Cauliflower, the humble cruciferous vegetable, has suddenly become cool. Why? You can thank the low-carb crowd for this trend. With its beautiful ivory color and mild flavor, cauliflower can disguise itself as several different types of starch, from mashed potatoes to rice and pasta. But whether or not you’re dodging grains, it’s always a good idea to get some more veggies on your plate. Just like its more popular cousins, broccoli and kale, cauliflower is a good source of folate and vitamin C, and disease-fighting phytochemicals make it a shining example of an anti-inflammatory food.
Plus, cauliflower is easy to find year round, exceedingly versatile, and absolutely delicious. Here are five creative ways to make it your new favorite side dish.
1. Whipped cauliflower
If you can mash potatoes, you can whip cauliflower. Blanch or steam florets, and then throw them in the food processor with a dab of butter, splash of milk, and pinch of salt. Whirl it all together for a surprisingly creamy and flavorful puree, perfect for pairing with juicy chicken, chops, or steak.
2. Cauliflower rice
Blitz raw florets in the food processor, and you’ll wind up with a pile of pretty white “grains.” Clever cooks are transforming these crumbles into a fluffy side dish, fragrant pilaf, or “fried rice,” studded with scrambled eggs, carrots, and peas.
3. Cauliflower pasta
Broccoli and cheddar might be best friends, but cauliflower deserves to get in on the cheese action. Even Michelle Obama is sneaking it into kid-friendly mac and cheese. Two options: Steam and puree it, to use it as the basis for the creamy sauce. Or substitute bite-size pieces for some of the pasta. You could also skip the mac entirely, and just make a cauliflower gratin for your next dinner party. A sprinkle of whole-wheat breadcrumbs creates a golden crust.
4. Cauliflower crust pizza
Pizza isn’t a gut bomb when you sneak cauliflower into the crust. Grind it to a meal in a food processor, steam or microwave, and then squeeze out as much liquid as you can with a clean kitchen towel. Then mix it with egg and parmesan, pat it down on a baking sheet, and bake in a hot oven until golden. Finish with your favorite toppings.
5. Cauliflower steaks
No, it’s not ribeye, but thick cauliflower steaks, created by cutting down through the entire head, can still be satisfying. Roasted, seared, or grilled, they make the prettiest of plates. You can sauce them with pesto or marinara, or keep it fresh with a dollop of Greek yogurt and finely chopped olives and herbs.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.