Spicy Cauliflower Steak with Miso Sauce

Cauliflower, miso, and sriracha combine for an instant classic.

With this recipe, I wanted to combine textures and flavors: the soft, almost creamy texture of cooked cauliflower; the deep, pungent flavor of the fermented miso; and the spicy kick of sriracha. I created this dish for one of my private clients, and it quickly became a menu staple. I think it will be on yours as well.

Serves 2

What you need:

For the cauliflower:

2 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil
2 cauliflower steaks (see "Pro Tip" below)
1/2 cup leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the sauce:

1 tablespoon vegan butter
1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon chickpea miso
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish

What You Do:

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Heat oil in a medium oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Place the cauliflower steaks and leeks in the hot skillet and cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side. Working quickly, sprinkle the nutritional yeast, oregano, paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt evenly on both sides. Transfer the skillet to the oven to keep warm. Turn off the oven and keep closed.

2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the butter until hot. Add the onions and sauté until caramelized, approximately 6 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

3. In a measuring cup, combine the water with the miso, sriracha, cornstarch, sesame oil, and salt. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Add the liquid mixture to the skillet with the onion mixture and mix well with a whisk. Once the sauce begins to thicken, reduce the heat to low. To adjust the flavor of the sauce, add more water by the tablespoon until it is to your taste.

4. Place a cauliflower steak in the center of each plate, followed by a spoonful of the leeks. Drizzle the warm sauce over and around the cauliflower and garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme. Serve hot.

Pro Tip: Place a head of cauliflower on a cutting board. Make a slightly off-center cut down the middle of the cauliflower. You now have two halves, and one will be slightly bigger. From the larger half, cut two 1-inch thick steaks.

This recipe was originally published in the The Lusty Vegan, a Cookbook and Relationship Manifesto for Vegans and the People who Love Them by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg, © 2014 by Vegan Heritage Press. Photo courtesy of Geoff Souder.

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