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These Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce and Lemon Caper Butter transform a humble vegetable into a symphony of flavours, colours and textures in every bite. The cauliflower is quickly blanched until tender before being cut into thick wedges and pan-roasted to get it nicely charred and crispy. It’s incredible over a vibrant bed of creamy Romesco sauce that’s bursting with the flavours of roasted red peppers, almonds, and spices. Finish with a big drizzle of punchy Lemon Caper Butter to bring it all together. Enjoy it as a vegetarian main course or pair it with your favourite grilled protein.

Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce and Lemon Caper Butter

Ingredients You Need for the Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce

  1. Cauliflower: I specifically look for smaller heads of cauliflower for this recipe because they will cook quicker and will fit better in the pan when it comes time to sear them. If using a larger head of cauliflower, you may need to sear the steaks in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.
  2. Salt: The first step of this recipe calls for blanching the cauliflower in a big pot of boiling water. It’s important that you heavily season the water, almost as you would when boiling pasta, so that the vegetable can take on some of the flavour.
  3. Red Peppers: You can use just about any variety of red pepper here. It can be a bell pepper or red shepherd pepper. I usually go with whatever looks fresher at the market or is at a better price. In Spain, it’s common to use rehydrated Ñora peppers to make Romesco, but those can be hard to find locally in North America.
  4. Onion: Purists might take issue with it, but I love to roast some red onion along with the peppers. I think it adds a different depth of sweetness and flavour that works very well in the sauce.
  5. Garlic: As always, measure this ingredient with your heart and don’t let anyone tell you there’s such a thing as too much! Especially since the garlic will take on some sweetness as it roasts and be much less punchy.
  6. Sherry Vinegar: Spiking the Romesco with some good-quality sherry vinegar adds some much needed acidity and complexity to the sauce. You can substitute a more basic red wine vinegar but I find that this is the perfect time to break out the fancy stuff that often gets neglected.
  7. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: You’ll need EVOO to sear the cauliflower steaks, roast the vegetables with and add to the Romesco while it blends. The latter step is intended to create a thick and creamy emulsion, which is incredibly delicious, but goes against the more traditional, hand-made Romescos that are chunkier.
  8. Spices: I like to flavour my romesco with a combination of dry oregano and smoked paprika, and a bit of cayenne pepper. The oregano adds a depth of flavour, the smoke paprika gives the romesco an incredible smokey flavour and the spice from the cayenne balances the sweetness from the peppers.
  9. Almonds: Almonds are one of the things that separates Romesco from many of the other roasted red pepper spreads, such as Ajvar, Zacusca or Muhammara. Not only does it add a delicious, nutty flavour, but it also helps thicken the Romesco. For the best flavour, use raw, unsalted almonds and toast them yourself in a pan over medium-low heat or in a 350F oven until they’re warmed through and fragrant. If you have an almond allergy you can omit them or substitute something else, such as hazelnuts, cashews or walnuts.
Vegetables and spices for Romesco Sauce
Roasted vegetables and almonds for Romesco Sauce

Ingredients You Need for the Lemon Caper Butter

  • Butter: Use an unsalted, high-quality, grass-fed butter if possible.
  • Capers: I use capers packed in brine and don’t bother rinsing them. In fact, I like to add a tiny splash of the brine to the sauce for a bit more twang.
  • Parsley: You can use flat leaf or curly parsley here. I find that curly parsley presents a bit nicer because it’s easier to get it finely chopped and more evenly distributed through the butter sauce.
  • Lemon Juice: For the best flavour, skip the bottled stuff and use freshly-squeezed.
Lemon Caper Butter in a pan

What is Romesco Sauce?

Romesco sauce is a vibrant and thick red condiment originating from the coastal city of Tarragona in Catalonia, Spain. Just about everyone and their mother puts a different spin on this widely popular and beloved sauce, but the usual suspects include roasted red peppers, garlic, almonds, olive oil, vinegar and spices. Once the main vegetables are roasted, they’re either bashed into a paste with a mortar and pestle with the other ingredients, or they’re blended together in a blender.

Sometimes roasted tomatoes are added to the Romesco sauce, sometimes they aren’t. It’s also common to use hazelnuts instead of almonds. And there are versions that call for adding some stale bread to the sauce to make it thicker. It can be made spicy with the addition of chile peppers or cayenne, or smokey with a pinch of smoked paprika. The point is, make it your own and use what you have on hand.

As far as uses go, Romesco sauce is commonly served as a condiment for grilled vegetables, seafood, meats, or as a dip for bread. It’s a versatile sauce that can also be used to add depth and complexity to other dishes, like soups or stews. Honestly, you can eat this stuff by the spoonful. It’s that good!

