheese sauce (Sorry, Mom).
But it’s the cruciferous nature of the cauliflower that makes it so healthy, full of fiber and nutrients. And 1 cup of cauliflower has just 25 calories!
The trick to slicing cauliflower steaks is to use only the center of the cauliflower head. Basically, you trim away the sides, then cut the center into thick slabs. This has always presented me with leftover little florets that fall away. Sure, you can save them for another meal (and I do!). Or you can use those little pieces to make a gremolata to go on top of the steak!
In this recipe, I use every bit of the cauliflower head, and add a touch of feta to the topping for a little salty goodness. Happy Monday!
GRILLED CAULIFLOWER STEAKS WITH LEMON-LIME FETA GREMOLATA
Start to Finish: 30 minutes
2 small heads cauliflower
1 clove garlic
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat the grill to medium-high.
Trim off and discard the cauliflower leaves, then flip each head over so that the stem end is facing up. Trim about 1/4 inch from each side to flatten, then cut each head in 3 thick slabs. Reserve 1 cup of the side florets you trimmed away.
Using a fine wand-style grater, grate the garlic into a medium bowl. Grate in the zest of the lime and 1 lemon, then juice the lime and 1/2 of the lemon into the same bowl. Finely chop the cilantro and reserved cauliflower bits and add to the bowl along with the feta. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and juice from the reserved lemon half. Brush one side of the cauliflower steaks with the lemon oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place them oiled side down on the grill. Cook for 4 minutes, brush the top sides of the steaks with additional lemon oil, flip and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly charred and tender.
Slice the remaining lemon into 6 wedges. Spoon several tablespoons of the gremolata over the steaks and serve with a lemon wedge.
Nutrition information per serving: 70 calories; 25 calories from fat (36 percent of total calories); 3 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 5 mg cholesterol; 150 mg sodium; 10 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 4 g protein.