Snacks & Small Plates/ Vegan

Grilled Cauliflower with Chimmicurri & Chili Oil

When people ask me about what I like to eat, my answer is always that I really like vegetables. Even to the point of being what I call an “accidental vegetarian” for several days in a row, especially if my fiancé is not around. I like meat, don’t get me wrong, but my style of food tends to lean towards deliciously prepared veggies rather than a juicy piece of steak. He’s a meat and potatoes kind of guy, though he likes what I fix for him. Opposites attract, right?

Even though I do eat meat, I also watch documentaries which freak me out about ways that animals are mistreated. Please watch Food, Inc. on Netflix! I’m not quite ready to give up meat on principal – though I greatly admire those that do – but I do do little things like purchase free range eggs, chicken, grass fed beef. Those extra dollars I have to spend on these products versus those 99 cent eggs or dirt cheap beef I consider a donation. A donation to farms that are doing a little more to treat animals nicely.

Anyway, before I got sidetracked, I was talking about the conversation I often have with people regarding what I like to eat. When I say that I really like vegetables, they ask me how I prepare them. This is a really hard one for me to answer; how DON’T I like to prepare them? Chop them into a fresh salsa? Toss them in a pesto and a poached egg? Puree them into a delicious soup? Or perhaps grill them and top with herbs and chili oil?

Grilled Cauliflower with Chimmicurri & Chili Oil

I mean, how can you not like vegetables like this? You don’t have to eat this as a main course – pair it with a lovely pork tenderloin and share a little of that chimichurri love. Or as a small plate if you are doing a little tapas
spread (my FAVORITE way to eat!). Either way, cauliflower is the unlikely hero of this dish.

I was inspired by this recipe I saw in Bon Apetit – actually several recipes they sent in a recent email were outstanding and inspired quite a bit of my cooking in the last couple days. I highly suggest signing up for their emails. I made chili oil a few days ago for a different dish (this one!), and made a full 1 cup recipe because I knew it would come in handy. I’d suggest making the full cup, but if you are unsure, half or quarter the recipe for smaller amounts. Watch that cooking time and temp more closely though. Chili oil would also be a fun DIY gift, don’t you think?

I hope you enjoy this one and decide add grilled & dressed veggies to your list of “how you like veggies prepared”!

Grilled Cauliflower with Chimmicurri & Chili Oil

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • Lemon wedges to garnish
  • ​Salt and pepper to taste
  • About 1 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

1

Prepare the chili oil. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup olive oil and pepper flakes. Over low heat, heat the oil until it reaches 180°F. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

2

Prepare the chimichurri sauce. Mince garlic and herbs, and combine with vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3 tbsp olive oil. Whisk to fully integrate. Set aside.

3

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Slice the cauliflower head carefully into steaks. Starting from the middle can help make steaks clean and reduce excess breakage. Brush both sides of the steaks and loose florets with a little olive oil, and salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, add the cauliflower steaks. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes each side, or until steaks have a nice char, and carefully flip. Cook 5 to 7 minutes more and then remove from heat.

4

Scatter chimichurri sauce over, and sprinkle with chili oil. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

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