Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce

The show-stopping element of this recipe is the tangy red pepper romesco sauce. I make it gluten-free by blending in chickpeas instead of bread.

Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce

So… it’s almost Valentines Day and (big news!), we finally took our Christmas tree down. Yes, that’s right, we are “those people.” Christmas in July would have totally been our reality if my mom hadn’t come to visit this past weekend, because when mom’s here, things around the house get done.

But back to the Valentines’ Day thing – it’s my favorite holiday. It doesn’t involve putting up (or taking down) decorations, which works well for us. We don’t do anything over the top, but we enjoy spending time making dinner together.

Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce

I love this recipe as a vegetarian main course option. It’s not a side salad trying to be a meal, there’s no fake meat and who knew a slab of cauliflower can be so filling?

Underneath the cauliflower is a tangy romesco-like sauce. I changed around my go-to romesco recipe to be just a tad healthier – it uses a little less oil and I used chickpeas to thicken the sauce instead of bread. If you don’t have a lot of time to put this together, the sauce can be made at least a day in advance.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce
I love this gluten-free take on Romesco Sauce made with chickpeas instead of bread. If you want to make this a quicker meal, you can make the sauce a few days in advance.
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: 2
  • 2 1-inch thick cauliflower “steaks” from 1 medium cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil (or other high-heat oil)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon golden raisins
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
Romesco Sauce: (this makes extra)
  • 2 roasted red bells peppers, fresh or from a jar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup cooked chickpeas (or 1 slice ciabatta bread, for thickening)
  • ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup blanched almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the Romesco Sauce: In a blender, combine the red peppers, tomato paste, water, vinegar, chickpeas, hazelnuts, almonds, garlic, paprika, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Season to taste.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut two 1-inch thick slices from the cauliflower, keeping the core intact. Heat the oil in a large cast iron pan. Place the cauliflower steaks into the pan and gently press them down. Lightly brush the top of the steaks with a little more oil, and season with salt and pepper. Sear for 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown, then transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender but firm.
  3. Spread two plates with romesco sauce and top each with a cauliflower steak. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley, pine nuts, golden raisins, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Store extra romesco sauce in the fridge for up to 4 days. Slather it on sandwiches or use as a veggie dip.

The tabletop items in this post were kindly provided by Anthropologie.


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Having the Romesco sauce is a new twist one the cauliflower steak. I have made just the steak part, coating the slices with olive oil, roasting them, adding Parmesan cheese at the end and putting the pan under the broiler for a few minutes. Will have to try this new variation. It looks delicious and I like the added color, which makes the plate pop.

  2. Annie from

    This looks great! I’m all for staying in on V-Day (and a big proponent of cauliflower as a main)… but haven’t yet figured out what side to pair it with. Potatoes seem a little too heavy, but is salad too light? Any suggestions?

    • Savvy

      some kind of kale salad sounds good to me!

    • Jessica

      I’m planning to pair it with rice

  3. Christine from

    We took down our tree awhile ago but I left some of the other Christmas decorations up – little trees, vintage ornaments, a wreath … I wasn’t ready to say the holiday was over until I looked around yesterday and decided I was done. It’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one keeping that stuff around (: I really love your idea to use chickpeas rather than bread for romesco! I’ve always meant to make a traditional one but never think of it when I have gf bread on hand – this eliminates that problem all together, and it looks so good!

  4. I’m all for celebrating vtines with cauliflower! I hate myself for loving it because it’s so popular right now. Oh, well. Good food will be good food. The romesco also sounds dreamy dreamy.

  5. Oh I love romesco AND cauliflower steaks. This is the perfect pairing if you ask me. And I like that you added chickpeas to the sauce to boost protein and make it main dish-worthy. (And we don’t still have our tree up, but we may still have some lights hanging in a few places. 😉 )

  6. Joan |

    Very light meal, not everyone knows that cauliflower has anticancer properties and high content of vitamin C.

  7. Jesse from

    Really looking forward to making this! Just made roasted cauliflower with edamame mash and was so good… Posting the recipe soon if you’re interested;)

  8. It makes me happy you say Valentines Day is your favorite holiday– not enough people appreciate it! Lovely recipe for a night-in celebration

  9. Thank you for such a delicious & lovely recipe. This makes my day very special.

  10. This looks so good! I wish my husband liked cauliflower. I will have to make it for myself. I love those plates too!

  11. Campbell

    This was delicious! I had no idea how filling a cauliflower steak could be, and paired with the sauce it was fantastic. I didn’t have raisins, but tossed some roasted peanuts and pumpkin seeds on top. Added a nice little crunch. Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you liked them! I know, I was surprised how filling they were too 🙂

  12. Gail H. from

    Wow. Surprisingly good. I only added some fresh ground coriander to the cauliflower sauté. Loved the sauce. Thanks for another great meal!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      so glad you liked them – thanks Gail!

  13. danielle from

    Made this last night and it was delicious. I don’t love chickpeas so I left them out of the sauce but it was still so good.
    Question – how did you get your romesco that bright yellow color?



  15. Mariel

    This is such a good recipe! The sauce is so tasty. I used bread since I had it on hand, but next time I’ll try the chickpea version.

  16. Monica

    Just finished our yummy dinner and my first attempt at cauliflower steak. Great hit. The Romesco sauce was was super delicioso. Great recipe. Ole!!

  17. Sam from

    I made this recipe this evening for dinner and it was a total hit. My partner and I both loved it — the sauce really brought it all together and the raisins are not to be missed!

    I will definitely be making this for dinner again. It’s also so easy and quick — perfect for busy weeknights.

  18. Tammy

    Yum! Made the sauce tonight to have over pasta and roasted veggies – everyone loved it. I didn’t have hazelnuts so used another 1/4 cup almonds and threw in a can of diced tomatoes to stretch the sauce out a little. Definitely making again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Tammy, I’m so glad you loved it!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.