Oh My Cauliflower!

Cauliflower, an underappreciated member of the cabbage family, deserves more respect than a quick steam and a cloak of gooey cheese (or cheese-like product). Cauliflower is rich in a variety of nutrients including vitamin C, folate and fiber while being low in naturally occurring sugar. The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in cauliflower help your body detoxify, decrease inflammation and provide support to the immune system.

But, you ask, how much cauliflower should I suffer through? Try for 3-4 servings per week of any cabbage family member like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, bok choy and the list goes on.

Increase the appeal of cauliflower by trying one of these fun recipes my family loves! Remember, vegetables have their own unique qualities, but they are also great vehicles for flavor.

 

Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower

Move over chicken wings, spicy cauliflower is in town! This recipe was adapted from Closet Cooking, Cooking in a Closet Sized Kitchen.

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets, about 4 cups

1 tablespoon coconut, olive or avocado oil

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon butter, melted

¼ cup hot sauce

Homemade ranch dressing for dipping

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Toss the florets in oil and salt.
  3. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. Mix the melted butter and hot sauce in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower and toss to combine. Serve warm with a creamy dipping sauce.

 

Cauliflower Gratin

A comfort dish very similar to mac and cheese, just replace the pasta with cauliflower. A perfect side dish during the cooler months ahead. To see the original recipe, visit Serious Eats.

1 large head of cauliflower (3lbs), cut into florets

4 tablespoons butter, divided

3 tablespoons all-purpose flower

2 cups hot milk

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¾ cup grated gruyere, divided

½ cup grated parmesan

¼ cup bread crumbs

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salty water to boil. Boil the cauliflower florets until beginning to soften, but far from tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a sauce pan, then stir in the flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often and removing any lumps. Add the warm milk (little by little at first), whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture thickens, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, 1/2 cup of each cheese, and nutmeg. Stir well to incorporate.
  4. Pour 1/3 of the sauce into an 8 x 11 inch baking dish, then add the cauliflower pieces. Cover with the remaining sauce, then top with a mixture of the bread crumbs and remaining Gruyère. Melt the remaining two tablespoons butter and drizzle over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is browned. Hit it with a broiler to really crisp it up.

 

Garlic Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”

A delicious way to introduce your family to cauliflower! Visit Nom Nom Paleo for a wonderful selection of veggie-filled recipes.

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets and stem pieces

5 large cloves garlic

Salt

2 tablespoons grass-fed butter

¼ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)

Black pepper to taste

  1. Fill a large (6-quart) stock pot with an inch or two of water. Place over high heat, drop in a steamer insert and cover with a lid.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add cauliflower and garlic, salt liberally, replace the lid and steam for 10 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Place in a food processor with pepper, nutmeg and butter. Process until smooth. Give it a taste, add salt and pepper as needed. These “faux” mashed potatoes reheat beautifully.

 

Black Pepper Cauliflower Salad

This salad is loaded with flavor and texture making for a delicious side dish, but make extra to include in lunches the next day. This recipe came from 101 Cookbooks, a wonderful vegetarian website put together by Heidi Swanson.

2 pound head of cauliflower, cut into tiny florets

¾ cup diced red onion

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

3 apples, diced

1/3 cup black olives, chopped

 

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt well and cook the cauliflower for a minute, until just tender. Drain, run under cold water to stop cooking, drain well, and set aside.
    1. Combine the red onion, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the onions have turned pink and infused the oil and vinegar mixture, remove from heat and set aside.
    2. When ready to serve, place cauliflower florets into a large bowl. Add the pistachios, feta, apples, olives, and 2/3 of the red onion vinaigrette. Toss everything together gently and give it a taste–depending on the saltiness of your feta, you might wish to add a little more salt. You might want to add the remaining vinaigrette as well.

 

I hope you enjoy these tasty cauliflower creations! Let us know your favorite cauliflower recipe.

Sherrill Collins, MS, RD, LD

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