Since it is Valentine's month, I thought I’d share my love for my favorite vegetable. It’s true, cauliflower does have a great PR team, right up there with kale. But I have been a believer and a fan for a long time and was eating it before it was fashionable, way back in the 90s.
It’s amazing to see how much cauliflower has grown and transformed. It is truly a chameleon re-inventing itself in every way. While it’s not a substitute for everything, it definitely is a great side dish, makes a nice alternative to rice, a good gluten or grain-free pizza (if that’s what you need), and a great addition to a smoothie. Whole roasted cauliflower, air fried cauliflower, smoothie with cauliflower, cauliflower rice, you name it, I’ve tried it.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to make it and eat it.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
My grandmother used to make a version of roasted cauliflower that I enjoyed growing up, and when it started popping up in trendy restaurants everywhere, I decided to bring it back. Needless to say, it’s a staple on our weekly dinner menu.
My family of five often needs two of these.
- 1 whole head of cauliflower, leaves trimmed, and bottom cut off, so it stands upright
- 2 Tbsp. good quality olive oil
- 1 Tsp. sea salt (I am generous on this, as I love salt…)
- 1 Tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 Tsp. paprika (this gives it the color)
- 1/2 Tsp. turmeric
- A few grinds of fresh ground black pepper
Mix the spices all together with the oil.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Steam the cauliflower for approximately 15 minutes, until fork tender. (Alternatively, you can microwave it to get to this point)
Rub the oil & spice mixture all over to coat the cauliflower. You can use a brush, but I usually sprinkle spices and rub them all over with oil, or use a brush if you prefer. I usually put gloves on and really rub the cauliflower down with the mixture; I find it yields the most flavorful results this way.
Roast at 375 F for 1 hour (or 350 F on convection, it may take longer for a really large head, or less time for a smaller one). Yes, it’s a long time but you end up with a cauliflower that has a crispy outside and a soft inside. If you prefer your cauliflower more al dente, you can take it out sooner.
Squeeze lemon on top when finished, or drizzle with tahini.
I have tried so many cauliflower rice recipes but the best one I have ever found comes from The Balaboosta Chef. She has lots of drool-worthy recipes that always turn out well.
- 1lb cauliflower rice (I like to use a frozen bag; I find it comes out better than when I use fresh; Trader Joes makes a good one)
- 1/2 Cup hemp seeds (I have also used sesame seeds and it's delicious)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3/4 Tsp. kosher salt
- 5 garlic cloves minced
Preheat oven to 425 F. Mix all ingredients together on a large sheet tray (I like to line it with parchment paper).
Roast for 15 minutes, toss and then roast for another 5 minutes till golden.
While it’s amazing fresh, if there’s any leftover I’ll toss it into a salad or make a veggie bowl with it. I also like to re-heat it in a pan and add an egg and scramble. You can combine whatever veggies on hand plus some Tamari for a delicious cauliflower fried rice.
Yes, this smoothie has cauliflower!
I like to put frozen cauliflower in my smoothies. Cauliflower gives the smoothie a boost of extra nutrients while also adding texture and a creamy consistency with no cruciferous taste - it may sound weird but give it a try! My kids sometimes ask me if I tried to sneak cauliflower into their smoothie, but the truth is, they really can’t tell.
You can use whatever smoothie recipe you like to add your cauliflower, but here’s one of my favorites.
- 1 Cup milk of choice (I like to use a nut or seed milk, like Elmhurst Dairy or MALK)
- 1/2 Cup frozen berries (blueberries are the sweetest but I often use a mix of what I have)
- 1 Tbsp. cacao powder (if you’re not a chocolate lover, skip it and add a Tsp. of vanilla)
- 1 Tbsp. nut butter or tahini
- 1/2 - 3/4 Cup frozen riced cauliflower
- 1 handful of frozen baby spinach (I like to put a box of fresh baby spinach in the freezer, so the leaves stay separate)
- 1 drop of stevia
- OPTIONAL: 1 scoop of protein or collagen of choice
First pour liquid first into the blender (I use a Vitamix) followed by all other ingredients.
Blend till smooth.
Air Fried Cauliflower
Since I love to air fry everything, you can take the same seasoning from the whole roasted cauliflower (above) and instead of roasting it whole, cut it into florets. Mix with the spices and oil and cook in the air fryer. Set it on 380 F for 14-15 minutes - shake in the middle. Enjoy!
If you’re having a themed dinner, you can spice it with taco seasoning for Taco Tuesday cauliflower or Shawarma spice for an Israeli style dinner, using the same air fryer method for a tasty side for your dinner.
Cauliflower Products: Pizza Crust, Gnocchi, Chips & more
I have tried several cauliflower pizza recipes from scratch, but to be honest, the Dare to Be Different pre-made cauliflower crusts are my favorite and much easier to make and clean up!
The mini size is cute and fun too. I’ll use them for avocado and/or other toasts to mix it up. I love Original Crisps.
Dare to be Different also makes a great cauliflower gnocchi .
If you’re gluten or grain free or just want to eat cauliflower a different way, they’re actually delicious. Just don’t follow the directions to boil, pan fry only and add sauce. Alternatively, they turn into little crispy cauliflower croutons.
Bonus these are all Kosher for Passover, so there’s no missing out when the holiday rolls around.
Cauli-Crust makes a good one too.
Cauliflower Chips are also tasty. My personal favorite is the lime flavor. If you have ever had or plan to try, let me know your favorite too. They also make cauliflower pretzels, but in my opinion, the chips are the way to go.
There are even marinated cauliflower packets to-go! These are great to throw in a salad (I’ve actually travelled with them; they have come in handy at airports) or to just eat on their own.
What’s your favorite way to make and eat this veggie?
Also, if you're a fan of healthy eating, be sure to check out my recipe for Veggie Board.