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Updated: Oct 11, 2020

I've had an ongoing obsession with anything cauliflower for a while now. But, lately, it's gotten out of control. Lucky for me this HARISSA-SPICED CAULIFLOWER STEAK OVER CAULIFLOWER MASH AND WARM CHICKPEA & KALE SALAD will probably satisfy my cauliflower cravings for a couple of days. Nah, who am I kidding? I'll go for more tomorrow!

I had never tried harissa seasoning before. Yet, I had always seen these harissa-spiced cauliflower recipes in a lot of places. Harissa is typically found in either paste or powder form. It is a spicy, earthy seasoning blend with a base of smoked chili peppers, typical in North African cuisine. Turns out there are quite a few versions and recipes, and it can vary from region to region.

I know it's not something you can easily find in Puerto Rico, where I live. So, on a recent trip to New York, I visited a spice market and got some harissa powder so I could experiment with it. But don't worry, you can still make this recipe even if you don't have harissa by simply substituting some ingredients.

Hope you enjoy it!




For the cauliflower steak and mash:

  • 1 head of cauliflower (approx. 1.5 lb)

  • 3/4 Cup water

  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil, divided

  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt, divided

  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

  • 3/4 tsp paprika

  • 3/4 tsp cumin

  • 3/4 tsp coriander

  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1/8 teaspoon harissa powder (or substitute with cayenne pepper)

For the warm salad:

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz), rinsed & drained

  • 1 cup kale, chopped

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

  • 2 Tbsp golden raisins

  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

  • Salt & pepper, to taste

  • Tahini, for drizzling


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Trim away all the leaves from the cauliflower. Sit the cauliflower on it’s stem, and use a knife to slice it in half. Cut one thick slice from either side - so that you have two “steaks”, each about 1 1/4” thick. Set aside.

  2. Gather the remaining cauliflower pieces and chop finely. Heat a large skillet, filled with 3/4 cup water, over high heat. Once boiling, add the chopped cauliflower and cover to steam. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid, add garlic, and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until water is evaporated and cauliflower pieces are tender.

  3. Transfer steamed cauliflower to food processor. Add lemon juice, then process until cauliflower starts to break down. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add ¼ teaspoon salt. Process until the mixture looks like mashed potatoes. If needed, add water in small increments to thin out mixture, to desired consistency.

  4. Re-heat the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil, and once hot, add cauliflower steaks. Let them sear, undisturbed, for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove once they’ve developed a golden crust on either side.

  5. While the cauliflower is cooking, assemble the harissa glaze. In a small bowl combine maple syrup, paprika, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and harissa powder or cayenne. Mix well. If the mixture is too thick, thin out with a bit of water. You want it to be a paste-like consistency.

  6. Once the cauliflower is seared, transfer steaks to the lined baking sheet. Brush harissa glaze on both sides, making sure to cover each side well. Transfer to oven for 5-7 minutes or until tender.

  7. While the cauliflower steaks are in the oven, prepare the warm chickpea salad. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chickpeas and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then add kale and lemon juice, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until kale begins to wilt. Add raisins and cook for 1 minute, or until slightly warmed. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  8. Assemble your dish by spreading the cauliflower mash on the bottom of the plate. Add chickpea salad, seared cauliflower steak, and drizzle with tahini if desired.

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