4 New Ways To Cook With Cauliflower

Mar 3, 2017

Cauliflower (and it’s brassica cousin, broccoli) is a staple in plenty of Canadian refrigerators, sturdy and healthy, ready to be chopped into florets, steamed and served up for dinner. With a pale colour and mild flavour, cauliflower is more versatile than it often gets credit for — it gets along well with a myriad of other ingredients, and its solid shape allows for more options beyond the traditional florets. Here are a few things you may not have considered doing with your cauli.

Turn it into steaks

Cut a whole head of cauliflower straight through into 3/4-inch thick steaks and cook them in butter or oil in a hot pan, seasoned however you like, for 4-5 minutes or until golden on both sides and tender all the way through. Alternatively, brush the steaks with oil and roast on a baking sheet at 400F for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through, or until crispy-edged and tender. Season to your liking, or serve with any kind of sauce, from curry to hollandaise to gravy.

Cauliflower steaks on a plate.

Make cauliflower rice

Cauliflower “rice” is a nutrient-dense alternative to the real thing, higher in fibre and easy to make. To do it, separate your cauliflower into florets and pulse in the bowl of a food processor until the texture resembles grains of rice; alternatively, grate it on the coarse side of a box grater. Place in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through, until steaming and tender. Serve with saucy dishes or season with butter, salt and pepper and serve as a side.

Plain cauliflower rice and cauliflower rice served with vegetables.

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Roast it

Roasted cauliflower is divine - far more flavourful than steamed. To make it, toss cauliflower florets in oil and whatever seasonings you like — stick to salt and pepper, or try a curry blend (paste works well too - just stir it into the oil), or go for a pinch of thyme or Italian seasoning and finish the veggies with Parmesan toward the end of the baking time. Roast on a heavy, rimmed baking sheet at 425F for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until tender and golden.

Roasted cauliflower straight out of the oven.

Bake the whole thing

Baked whole cauliflower is a thing — really — and makes sense when you consider the regularity with which we might roast whole chickens. It’s surprisingly beautiful, and easy, and you can season it however you like - some people smother it with softened butter, garlic and herbs, or oil and mustard, or yogurt spiked with lemon zest, chili powder and cumin. All you do is sit the cauliflower upright in a cast iron skillet or baking dish (trim the leaves and stem to make it sit flat), spread or drizzle your choice of seasonings all over it, rubbing with your hands to coat it well, and bake it at 375F, covered for half the time, for about an hour, or until it’s tender. Exact timing will depend on the size of the cauliflower, but the good news is it’s not like chicken — it’s ok if it’s a bit tender-crisp on the inside.

Roasted cauliflower in a cast iron pan.

Article Author Julie Van Rosendaal
Julie Van Rosendaal

Read more from Julie here.

Julie Van Rosendaal is the author of six best-selling cookbooks (with a seventh due out this fall), the food editor of Parents Canada magazine and the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One. She is a recipe developer, TV personality, food stylist and writes about food for local, national and international publications. She is perhaps best known as the voice behind her popular food blog, Dinner with Julie, where she documents real life at home in Calgary with her husband and nine-year-old son. Connect on twitter @dinnerwithjulie.


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