10 ways to enjoy delicious cauliflower
Growing up, when my brother and I heard that cauliflower was on the menu, we knew dinner would be delicious. It’s amazing the meals you can make using this vegetable. Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, grilled, fried, steamed, pickled or even eaten raw, and these are just a few ways you can work with it. Served with a cheese sauce, it is especially delicious.
When choosing cauliflower, mum would take her time and taught us to look for ones with tightly packed florets (a tight curd), minimal discolouration and healthy leaves. Cauliflower has come a long way since then, and is now available in many colours - white, green, vibrant purple and even orange! Have you tried the distinctive and decorative Romanesco cauliflower with its mesmerising spirals and surprisingly sweet, yet nutty flavour that is somewhere between a broccoli and cauliflower. Originating in Italy, what sets it apart from the others is it’s unmistakable crunchy texture making it the talking point at the dinner table. To learn more about this very pretty and intriguing variety, go to Romanesco cauliflower in Love My Salad’s Salapedia.
Cauliflower is so versatile and often underrated. It can provide depth, texture and interest to meals and can be used in ways you may not have thought of.
Here are 10 ways to make cauliflower taste great:
1. Perfect pizza – Did you know cauliflower can be used as a pizza base? Check out this delicious recipe for Cauliflower pizza with rocket pesto and mozzarella.
2. Reach for rice – I remember raising my eyebrows when I first heard about vegetable rice, but it’s tasty and healthy. Chop cauliflower into florets and blend to a rice-like consistency. In a saucepan, heat olive oil and add chopped onion, garlic and pepper. Add the cauliflower and ½ cup of parmesan cheese. Sauté for 5-7 minutes then serve.
3. Hurry to curry - Vegetables are like sponges and soak up the flavours around them. If you enjoy curry dishes, this spicy vegetable curry featuring cauliflower, is a simple path to a hearty meal.
4. Beautiful baking – I love comfort dishes and a cheesy broccoli, cauliflower and leek bake is one of my favourites. It’s fast and fabulous! In salted water, boil 250g cauliflower and broccoli florets and 2 sliced leeks. Drain and place into an oven proof dish. For the sauce, melt 50g butter and add 50g plain flour, 600ml milk, then stir over a low heat until combined. Season to taste. I like to use salt, pepper, paprika and Italian herbs. Add 2 tsp of Truffle or English mustard and a handful of your favourite cheese. Tasty cheddar works well. Pour over the vegetables and sprinkle cheese over the top. I also add garlic and herb breadcrumbs before grilling for 10 minutes. Yum! You might like to try this vegan friendly Sunday Roast with Romanesco, purple cauliflower pickles and fried onion gravy. I’m told it’s delicious.
5. Burger bites – Cauliflower burger patties are amazing and I often grill them on a BBQ. Slice vertically into 1.5 inch slices, brush with olive oil and lemon and place on a grill for approximately 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. My kids eat these as a snack with dip or in burgers with salad. As kids, sometimes we would have them dipped in egg, covered in breadcrumbs then lightly fried. Served with a tomato or hummus sauce, we had no complaints. A salad you may like to serve alongside this dish is this Romanesco and sweet potato salad with tahini.
6. Master macaroni - Mac and cheese is always a favourite in our house and this dish replaces the pasta with cauliflower for a healthy twist. For the sauce, add 50g butter to a saucepan on low heat, 2 cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and 2 tablespoons of plain flour to thicken the sauce. Add 500ml of milk and whisk to combine. Simmer for 20 minutes, then blend. Add florets from one cauliflower in a baking dish. Pour the sauce over, then top with 70g cheddar cheese. To transform this dish, mum blended a slice of bread with rosemary, 1 tablespoon of oil and flaked almonds before sprinkling over the top. Cover with foil and bake at 180 degrees celsius for 45 minutes. For additional colour and crunch, remove the foil and bake until the top is golden.
7. Delicious dips - Cauliflower tastes great with hummus. Try this middle-eastern classic.
8. Lunchbox loaves - Creating healthy and nutritious lunchbox snacks really appeals to me. For a healthy lunchtime treat, I’m excited to let my kids try this cheesy vegetable lunchbox bread.
9. Steamy solutions – I love a simple meal for busy evenings after work and school. Boil cauliflower florets, drizzle with butter and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve alongside your favourite main meal for a light and delicious side dish.
10. Spicy soups - Try this Italian style soup, featuring 1 cauliflower, 1 broccoli, 1 onion, 1 tomato, 3 carrots and 3 garlic cloves. Cut into florets, chop the carrots and boil until soft. Cook the onion, garlic, half of the carrots and the tomato in olive oil. Add 4 cups of vegetable stock. After a few minutes, add the remaining carrots, half of the cauliflower and broccoli and blend altogether. Add the remaining florets to the soup and simmer. For maximum flavour, top with grated or parmesan cheese and season with salt, pepper, Italian herbs and paprika to complete the dish. For those seeking a spicy solution, add a teaspoon of chilli flakes and serve with crunchy garlic bread.
Tips from the author:
For a sweet twist, growing up we would often scatter saltanas and pine nuts over the top of baked dishes. It adds a contrasting colour and also additional depth of flavour that you don’t usually expect from these dishes.
The suggestions above are just the tip of the iceberg. Get creative in the kitchen and try this surprisingly tasty popcorn cauliflower. For more great recipe ideas, type your vegetable or cuisine in the search bar or check out Salapedia.