Sausage-Spiced Cauliflower Steaks


A quick spice blend of roasted fennel seeds, black pepper, and orange zest lend a sausage-like flavor to these roasted cauliflower steaks—without the meat. Browning the cauliflower before adding the toppings and melting the cheese ensures a tender, sweet, and nutty bite. Be sure to flip the cauliflower during roasting to ensure there are plenty of caramelized florets under the marinara and melty cheese. Use leftover cauliflower florets for soups and stews or in a fresh winter salad.

Sausage-Spiked Cauliflower Steaks Recipe
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
50 mins


  • 3 medium cauliflower heads (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds each)

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 cup best-quality marinara sauce

  • 8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups), or 8 (2/3-ounce) provolone cheese slices

  • 1/4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 tablespoons)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in upper third of oven. Cut each cauliflower head vertically through core into 2 to 3 (3/4-inch-thick) steaks to form 8 steaks. (Reserve remaining cauliflower for another use.) Arrange steaks in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Brush oil evenly on both sides of steaks.

  2. Cook fennel seeds in a small saucepan over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar, and crush using a pestle (or coarsely grind in a spice grinder). Stir in salt, pepper, orange zest, and garlic powder. Sprinkle mixture evenly over both sides of cauliflower steaks.

  3. Roast cauliflower steaks in preheated oven until golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through roasting time. Remove from oven; increase oven temperature to broil.

  4. Spread cauliflower steaks evenly with marinara; top with cheeses. Broil until cheeses melt and start to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Make Ahead

The cauliflower may be cut 1 day ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored in refrigerator. Sausage spice can be made several days ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

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