One-Pan Braised Cauliflower and White Bean Piccata

published Mar 20, 2023
Braised Cauliflower and White Bean Piccata Recipe

A bright vegetable-forward piccata that’s punchy with flavor and inexpensive to pull together.


Prep10 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 25 minutes

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Braised cauliflower and white bean piccata in skillet with wooden spoon inside.
Credit: Kelli Foster

When I’m working with a tight budget and really trying to rein in my grocery shopping, I’m determined to pull off impressive meals that are packed with flavor, totally satisfying, and easy enough for weeknight cooking. A tall order, maybe, but not far from impossible. Here’s how I do it: I start with a dish that’s packed with bold, punchy flavor for inspiration — here, it’s piccata — then I shop my pantry.

While the ingredient list for this plant-based piccata is short, I assure you the flavor is anything but basic. Just like you’d expect from a traditional piccata, fresh lemon juice and briny capers provide that signature punchy flavor. For this recipe, I’ve subbed cauliflower for chicken and I thicken the thin, glossy sauce slightly with white beans, which add a hint of creamy richness. 

What I love most about this bright vegetable-forward piccata is that not only is it inexpensive to pull together, but I also usually tend to have most (if not all) of the ingredients on hand. It’s the cheap dinner I rely on when I really want to keep to my budget and want a super-flavorful dinner that feels a little extra (and isn’t pasta or tacos).

Credit: Kelli Foster

An Impressive Budget Dinner That Starts in the Pantry

One of my absolute favorite dinnertime strategies is keeping a well-stocked pantry. Having items like canned beans, lentils, grains, tomato paste, broth, pasta, tinned fish, and condiments on hand means I can pull together a variety of meals at a moment’s notice — like tomato soup, black bean tacos, and tuna patties

I love my pantry strategy for two reasons. First, most pantry items are cheap (this really helps keep my grocery bill in check). You may already have most, if not all of the items on hand to make this one-pan piccata. But if not, I crunched the numbers and the total cost of this recipe is approximately $14 — just $3.50 per serving. The second reason is some of the best flavor boosters can be found in a pantry. For instance, condiments and pickled, briny things like capers instantly perk up any food.  

I love serving this braised cauliflower and white bean piccata with crusty bread to mop up every last drop of sauce. If you’re looking for other options to serve it with, I recommend using something you already have on hand — perhaps orzo or another pasta, a grain like rice, quinoa, or farro, or spooning it over a pile of greens (spinach, kale, arugula, and mixed greens are all great here).

Braised Cauliflower and White Bean Piccata Recipe

A bright vegetable-forward piccata that’s punchy with flavor and inexpensive to pull together.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 medium head

    cauliflower (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)

  • 1

    medium shallot

  • 2 cloves


  • 2 (about 15-ounce) cans

    cannellini beans

  • 1

    large lemon

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 1/2 medium bunch

    fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cup

    olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 2 cups

    low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)


  1. Trim, core, and cut 1 medium head cauliflower into 1-inch florets (about 6 cups). Finely chop 1 medium shallot (about 1/4 cup). Mince 2 garlic cloves. Drain and rinse 2 (about 15-ounce) cans cannellini beans. Finely grate zest from 1 large lemon (about 1 tablespoon), then juice the lemon (3 to 4 tablespoons). Drain 3 tablespoons capers. Pick the leaves from 1/2 medium bunch fresh parsley until you have 1/4 cup and finely chop.

  2. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a Dutch oven or 12-inch or larger large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the cauliflower, season with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and stir to coat with the oil. Spread into an even layer and cook undisturbed until the bottom is browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned all over, about 3 minutes more.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute.

  4. Add the beans, 2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the cauliflower is just tender, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes.

  5. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the lemon zest, juice, capers, and all but 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Stir to combine. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve with crusty bread if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.