Simple, hearty, and perfectly seasoned Loaded Cauliflower Steaks will make you a believer in just how amazing and versatile cauliflower is!
Savory Loaded Cauliflower Steaks are incredibly easy to make but don’t be fooled just because it’s a vegetable. These “steaks” are hearty slabs of deliciousness! Gather up thickly sliced cauliflower, salty bacon, cheddar cheese, and seasonings for a dish even picky eaters will love.
Winning with Cauli-power
Like many kids, my kids have their favorite vegetables that they will eat with any meal with zero arguments, but the cauliflower was not one of those vegetables. But what parent doesn’t love a challenge? Kidding. Making these Loaded Cauliflower Steaks was a game changer, though, because cauliflower has a richness that easily takes on the flavors from spices and toppings and when it’s cut thick, it is so filling! While the kids’ favorite part may have been either the bacon or the cheese, the rest of the family could not get enough of the entire dish.
Loaded cauliflower can be a flavor-punch side to a great, light main dish of Air Fryer Chicken Breast, and is also a filling main dish that can be served with Slow Cooker Classic Tomato Soup.
Other Recipes to Serve with Loaded Cauliflower Steaks
- Spicy Ranch Cauliflower will keep everyone believing in the awesomeness of cauliflower, and the mix of spices and texture is simply too delicious!
- Cauliflower Pizza Crust is seriously fun to make and even more fun to the top and then eat! You can put all of your favorites on this tasty crust.
Bacon: You will need one cup of sliced bacon, so pick up your favorite. If you like cooking your veggies in bacon grease, then hang on to the grease once the bacon is finished cooking and use it to coat the cauliflower.
Veggies: One head of cauliflower will feed four people, so grab at least one head or two if you’re feeding more than four people. You will also need a small bunch of green onions.
Cheese: Cheddar cheese is needed in this recipe and while grating a block of cheddar is preferred, use shredded cheese if that’s what you have on hand or have time for.
Seasonings: To bring more flavor to this dish, you will need paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Oil: You will need olive oil or vegetable oil but if you choose to use some bacon grease, then measure how much grease you have and make up the difference with vegetable oil so that you have the right amount of oil for the cauliflower.
How to Make Loaded Cauliflower Steaks
STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush oil or spray non-stick spray over the parchment paper. On the stovetop, cook the bacon until crispy. Save the grease if you will be using it later.
STEP TWO: Trim the leaves and stem of the cauliflower but do not remove the core. Slice the cauliflower into 3/4-inch to 1-inch slabs.
STEP THREE: Mix the spices and oil and then brush each “steak” with the mix. Bake the cauliflower for 25-30 minutes until tender.
STEP FOUR: Carefully remove the cauliflower from the oven and sprinkle the cheese over each cauliflower steak. Return the pan to the oven to cook for 5-10 more minutes until the cheese is melted.
STEP FIVE: Take the cauliflower out of the oven, sprinkle the steaks with bacon and sliced green onions, and serve warm with sour cream.
Tips for Success
- Using the leftover bacon grease can bring a lot of flavor to the cauliflower and is easy to incorporate into this dish. Measure out how much grease is left after frying the bacon and use it to replace some of the vegetable oil.
- To make this dish vegetarian simply leave out the bacon or replace the bacon with a vegetarian or vegan substitute. To make it vegan, leave out or replace the bacon, as mentioned, and substitute the cheddar cheese with your favorite vegan cheddar.
- Doubling or tripling this recipe is super easy to do! Depending on how many cauliflower steaks you are cooking, you may need two baking sheets or to cook them in batches. Also, if you have a lot of little cauliflower florets that fell off while cutting, then toss them in the seasoned oil mix you made and place them between the cauliflower steaks to cook as well.
- Shake up what cheese you use, or go for your favorite one! Gouda, pepper jack, extra sharp, you can’t go wrong with cheese!
Why are they called cauliflower steaks?
Although this tasty dish does not in any way whatsoever taste or look like steak, it is still called steak because of the shape the cauliflower is cut into. The thick slabs of cauliflower are similar to slabs of steak, so that’s where the name came from. Fun tip: just like steak can be grilled, so too can cauliflower steaks! The char from the grill makes this dish extra amazing, and the added smokiness the grill gives the cauliflower and cheese takes it over the top.
Can I make this ahead of time?
There are a couple of ways to make this dish ahead of time. The first is to prepare your cauliflower by trimming it and slicing it into slabs and then brushing each piece with the seasoned oil mix, wrapping it tightly and storing it in the refrigerator for up to two days ahead of time. The second is to follow the recipe to the point where it’s baking. Cut the bake time by 5-10 minutes, remove the cauliflower from the oven and allow it to cool completely. Once cool, tightly wrap the cauliflower and cover the bacon and put both in the refrigerator for up to two days. When you are ready to finish cooking, follow the recipe from where you left off, but be sure to add the 5-10 minutes of baking time you cut off the first time.
More amazingly filling veggies to power your meals
- Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
- Slow Cooker Loaded Mashed Potatoes
- Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Bacon Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadilla
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the paper with 1 tablespoon of oil or coat it with non-stick cooking spray. (Depending on the size of your cauliflower you might need two baking sheets to cook everything at the same time.)
- Place a large skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon until crispy, around 5-7 minutes. Then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Remove the leaves and the lower part of the stem from the cauliflower head. Then cut the cauliflower into ¾-inch to 1-inch slices, yielding about 3 slices. Cut any remaining cauliflower into florets. Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet. (see note)
- Mix 5 tablespoons of olive oil with paprika powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Brush the mixture over the cauliflower steaks.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on how tender you like your cauliflower.
- Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven, sprinkle the cheese evenly over the cauliflower, and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese has melted.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with bacon and green onion. Serve warm with sour cream.
- I love to use the rendered fat from the bacon to supplement the oil used. Just take as many tablespoons of bacon grease as you can get from the skillet and then add enough olive oil to equal 5 tablespoons.
- In case you have a lot of small florets, just add them to a bowl, and sprinkle some paprika and garlic powder, salt, and pepper over it. Add some oil and toss. Place them in between the whole cauliflower slices.
- Make this a vegetarian dish by omitting the bacon.