Cauliflower is a polarizing vegetable. But I find that those who stand vehemently anti-cauliflower simply haven’t been exposed to everything it has to offer. It’s easy to write something off as boring or unappetizing when you’ve only tried the bland, boiled version, but treated correctly, cauliflower serves as a fantastic side or main that is not only delicious, but also satisfies. The following is a starter guide to utilizing cauliflower, which will convert any cauliflower objector into a devotee. The humble cauliflower is asserting itself at last.
Let’s start with the basics. Like most vegetables, cauliflower shines when simply roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. Tender on the inside, with the crisp, golden touches of the oven covering the florets, cauliflower is transformed when the heat concentrates its natural sweetness. You’ll be shoveling these babies in like a kid opening a bag of candy on Halloween. Trust me. Learn how to roast cauliflower perfectly here.
There’s nothing like sinking your teeth into something fried, straight out of the oil, still piping hot and maybe even dripping a little. But fried foods don’t have to be restricted to the old standbys like fried chicken or state fair fried Oreos. Move out of the South and into the Middle East with these spice-laden, pan-fried cauliflower fritters. Served with a cool lime and Greek yogurt dipping sauce, you might not even get these bad boys to the platter as you eat them straight out of the pan.
Parmesan Cauliflower Bites
Do you love food that’s cheesy? Crispy? How about bite-sized and easy to pop into your mouth? If you answered yes to any of the above, keep reading. If you answered no, keep reading because you’re lying. In these Parmesan cauliflower bites, cauliflower florets are dredged in Panko Japanese bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Creole seasoning and flash fried to crispy, cheesy perfection. Take a bite and then tell me you don’t like cauliflower. I dare you.
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower Mac ‘n Cheese
It’s one of life’s cruel realities that all our favorite foods aren’t doing our bodies any favors. Sigh. But cauliflower is here to help alleviate that pain. Because cauliflower admittedly doesn’t have much taste when it’s raw or simply boiled, it’s a great way to bulk up and slim down comfort foods without affecting the taste. Cauliflower is a perfect secret skinny ingredient to add into dishes like mashed potatoes and even the mother of all comfort foods: mac ‘n cheese. You can even substitute the entirety of the recipe’s starchy potatoes for cauliflower and never know the difference. Who says those potatoes have to wait until Thanksgiving?
Cauliflower Fried Rice
Low carb? Try no carb. You certainly can add cauliflower to traditional fried rice for the same bulk effect described above, but the real move is to blitz the raw cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice. Now set with your 100% vegetable rice substitute, you can proceed as you would with any traditional fried rice recipe and still be bathing suit ready. Chinese takeout may have met its match. Get the paleo recipe here.
Next up on the ever-growing list of reasons that cauliflower is awesome is that it can be a meal unto itself. Thickly slicked, large heads of cauliflower can yield up to four cauliflower steaks, which can be oven-roasted or pan-fried. These meaty servings of cauliflower serve as the perfect vehicle for any number of toppings and sauces, ranging from classic tomato sauce, to pork ragu and this lovely lemon relish. Easy and beautifully presented, these vegetarian steaks are guaranteed to surprise and impress.
Cauliflower purees beautifully, which means one game-changing thing: creamy soups without the cream. Maintaining all the silky richness we’ve come to expect from creamy soups, cauliflower versions cut the fat and the calories by rendering the cream addition unnecessary. Moreover, pureed cauliflower acts as the perfect base to spice up any soup according to your preferences. Add in coconut milk and spices like turmeric, cumin and coriander for an Eastern-inspired version, or opt for potato and mustard for hearty, winter fare. The options are endless and the calories minimal. Get a curry cauliflower soup recipe here.
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