If there was a contest for the world’s loneliest vegetable, broccoli might win, but cauliflower would take second place. Eaten since the 6th century B.C., even Pliny wrote about this member of the cabbage family.
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Cauliflower comes in four colors: white, green, orange and purple. Orange cauliflower has more vitamin A than other varieties, and purple cauliflower has the same antioxidants found in red wine. With a little skill and attention, cauliflower can become your family’s favorite vegetable. Try some of these easy recipe ideas below.
1. Mashed Cauliflower
Cauliflower’s nearly neutral flavor makes it a good substitute for mashed potatoes.
- Cook a 16-ounce bag of cauliflower florets until they are soft, but not soggy.
- Mix a crushed garlic clove, 1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut milk, 1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil and salt and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl or a saucepan.
- Heat the mixture in the microwave or on the stovetop for one minute.
- While your mixture heats, puree the cauliflower in your blender or food processor.
- Add the heated mixture to the pureed cauliflower, adding 1 tablespoon of chives and process for 10 minutes.
- Serve with a few chives sprinkled on top.
2. Cauliflower Subterfuge
Hiding vegetables in favorite foods helps when children will not accept an unadulterated version. Cauliflower rice is a simple side dish. All you need is a hand-held grater or food processor and freezer bags!
- Remove the greens and core from a cauliflower head, cutting it into quarters and then breaking up the florets into relatively evenly sized pieces.
- Chop the florets, in batches, without completely pulverizing them.
- Fill each of your freezer bags with 2 cups of “rice” and store them in your freezer.
- Before you cook, take the bag from the freezer and let it sit on your counter to soften while you cook the rest of the meal.
To fry your rice, heat olive or coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan, then add the cauliflower rice and fry over medium-high heat, adding salt, pepper and other seasoning to taste.
You can also bake cauliflower rice. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and spread a single layer of cauliflower rice on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, turning or flipping the rice at least once.
3. Cheese-free Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Freshly grated cauliflower can serve as the base for a delicious crust that you can cook just like traditional pizza!
- Remove the greens from one head of cauliflower.
- Chop the cauliflower head into small pieces.
- Steam the pieces until they are soft.
- Once done, place them in a bowl and mash.
- Stir in a whisked egg, a tablespoon of garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
- Pour your mixture on a cookie sheet and sprinkle garlic powder and parsley on top.
- Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
The crust is large enough for a pizza that feeds three or four people.
4. Roasted Cauliflower – A Side Dish For Six People
Roasted cauliflower is both beautiful and delicious.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Liberally drizzle two small cauliflower heads with extra virgin olive oil.
- Sprinkle them with salt, then I/2 teaspoon of sumac and a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.
- Roast the cauliflower until slightly brown, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Drizzle more olive oil and a healthy squeeze of lemon, and then sprinkle them with a handful of parsley and a bit of sea salt.
5. Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a large, non-stick baking sheet with oil.
- In a bowl, stir a cup of all-purpose flour, a cup of water and 2 teaspoons of garlic powder until thoroughly blended.
- Dip 6 1/2 cups of floret pieces in the flour mixture, and then place each piece on your oiled baking sheet.
- While your battered cauliflower bakes for 20 minutes, mix 3/4 cup of hot sauce and 1 tablespoon of melted, unsalted butter in a bowl.
- After your cauliflower has baked for 15 minutes, remove it from the oven and pour your hot sauce mixture over the battered cauliflower, then bake the cauliflower for five more minutes.
With a little imagination, this often-neglected vegetable can delight your family members and guests. You can slowly train young palates to appreciate its mild flavor, and you can eat it raw when you crave something crunchy. Cauliflower can make a bold statement when offered as a surprising side dish, raw, baked or fried.
Photo Credit Flickr: Mashed Cauliflower, Cauliflower Subterfuge, Cauliflower Pizza Crust, Roasted Cauliflower.