Once upon a time, The Pioneer Woman star Ree Drummond was a practicing vegetarian. After she married her husband Ladd, a cattle rancher over 20 years ago, she invited meat back into her diet. Lately, however, some of her Food Network recipes seem to be sliding back in a slightly plant-based direction.
The rancher’s wife enjoys Cauliflower Steak
Ree Drummond has by no means reverted to her days as a vegetarian (more on that shortly), but perhaps the steady diet over the years of beef in every shape and form has made her nostalgic for lighter cuisine.
On Instagram recently, Food Network posted Drummond’s recipe for Cauliflower Steak (ingredient quantities, Drummond’s video, and reviews can be found on the Food Network site), which calls for first a rub on the sliced cauliflower to make it more flavorful, followed by a yogurt sauce after it’s grilled.
How to make Drummond’s Grilled Cauliflower Steak
You’ll need for this vegetarian treat one large cauliflower head, and a list of spices that might sound a bit intimidating but which you probably have in your spice rack: cumin, paprika, coriander, dry mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, plus salt and pepper. “This is no different,” Drummond said in the Food Network video for the recipe, “than mini-rubs that I would use to season regular steaks or chicken on the grill.”
The head of cauliflower is cut into about four steaks by placing it stem-side down on a cutting board and cutting lengthwise. The steaks are rubbed with olive oil and then sprinkled with the spice rub “very generously.” Drummond drizzled her grill pan with oil, then placed the steaks “seasoned-side down on the grates.”
She placed a baking sheet over the steaks on the grill “to trap the heat and steam them a little bit so they’ll cook while they’re grilling.” Once the steaks are grilled on both sides, a yogurt sauce is served on each made with Greek yogurt, fresh oregano, fresh mint, honey, the juice of a lemon, and freshly grated garlic. “It’s a simple, kind of herby lemon sauce,” the television personality noted.
Drummond’s vegetarian days
On her Pioneer Woman blog, which kicked off the Food Network star’s show on the channel, as well as her Oklahoma empire of all things Pioneer Woman, the cook reminisced about her former days as a non-eater of meat.
“I used to be a vegetarian,” she wrote. “I did. It began my freshman year in college. I up and decided one day, deep in the middle of my “Women, Religion, and Sexuality” class, that I was a VEGETARIAN. And I’m still, to this day, not sure why. I never had any real aversion to meat itself, nor was I necessarily against the practice of raising animals for the purposes of meat production, nor did I question the nutritive or health value of meat, nor was I ethically or morally opposed to the idea of eating meat.”
The mother of five explained that at one point her avowed food preference came to a screeching halt in the drive-through of a Jack-in-the-Box fast-food restaurant. After that, she returned to her vegetarian lifestyle until that is, she met her rancher boyfriend, who she affectionately called “Marlboro Man.”
“It would be another three years before meat would touch my lips again,” she confessed. “I was out of college [and] had worked in Los Angeles for a time. Then unexpectedly, I met…Marlboro Man. And the rest is history. Big time.”
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