5 Ways to Cook Cauliflower July 27, 2016

by Eat

Rice it, mash it, roast it, blend it… the opportunities are endless! Learn how to cook cauliflower with these five kitchen techniques. 

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Cauliflower is the unsung hero of the vegetable world, often overshadowed by its colorful and more commonly known counterpart: broccoli. However, over the past year or so, this humble vegetable has made a triumphant comeback and asserted its rightful spot in the cabbage family.

With a sweet and slightly bitter flavor, cauliflower (aka “cabbage flower”) boasts impressive anticancer, antioxidant, antibiotic, and antiviral characteristics. But its real claim to fame? Versatility.

We put this creamy white vegetable to the test by blending, chopping, mashing, roasting, baking, and grilling it. The results may just surprise you.

1. Cauliflower Rice

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You know those healthy takes on traditional dishes that end up tasting like cardboard and leaving you begging for the original? Well, cauliflower rice is not one of those.

It’s a surprisingly delicious and easy way to sneak more veggies into your diet without sacrificing rice’s beloved texture and consistency.

All you have to do is place cauliflower chunks in a food processor and pulse until broken down into rice-sized grains. Drizzle some oil or butter in a large skillet, stir in the “rice,” and season with salt and pepper. Cover and let cook for six to eight minutes before fluffing with a fork. We love to toss in fresh herbs for a pop of color, but feel free to dress it up however you want – or leave it as is, that works too!

2. Cauliflower Steak

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Let cauliflower take center stage at your next dinner by whipping up this veggie-centric dish. With a hearty texture, golden sear, and guiltless bite, it gives meat a run for its money.

Cut a whole cauliflower vertically into four steaks. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on a baking sheet. Roast in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, flipping once, until tender and golden brown on the edges.

For a burst of flavor, serve the “steak” on a bed of herbed bulgur, top it with creamy Tzatziki, and sprinkle on some crunchy pepitas.

3. Cauliflower Soup

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Cauliflower combines well with other ingredients, which means it’s the perfect addition to chilled or warm soups.

Although we may be getting ahead of ourselves here with fall flavors, the combination of nutty roasted cauliflower, creamy coconut milk, a touch of coriander, and a kick of cilantro is too good to ignore. And it’s easy, too! Get the recipe for our deliciously earthy soup.

4. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

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We know what you’re thinking… comfort food with veggies? Is that even possible?

It absolutely is. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and tender. Then, toss into a baking dish with pasta, creamy cheese sauce, scallions, and even a bit of pancetta if you’re feeling fancy. The vegetable lends a great flavor to this American classic while contributing a mighty nutritional boost.

5. Cauliflower Mash

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Cauliflower mash has the same comforting and creamy (read: dreamy) allure as starchy mashed potatoes. The only difference? It won’t sabotage your waistline. In fact, cauliflower is three times less carb-heavy and caloric as potatoes.

To create this winning side dish, bring a large pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets before adding them to the water. Cook until tender (about 8-10 minutes), drain, and return to the pot. Using a potato masher or a fork, mash the cauliflower in the pot until it’s as smooth as possible. Place over low heat and add butter, milk, and herbs.

We’ve got a feeling you’re going to love pairing cauliflower mash with pork sausage and onion gravy.

You know what cauliflower pairs well with no matter how it’s prepared? Turmeric. Get all the details about this super spice and start cooking! 

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