Just like Brussels sprouts took over the side dish scene in 2014, cauliflower is currently spreading across restaurant menus, Instagram feeds and food blogs like wildfire. You may want to get familiar with the white plant, as it is on the road to being the Jennifer Lawrence of veggies this year.
So what is cauliflower, exactly? People have called it the ‘albino broccoli,’ which, outside of being politically incorrect, is also just not true. While its stem and florets look similar to broccoli’s, cauliflower is its own vegetable within the plant species brassica oleracea, of which broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts are also a part. Judging from that list, it seems like brassica oleracea is having a moment.
Cauliflower has a soft, light flavor that is pleasant raw or amplified by roasting or seasoning. Its florets are dense and often used as a healthy starch substitute because of their similar texture to potatoes or rice when cooked. The veggie is low calorie (about 25 calories per cup, raw), low in carbs and also brings fiber, vitamin C and potassium to the table.
In other words, bring on the cauliflower!
There are countless ways to use it: in soups, as steaks, in tacos, as a side, roasted and dipped into deliciousness … Just to name a few. Here are ten recipes that are on my to-make list to get you started, brought to you by some of my favorite food sites:
- Charred Cauliflower Quesadillas from The Smitten Kitchen — I’m a sucker for anything quesadilla’d, so this is a no brainer in mi casa. Also, Deb is a genius so this can’t be a flop.
- Cauliflower Buffalo Bites from Huffington Post Food — Trying to replace buffalo chicken wings seems criminal, but if this works it is for realz a game changer.
- Cauliflower Gratin from The Delicious Life (recipe originally from Thomas Keller) — Think healthier version of the decadent potato gratin you may have as a holiday side dish.
- Ginger Fried Cauliflower Rice from A Cozy Kitchen — Adrianna makes a healthy, spicy fried “rice” and tops with a fried egg. Bingo.
- Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Relish and Tomato Sauce from Bon Appetit via Epicurous – Keep it thick, caramelize it and make it the star of meatless Monday.
- Cauliflower Chowder from Damn Delicious — The cauliflower replaces potatoes in this healthier version of the creamy classic (still topped with bacon bits because we’re only human).
- Spaghetti with Cauliflower Walnut Pesto from Mario Batali — Cauliflower and anchovy filets combine in this twist on a traditional pesto. Pst … don’t tell anchovy haters that they’re in the sauce. Based on experience with anchovy walnut sauces, I bet you they won’t even be able to tell and they will LOVE it.
- Curried Cauliflower Soup from Cookie and Kate — Roasted cauliflower, coconut milk, Thai red curry and white wine. Um, where do I sign up?
- Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar Beer Sauce from Joy the Baker — “I literally can’t even.”
- Bar Tartine Cauliflower Salad from 101 Cookbooks — Spicy, chunky, creamy, sweet, tangy … this salad from the San Francisco restaurant sounds like it has it ALL.
Ready. Set. Cook. And, report back! 😉