Food & dining

Sunday Supper

Vegetarian cauliflower ‘steaks’ become pasta with florets

Cauliflower steak.
Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe
Cauliflower steak.

As cooks rise to the challenge of making vegetarian meals more interesting, uninspired dishes are being replaced by new ways of thinking about vegetables. Here, whole heads of cauliflower are cut into thick “steaks.” Steam them gently until tender all the way through. Then rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in a very hot oven for a crispy, brown exterior. While the cauliflower cooks, whisk together a spicy white wine, caper, and butter sauce to accompany them.

When you cut the heads of cauliflower into uniformly sized pieces, you will be left with a good number of florets. Sear them in plenty of olive oil for the next day’s pasta. Add leeks, garlic, red pepper, and peas. Toss with cooked orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta), Parmesan, and a touch of lemon juice. Top each plate with oven-fried golden breadcrumbs. Both meals are good for your grocery bill, for the environment, and for the vegetarians at your table who are bored with what they already know.


(For cauliflower “steaks,” orecchiette)


6 tablespoons butter

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½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 cup frozen peas

2 heads cauliflower

2 leeks


1 bunch fresh parsley

5 cloves garlic

1½ lemons

Salt and pepper

1 cup olive oil


¼ cup capers

1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper

¾ cup white wine

½ cup panko or other dry white

1 pound orecchiette or other
small curly pasta 

Karoline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at