Cauliflower Steaks with Salsa Verde and M&M Conditioning

M&Ms are the reason I learned to defecate properly. This isn’t an IBS biofeedback story, I’m referring to potty-training. My mother used M&Ms as incentive, and the operant conditioning worked. In fact, I even got M&Ms for leading my brother to the trough, so to speak. M&Ms by pooping proxy.

Fast-forward from two to twenty-nine, I’m still baiting my behavior with these timeless treats. This time the toilet is the USMLE boards exam. Nibbling as I squat over my books and study along to Step 2 on Friday.

m and ms bulldog m and ms usmle

Then, for the sake of balance, after eating M&Ms hand over fist day after day (until Friday…fingers crossed), everything else that goes in must be a vegetable. Thank God vegetables come in steaks.

cauliflower steak with salsa green

Cauliflower Steaks with Salsa Verde

Adapted from Food and Wine

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon

1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained and coarsely chopped

6 cornichons, chopped

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon grainy mustard

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large head of cauliflower

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

4 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

In a large bowl, whisk the parsley with the cilantro, tarragon, capers, cornichons, garlic, mustards and olive oil.

cauliflower salsa verde

Cut the cauliflower from top to bottom into four 1/2-inch-thick steaks. Generously season them with salt and pepper.

cauliflower steak in pan


In a very large skillet, heat the canola oil until very hot. Add the cauliflower in a single layer and cook over high heat until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn the steaks, add the wine and cook until it is evaporated and the cauliflower is easily pierced with a knife, 3 to 5 minutes.

cauliflower steak cooked

Transfer the cauliflower to a platter and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Stir the lemon juice and vinegar into the salsa verde and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce on the cauliflower and serve.

You know boards studying delirium is setting in when you eat a slab of cauliflower and pretend it’s a New York strip. My heart will thank me later.

3 thoughts on “Cauliflower Steaks with Salsa Verde and M&M Conditioning

    1. Lindsay, thanks so much for visiting the site! I’ve found all kinds of cauliflower recipes this last year that are great– enter “cauliflower minibites” in my search bar or “cauliflower fritters” for a few more of my faves.

  1. Oh my do these look good to a vegetarian, another keeper for my recipe file! 🙂 Our use of M&Ms as rewards for studying is yet another trait we share! I’ve been doing that since SPU days 🙂

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