Romesco Sauce
pan-roasted cauliflower wedges on a bed of romesco sauce

What I Love About This Recipe

If you’re a fan of the Whole-Roasted Cauliflower recipe in my cookbook, or have ever eaten the cauliflower at Miznon, then you will absolutely love these Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce.

First and foremost it ticks all the boxes: it’s easy, delicious, uses readily available ingredients, and some of the components can be made in advance to make your life a bit easier. Plus the Romesco sauce can be used for other things so it’s not like you have to eat it all at once.

But the real beauty of this recipe is in the technique of cutting the cauliflower into florets after blanching so that you can sear inside in a pan, rather than having to roast it whole in the oven, which can sometimes take over 1 hour. Not only does this maximize the surface area of the cauliflower, allowing it to develop more flavour and brown in more parts, but it also cuts down the cooking time by around 45 minutes while still achieving that incredible mix of tenderness with just the right amount of char.

I also really love the way this dish presents. It’s rustic, but also very beautiful and impressive.

Do You Really Need to Blanche the Cauliflower First?

Yes! Absolutely, without a doubt do not skip this step. It only takes 7 minutes and will completely transform the taste and texture of your cauliflower.

Blanching the cauliflower not only helps to soften it and give a buttery texture, but it also will infuse the vegetable with some much needed saltiness, almost like a brine. If you just sear the cauliflower wedges in a pan with oil, the browned bits will get crispy, but the rest of the vegetable will be raw. And it will also be flavourless because it will not have had a chance to soak up any of that salty water.

Can You Make The Cauliflower Steaks Ahead of Time

I think these cauliflower steaks with romesco sauce taste best when served immediately after pan-roasting while they’re still hot and crispy. However, you can definitely blanche the cauliflower ahead of time and refrigerate it up to 1 day before slicing it into wedges and pan-roasting it. Just note that if you do the latter, you may need to transfer the pan to a 400F oven for a few minutes after both sides of the cauliflower steaks have browned. This will ensure that the entire wedge of cauliflower is heated through.

Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce and Lemon Caper Butter

Storing Leftovers?

The Romesco sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in a sealed jar for up to 5 days in the fridge. It can also be frozen in freezer-safe containers for up to 6 months. Just be sure to leave some room at the top of the container to allow for expansion.

Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce and Lemon Caper Butter
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5 from 1 vote

Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce and Lemon Caper Butter

These Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce and Lemon Caper Butter transform a humble vegetable into a symphony of flavours, colours and textures in every bite.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


For the Romesco Sauce:

  • 2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped and seeds removed
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, substitute red wine vinegar

For the Pan-Roasted Cauliflower:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 head cauliflower, bottom core trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons capers packed in brine
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


For the Romesco Sauce:

  • Preheat your Traeger Grill or oven to 425F.
  • In a roasting pan, combine the red pepper, onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, oregano, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Toss everything to coat and transfer to your Traeger grill or oven. Roast the vegetables until they’re tender and just starting to char a bit, around 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the almonds to a dry skillet and place over medium-low heat. Toast the almonds, stirring occasionally, until they’re warmed through and fragrant, around 8 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a bowl and set aside.
  • Transfer the roasted vegetables to a high-speed blender. Add the almonds and vinegar and blend until just combined. With the blender running on a medium-high speed, slowly pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until fully emulsified and the sauce can coat the back of a spoon. If the sauce is too thick, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water and blend to combine. If the sauce is too thin, add more almonds. Taste the Romesco sauce for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper or vinegar as desired.
  • Transfer the Romesco to a sealable jar and set aside in a warm spot on your counter if using the same day. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

For the Pan-Roasted Cauliflower:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season the water with 1 tablespoon of salt and add the cauliflower, stem side-up. Cook the cauliflower until the florets are slightly tender, around 7 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower, stem side-down, to a wire rack set over a tray and let it dry at least 15 minutes before slicing it into four equal-sized wedges.
  • Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Carefully add the cauliflower wedges, cut side-down, and cook, undisturbed, until deeply browned, around 6 minutes. Flip each cauliflower wedge and cook the other cut-side until deeply browned, around 6 more minutes. If the pan dries out, add more olive oil as needed. Transfer the browned cauliflower to a plate, cover with foil to keep warm and set aside.
  • Return the pan to a medium heat. Add the butter and heat until melted. Add the capers, parsley and lemon juice and cook, stirring, until the capers have warmed through, around 2 minutes.
  • Spread 1 cup of the Romesco sauce onto a serving platter. Arrange the cauliflower wedges, browned sides-up, and spoon the Lemon Caper Butter overtop. Serve immediately.



Calories: 318kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 2052mg, Potassium: 694mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 2474IU, Vitamin C: 154mg, Calcium: 69mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About the Author

Hi, i’m Ronny! In 2013, after a lifetime of struggling with my weight and body issues, I rehabilitated my relationship with food, lost over 40 pounds and completely changed my life.

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