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Vegetarian |270 calories per serving|43 minute recipe

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Sunflower Seed Pesto

This content was last updated on January 10, 2022

When it comes to good nutrition and disease prevention, this flavor-packed side dish—made with cauliflower and sunflower seeds—offers a one-two punch. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, which research shows may help to reduce cancer risk. It also contains fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K (good for bone health) and potassium. When roasted, cauliflower becomes tender and slightly sweet. Sunflower seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and add a bit of crunch to the pesto. They are rich in vitamin E, selenium and other antioxidants, and including them in a wholesome and healthy diet may also protect against cancer.

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Cauliflower Steaks
  • 1 Large 1 large cauliflower, cut into three to four, 1-inch-thick whole slices,* plus remaining florets
  • 3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, plus a few stems for garnish
Sunflower Seed Pesto
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup raw or dry roasted and unsalted shelled sunflower seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 clove garlic, peeled
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Makes 4 servings (247g). Per serving: 270 calories, 22 g total fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 14 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 170 mg sodium, 6 g sugar, 1 g added sugar.


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. (If using foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray.) Place cauliflower on prepared baking sheet, and brush “steaks” and florets with 2 teaspoons of oil. Sprinkle with pinch of salt and pepper. Roast until lightly caramelized and almost cooked through, about 18 minutes.
  3. Gently flip each “steak” and floret and brush with 1 more teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle with thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and roast until well caramelized and cooked through, about 10 more minutes.
  4. While cauliflower is roasting, prepare pesto. Place olive oil, basil, sunflower seeds, mustard, honey and garlic in bowl of a small food processor and pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and pulse a few more times until well combined and desired flavor is achieved.
  5. Arrange cauliflower on large plate or platter. Top with pesto, and garnish with sunflower seeds, thyme and basil.


* How to Make Cauliflower “Steaks:”

– Rinse cauliflower and remove outer leaves. Pat dry with paper towels.

– Leave stem intact, but trim bottom so cauliflower stays flat and stable when placed on cutting board.

– Place cauliflower on cutting board with stable stem side down and use sharp chef’s knife to slice cauliflower in half.

– Starting at cut side of each half, carefully cut two, 1-inch-thick slices. Trim away stem ends.

– Break remaining cauliflower pieces into florets. (You should end up with three to four big steaks, a few mini steaks and a bunch of florets.)

This recipe contains cancer fighting foods:

This recipe was specially crafted to support cancer prevention and survival. It adheres to AICR's Cancer Prevention Recommendations. Learn more about our recipe guidelines.

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