There is no question that cauliflower has been having a long, popular moment. I was already a cauliflower fan, actually a cauliflower lover, mostly in the form of sliced and broken chunks of cauliflower tossed with a generous amount of olive oil, sprinkled with a liberal amount of salt, and roasted to a deep caramelized brown in a fairly high oven. My family can eat a baking sheet of that before dinner even hits the table.
And geez, once people started realized you could “rice” it — eg, chop it into tiny rice-sized pieces — it blossomed into a true “thing”. It can be used in stir fries, pizza crusts, meatloaves — anywhere regular rice can make an appearance, you might find cauliflower edging its way in. And then the whole mashed cauliflower thing — another game changer. And there are entire frozen food lines based on cauliflower flooding the market, in particular things topping or encased in cauliflower crusts. Kale who, right?
But you don’t have to just eat cauliflower in the form of rice-shaped bits or in packaged goods. You can bring home a head or two and make many delicious dishes featuring this versatile vegetable, without a whole lot of fuss. And believe me, I’ll be making these recipes this month, and long into the future, whether cauliflower is still “hot”, or not.
And here are 5 cauliflower recipes to add to your meal rotation:
Cauliflower steaks may be trendy and they may be a little silly to order in a restaurant (12 bucks for a slab of cauliflower? Not unless you really, really want one), but they are NOT silly to make at home. Not at all. They are satisfying and hearty, and the way the edges caramelize is pure deliciousness. If you love chicken wings, but can’t justify them as part of the regular rotation OR if you’re a vegetarian missing buffalo wings, this is for you.
Chimichurri is basically the national sauce of Argentina, and so easy to make at home. It’s vibrant with loads of fresh parsley and has a nice level of garlickiness and a bit of tanginess from a splash of vinegar, or sometimes lemon juice. This turns roasted cauliflower into something special.
Ok, this is a trendy one, sure, but it’s just so much fun. And if you are a parent who needs to find clever ways to get your kids to engage with vegetables, you probably can’t beat this presentation. Caulitots look and even taste amazingly like classic potato-based tater tots, but they are made of cooked, chopped cauliflower mixed with some cheese (because of course), egg and breadcrumbs and then shaped into appealing little cylinders and baked. Your kids may become card carrying members of the Cauliflower Fan Club, thanks to these nuggets. Also, they are kind of cool to make, so enlist their help!
This vegan salad will make you feel happy making it, happy serving it, and even happier eating it. Nuggets of roasted cauliflower add depth of flavor and toastiness to a crunchy romaine salad studded with chickpeas. The lemon tahini dressing easily partners with the chickpeas — collectively they are basically the ingredients in traditional hummus. The dressing is quite thick, almost mayonnaise-like in texture. At first you’ll basically dollop it on, but then when you toss the vegetables and lettuce with the dressing it will coat everything with creaminess. A shower of thinly sliced red onion is the kicker, plus some herby brightness from cilantro or parsley.
This beautiful and hearty soup lays no claims to culinary authenticity but incorporates some of the spices that most often appear in Moroccan cuisine (cumin, ground ginger, cayenne and coriander). If you want it even spicier, you might swirl in a spoonful or two of harissa, which is a North African chili paste, at the very end. If you want the soup to be vegan, use vegetable broth, and skip the small amount of sour cream for serving.