In the Kitchen

7 Cauliflower Dishes That Will Leave You Wanting Seconds

Often underrated, the cauliflower has so much transformative potential. If this versatile veg isn’t permanently at the top of your fall grocery list, you’re actually missing out. There’s practically no limit to what you can do with a head of cauliflower, and most grocery stores are selling it pre-riced these days, making things just that much easier.

Challenge yourself to think beyond the crudité platter or simple roast with your next head of cauli, with the help of a few of our favorite recipes.

Steaks

For vegetarians and meat eaters alike, cauliflower steaks are a great way to transform this unassuming vegetable into a hearty entrée. Thick slices of cauliflower can be roasted, sautéed, or grilled for crispy, caramelized edges and a tender center.

Ingredients
1 head cauliflower
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 leaves sage, whole
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

Instructions
Slice the cauliflower through the center, keeping as much intact as possible. Season the “steaks” with olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter. Place cauliflower carefully in the pan. Sear the cauliflower for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until edges are golden. Drop whole sage leaves into the hot oil and let sizzle and crisp up. Remove sage leaves when they begin to curl on their sides and stiffen. Baste the cauliflower steak with the pan oil until cooked through and golden. Serve with vegan gravy or substitute olive oil in place of butter, if desired.

Mashed

The next time you’re in the mood for mashed potatoes, try switching it up with a cauliflower. The process is basically the same, just swap the potatoes for boiled or steamed cauliflower. Same buttery goodness, same creamy texture, with a little twist.

Ingredients
2 (16-ounce) packages riced cauliflower or 1 large head cauliflower (about 3 pounds)
3 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated
2 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

Instructions
Finely chop the cauliflower. Melt the butter in a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and sauté, stirring regularly, until the cauliflower has lightened in color, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve the cooking liquid, then drain. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the cauliflower.

Place the drained cauliflower and reserved cooking liquid back in the pot. Blend using an immersion blender to desired consistency. Heat remaining butter in a skillet. Drop garlic slivers into the hot butter and fry until golden. Drizzle garlic and butter over cauliflower mash. Serve hot.

Slaw

Be the hero at your next potluck picnic. As an alternative to the ubiquitous cabbage-based coleslaw, try this cauliflower version—it’s a brighter, more flavor-bursting variation than your typical slaw. It’s great as a side, but after one bite you may decide to plan your whole meal around it.

Fried rice

Quinoa and rice step aside—there’s a new grain bowl contender for in the kitchen and it’s obviously cauliflower! Cauliflower rice can be subbed in wherever you’d use regular rice: underneath a delicious curry, in your favorite fried rice recipe, in a creamy risotto…the possibilities are endless.

Ingredients
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 large carrot, julienned
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup frozen edamame
2 beaten eggs
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
½ tablespoon rice vinegar
6 green onions, minced

Instructions
Shred cauliflower using the largest side of a grater OR by just pulsing some rough cut pieces in a food processor; the end product should resemble smallish grains of rice.

Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the carrots and garlic and stir fry until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower, edamame, and remaining sesame oil to the pan; stir fry quickly to cook the cauliflower to a soft texture. Add mirin and half of soy sauce to skillet. Allow to braise for a couple of minutes.

Make a well in the middle, turn the heat down, and add the eggs. Stir gently and continuously until the eggs are fully cooked. Stir in the remaining soy sauce and green onions just before serving.

Roasted

Sure, roasting cauliflower florets isn’t the most out-of-the-box way to prepare this tasty vegetable, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. And, there isn’t one right way—experimenting with different spice and oil combos, floret sizes, and sauces can take this dish from sweet to spicy, crispy to chewy, and everything in between.

Pizza Crust

It might sound weird, but using cauliflower to make pizza crust is actually delicious. It won’t have the same exact texture as your standard wheat crust, but it’s a great way to mix up your pizza night, while getting a few more vegetables in your belly while you’re at it. Pro tip: you can 100% buy these pre-made at the store.

Ingredients
1 small head of cauliflower
3/4 cup wheat or almond flour
3 eggs
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure cauliflower is super dry. Break the cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processor until “riced,” but not pureed.

Whisk the riced cauliflower together with the rest of the ingredients, except for the oil, to form a ball. Knead the dough gently 2-3 times, adding more flour if it becomes too sticky to handle.

Press the dough into a 1/4-inch thick circle on the lined baking sheet, dusting with a bit more flour if needed. down onto a pizza stone or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with olive oil, and bake for 15 minutes before removing to add desired toppings.

Nachos

Technically, you can pour cheese etc. over anything and call it “nachos,” but cauliflower makes an especially great base for this classic snack. Cauliflower and cheese were just made for each other, especially when the cauliflower is crispy from the oven and the cheese is melty from the stovetop or microwave. Throw some black beans, avocado, and sour cream and you’ve got something serious going on.

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