Besides flavor, cauliflower is magical because it can be used in many forms and textures. We all know that it breaks down into florets much like broccoli, but unlike broccoli, cauliflower can be cooked whole, sliced into slabs or grated into a grain-like texture. So, if you pass by the cauliflower in the supermarket thinking it’s bland and boring, think again.
Take a look at these ideas of dishes you can make with cauliflower and see how exciting it can be.
If you want a dish with “wow factor,” this is it. You don’t need to break the head of cauliflower down at all. All you have to do is marinate it, roast it and serve it. It makes a very dramatic dish when you set down a platter with a whole roasted cauliflower and then slice it at the table. For the marinade, you can choose any spice blend you like.
Sweet and sour chicken is a dish known as a favorite to many. But what do you do if you want to make it cruelty-free and all vegetables?
First, make a batch of Sweet and Sour Sauce and set it aside. Then, heat a tablespoon of peanut oil in a deep saute pan. Saute 2 cloves of minced garlic and 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger over medium high heat for 2 minutes or until softened and fragrant. Add 1 head of cauliflower that has been stemmed, cored and broken into florets to the pan, toss to coat in the garlic and ginger, and cook until it is to your desired texture. I like mine softened but still crunchy which takes about 20-30 minutes. Add 2 chopped bell peppers and 1 cup of pineapple chunks. Cook, stirring often, until the pineapple is a bit crisp and the peppers are tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the sweet and sour sauce and toss to coat the vegetables. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens, about 1 or 2 minutes.
Stir in the sweet and sour sauce mixture into the skillet and toss to coat all the strips and the vegetables. Bring it to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens, about 1 or 2 minutes. Garnish with toasted cashews, if desired. Serve with brown rice. For another Asian cauliflower dish, try this Cauliflower Manchurian.
4. Make Indian Food
One of my favorite Indian dishes combines two vegetables I love: potatoes and cauliflower. This Northern Indian dish called Aloo Gobi is cooked in fragrant, aromatic spices to make an amazing and delicious meal.
We all love our carbs – hearty and filling rice and potatoes – but sometimes it’s nice to lighten things up. Or maybe you are looking for a new and different way to eat more vegetables. Cauliflower can be used to substitute for or supplement rice and potatoes to make healthier dishes where you get all the taste but not all the calories or carbs.
Making cauliflower rice is as easy as this: take a head of cauliflower that has been stemmed, cored and broken into florets and place those florets in a food processor in batches. Pulse until the cauliflower is broken down into rice-like pieces. That’s it. Done. You can freeze your “rice” in storage bags for future use. Use as you would any rice to make your favorite dishes, even risotto.
When you put cauliflower in a food processor with cashews or milk, some nutritional yeast and seasoning, you get a rich and creamy sauce with cheesy flavor. It’s a yummy and healthy way to cover your pasta or upgrade your mac and cheese.
Cauliflower is a perfect vegetable for bulking up your dishes. Try it in this Roasted Buddha Bowl that is filled with lots of amazing veggies and grains with a creamy lemon white bean sauce. This Cauliflower Wild Rice Pilaf has lentils, wild rice, garlic, cumin and cayenne as well as cauliflower roasted in fragrant spices for a delicious one-pot meal.
8. Cauliflower Steaks
So far we have cooked cauliflower whole, broken it up into florets, pulsed it into rice and pureed it into sauce. What’s left? We can cut it into steaks. Remove the leaves and trim the stem but leave the core intact. Place the cauliflower down on a cutting board, core side down, and with a large knife, slice the head into four ½-inch thick “steaks.” Work from the center of the head to the outside. Some florets will break off. That’s fine, we can eat those too. Roast the steaks in the oven with some oil and your favorite herbs and spices for about 30 minutes or until they are browned and tender. Then you can eat them as is or saute them in a pan with sauce. One incredible way to enjoy cauliflower steaks is by making Cauliflower Piccata. The cauliflower steak gets cooked with mushrooms in a white wine sauce with lemon and capers. Yum!
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