I'm thinking now is a good time for me to tell you why you find things like cauliflower steaks here and not new york strip steaks.
Since starting this blog, I get asked all the time: Are you a vegan? And, the answer is ...well ...technically ...no.
Do I primarily cook vegan meals for myself, Michael, and our family and friends at home ... yes.
Do I eat dairy .... no.
Do I occasionally eat grass fed beef .... yes.
Do I promote eating meat, or feature anything but whole foods & plant based recipes on this blog .... no.
There is no label that perfectly defines my 95% vegan lifestyle. That's okay, I don't really like labels anyways. If I'm going to be defined, I'd like it to be as: a food lover, an adventurous eater, and a huge advocate for healthy foods in their most natural form.
I used to be a big meat eater. I thought every meal had to include some sort of animal protein in order to be complete. If you would have told me two years ago that I would be eating a mostly plant based diet I would have said "HA! No way!" and laughed in your face. Now, I couldn't imagine going back.
I did not just wake up one day and decide I was going to eat this way. My process has been very gradual, and is the result of reading many books on the subject, listening to lectures, and most influential: training to be a vegan, natural foods chef.
I am not big on preaching, but I just want to say this. I have never felt healthier, looked healthier or had more energy than I have since I cut out almost all meat and dairy and started eating more vegetables and grains. That is all. Plain and simple.
No matter how you normally eat, I feel that if each person made an effort to eat more natural, whole foods and plants and less processed foods and animal products, then the world will be a happier, healthier and more beautiful place.
More chopped vegetables instead of pork chops, more quinoa burgers instead of turkey burgers, more cauliflower steaks instead of new york strip steaks.
Okay. I'm done. Now go make these insanely delicious cauliflower steaks!
cauliflower steaks with caramelized fennel and harissa laced millet
This dish makes a fantastic vegan entree. The caramelized fennel brings a lovely sweetness to the savory roasted cauliflower. And, with the spicy harissa added, it really satisfies all of your taste buds. For the harissa, there are some really great store bought version which work great with this recipe. Of course, there are a number of great recipes (such as this one) floating around the web if you'd like to make your own.
4 cauliflower steaks / serves 4 people
For the millet:
1/2 cup of millet
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of water
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of harissa
For the cauliflower and fennel:
1 head of cauliflower cut into steaks
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 fennel bulb (green top removed) and thinly sliced
salt & pepper
Garnish: fresh chopped parsley, and currants
Start by preparing the millet:
- In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and then add the millet to toast. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the water, bring the water to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook the millet for 25 minutes, turn off the heat, and allow the millet to sit covered while your preparing the rest of the dish.
Next, prepare the cauliflower steaks:
- Pre-heat the over to 400º.
- To slice the cauliflower into steaks, start by slicing the cauliflower down the middle. Then, slice each half in half. You will end up with four steaks, and some of the outer florets will fall off, or should be removed to give a nice, flat piece. Save the florets and use them in a cruidite or salad.
- Once your steaks are sliced, rub them with 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil, salt, and pepper.
- Place then in a large cast iron pan and cook them over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side. You want them to brown around the edges.
- Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook in the over for about 15 minutes, until the cauliflower steaks are fork tender.
While you're cauliflower is in the over, caramelize the fennel:
- Using the same cast iron pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of sunflower oil over medium-high heat and cook the fennel slices flipping and stirring occasionally until the fennel is soft, brown, and starting to caramelize. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
Assemble the dish:
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the millet, and mix in the harissa. Stir until everything is combined.
- Place the cauliflower steaks on a plate, then add the harissa millet, and top with the caramelized fennel.
- Lastly, garnish with fresh chopped parsley and currants.