Cauliflower Recipes: Get a Head!

Go beyond roasting with these cauli-fabulous recipes.

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Garlic, miso and Thai basil give this roasted cauliflower an Asian flavor. 

cauliflower 2

Garlic, miso and Thai basil give this roasted cauliflower an Asian flavor. 

Photo by: Image courtesy of Distilled

Image courtesy of Distilled

Garlic, miso and Thai basil give this roasted cauliflower an Asian flavor. 

Cauliflower is low-maintenance from the ground up. The cool-season crop is easy to grow and even easier to cook: Olive oil, salt, pepper…done.

But why stop there? Use the recipes below to pickle cauliflower, add it to risotto or dress it with an Asian sauce for a side dish that'll quickly become the star of the show.

Roasted Cauliflower

Don't let the title fool you: This is no ordinary roasted cauliflower. At Distilled in NYC's trendy Tribeca neighborhood, chef/partner Shane Lyons browns cauliflower until fork tender and dresses it with pumpkin seeds, sugar snap peas, basil and a shiro miso sauce made with garlic confit.

Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and lightly seasoned with butter
  • 10 Thai basil leaves, picked
  • 20 snap peas
  • Shiro miso sauce*
  • Canola oil
  • Lemon juice

Shiro Miso sauce

  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • ½ cup garlic confit
  • ½ cup shiro miso (also known as white miso)
  • ¼ confit oil

Puree ingredients until smooth.

In a large skilled over medium heat, roast the bite-size cauliflower florets in canola oil until they are brown and begin to get tender. Once the cauliflower is almost cooked through, add 1/3 cup of the shiro miso sauce, or more if you prefer, and some vegetable stock to deglaze the brown bits that will build up on the pan. Be sure to use as little vegetable sock as possible so that the cauliflower becomes glazed with the miso and not soaked.

Once you glaze the cauliflower, add the snap peas and cook them until they become bright green and al dente. Turn off the heat and toss in the basil and pumpkin seeds.

Garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some more basil leaves.

Pickled Cauliflower

"As with many of the pickles we use, we enjoy the acidity and crunch they bring to the table," says Kevin Johnson, executive chef and owner of The Grocery in Charleston, South Carolina. "This is especially true with the cauliflower—it stays nice and crisp and absorbs the brine well. The chili adds a nice kick and turmeric provides a nice brightness, both in flavor and color."

Yields 4 pints

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 8 slivered garlic cloves
  • 12 thin slices of ginger (each the width of a quarter)
  • 2 thinly sliced small onions
  • 2 slivered jalapenos
  • 2 heads worth of cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 cups Champagne vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric

Toast together the coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns. Set aside seeds.

In a bowl, combine the slivered garlic cloves, thin slices of ginger, thinly sliced small onions, slivered jalapenos and cauliflower florets.

Pack vegetables in jars and disperse toasted spices evenly amongst jars.

Bring sugar, kosher salt, Champagne vinegar, water and turmeric to a boil, stirring until fully dissolved.

Pour brine into each jar, covering the vegetables and leaving ½ inch of head space at the top.

Hand tighten the sterilized lids, submerge in boiling water and process jars for 10 minutes.

Remove jars and allow to cool slightly. Then invert the jars to create a better seal and let stand for several hours.

Ensure jars are vacuum-sealed before storing. 

Roasted cauliflower adds body and a charred flavor to this dairy-free risotto.

cauliflower 1

Roasted cauliflower adds body and a charred flavor to this dairy-free risotto.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Image courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Roasted cauliflower adds body and a charred flavor to this dairy-free risotto.

Cauliflower Risotto

"This dish is rich, creamy and decadent without a hint of cheese, cream or butter," says Mark Mattson, healthy eating specialist at Whole Foods Market in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Who needs cream when you have pureed cashews?

Serves 6

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 ½ cup unsweetened soymilk, almond milk or rice milk
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 20 ounces frozen organic brown rice
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Soak cashews in enough water to cover for a couple hours or overnight. Drain.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place cauliflower on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and ¼ teaspoon salt and toss to coat. Roast cauliflower, stirring occasionally, until florets are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

In a blender, puree soaked cashews, milk alternative and ¼ teaspoon salt. Meanwhile, heat a large high-sided skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; cook about 5 minutes or until beginning to brown and stick to the skillet. Stir in vegetable broth, roasted cauliflower and frozen brown rice. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in cashew mixture, parsley and ginger; reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 6-8 minutes or until mixture thickens and reduces in volume, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in black pepper.

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