Turn Whole Heads of Cauliflower Into Main Course-Worthy Dishes

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Cauliflower has been unveiling its talents lately as a culinary chameleon, making its way onto plates as cauliflower rice, mock mashed potatoes and even gluten-free pizza crust. But we think cauliflower can be pretty great even without these dramatic transformations. Though most recipes call for cauliflower to be broken into florets during the cooking process, there’s something striking about this cruciferous vegetable when it’s prepared closer to its natural state, sliced into steaks or even cooked whole. Here are some of our favorite ways to make cauliflower the star of a dish.

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks

Cauliflower steaks on the whole don’t need more than a basic salt and pepper seasoning before they go into the oven to roast. Valerie Bertinelli keeps things simple here with a buttery mixture of toasted pine nuts and golden raisins to add a layer of flavor and texture to the simply roasted vegetable.

Cauliflower Steaks with Caper Butter (pictured above)

While your cauliflower steaks are roasting, you’ll have more than enough time to mash together an easy and delicious compound butter made with parsley, capers and lemon zest. (In fact, go ahead and make yourself a whole log for future use — it’ll boost the savory flavor of fish or steamed rice dishes.) Then when the cauliflower is ready, simply top it with the flavored butter.

Broiled Cauliflower Steaks with Parsley and Lemon

Alex Guarnaschelli goes for big, bold cuts of cauliflower in her recipe (two steaks per cauliflower head) and departs from the usual roasting route. The steaks are blanched, soaked in a coconut milk marinade, then broiled until the tops are lightly charred. For finishing touches, pour on a tangy mustard vinaigrette and a refreshing parsley-garlic mixture. Your dinner guests will be seeing cauliflower in a whole other light.

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Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Raisin Relish

This recipe calls for the cauliflower steaks to get a good sear in the frying pan before they go into the oven to finish cooking, just like meaty steaks often do. Golden raisins and capers make a reappearance, this time together in a brightly colored relish with roasted red peppers.

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Grilled Cauliflower Steak with Israeli Couscous and Olives

Season cauliflower with a spicy harissa rub and serve it on a bed of Israeli couscous with a generous squeeze of lemon juice.

Mustard-Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower

And finally, roast whole heads of cauliflower for this centerpiece-worthy dish in a style that you may have seen gracing restaurant menus across the country. As you might expect, roasting it whole means a longer cooking time than with steaks, but at the end you’ll have beautifully charred and tender cauliflower that looks as good as it tastes once you’ve dusted it with the Parmesan-parsley mixture.