Fall Favorite: Cauliflower 3 Ways

Now that Fall is officially here I’ve been getting into some new recipes for one of the seasons most versatile vegetables: cauliflower and her cousin, romanesco.  Part of the Cruciferous family, one cup of cauliflower has more than 73% of your daily vitamin c!  Cauliflower can also help you to detox, it’s got anti-inflammatory properties and is an excellent source of dietary fiber.  As you’ll see from the wide variety of recipes I’ve gathered here, cauliflower is super versatile and full of as much flavor as nutrition.  Happy Autumn eating!

cauliflower-rice-low-carb-1024x682

My first recipe suggestion is to make rice out of cauliflower, a low carbohydrate, high fiber, nutrient packed alternative to a grain side dish.  I’ve eaten this rice as a side with baked chicken, in lettuce wraps with shredded pork, basically it can be substituted anywhere you’d usually use rice.  How cool is that?  Check out this super simple recipe on LowCarbSlowCarb.com under, you guessed it, Cauliflower Rice!

cauliflower-steak-au-poivre-4-1024x682

Next up, Cauliflower Steaks.  This recipe was sent to me by a friend who I have shared many a steak tartare and pork chop with so I knew it had to be delicious.  I was a bit skeptical but he assured me this was no wimpy vegan alternative, it’s filling, awesome plant food thank you very much!  The recipe I like best comes from JaxHouse.com aka Jacky Hackett, a food enthusiast mom blogger.  You can find her simple and easy recipe under ‘Cauliflower Steak au Poivre.  The trick is using your cast iron skillet in a very hot oven and the results are wickedly good.

Cauli-Crust-Grilled-Cheese-(3)

This last recipe is sure to convert you to the power of what you used to think of as a bland white vegetable: The Cauliflower Grill Cheese.  Yes, it’s gluten free, it’s a full serving of veggies and it’s got a gooey cheese center.  This recipe can be found on TheIronYou.com a blog run by a guy named Mike who thinks we could all eat better and exercise more for a more awesome us, I think he’s onto something!  Search for ‘Cauliflower Grilled Cheese’ and you’ll find a recipe for what will become one of your fall favorites, no matter what your relationship is to gluten.  Pair this with a hot bowl of tomato soup and call it lunch.

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Sicilian Cauliflower and Black Olive Gratin

I found this recipe on the New York Times web site and was excited to try cooking cauliflower a new way.  When Dana and I arrived for Sunday dinner at my parents house last week this cauliflower and olive dish was just coming out of the oven!  It was yummy but we all agreed: more cheese, smaller olives.  So I have changed the recipe just a bit based on how the original recipe turned out.

Goes well with red wine!

Goes well with pork roast from Holiday Farms : – )

Ingredients:

  • 1 generous head green or white cauliflower (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
  • Salt
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 imported oil-cured black olives, pitted and cut in half or chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan
  • note: The Romano is delicious but because it’s lower in fat it doesn’t get nice and gooey when it melts.  Use half mozzarella with a really flavorful Romano or use 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar instead.

Procedure:

1. Break up the cauliflower into small florets while you bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and drop in the cauliflower. Boil 5 minutes while you fill a bowl with ice and water. Transfer the cauliflower to the ice water, let sit for a couple of minutes, then drain and place on clean tea towels.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin dish. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes, and add a pinch of salt and the garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, until fragrant and translucent. Remove from the heat and stir in the olives.

3. Place the cauliflower in the baking dish and add the onion and olive mixture, the remaining olive oil, the parsley and half the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir together well. Spread out in the dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cheese is nicely browned. Serve hot or warm.

Yield: Serves 6

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Advance preparation: The cauliflower can be cooked and refrigerated for up to three days. The dish can be prepared through Step 2 several hours before assembling the gratin. Hold on top of the stove or in the refrigerator.

Nutritional information per serving: 177 calories; 13 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 9 milligrams cholesterol; 9 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 377 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 7 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”

Cauliflower Pizza: A New Take On Veggie Pie

I was skeptical about this idea of using cauliflower as the base for a pizza crust.  Then, a former coaching client sent me the recipe she had used, telling me I would love it.  Since she and I have shared a bunch of recipes I decided it was time to see what I was missing out on:

Does this look like a vegetable to you?

Does this look like a vegetable to you?

The recipe I was sent is this one, from the site Eating Bird Food, which is all about how healthy foods can and should be delicious, I couldn’t agree more!  I took the recipe and made it double, with minor changes:

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 4 cups riced)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cheese- use your favorite- mozzarella is great, we had some goat Gouda so I used that.
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons each basil and oregano

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven and pizza stone, if you have one, to 400° F
  2. Prep a 12 inch round baking tray- you can grease the tray or use parchment paper.
  3. Remove the stems and leaves from your cauliflower and chop the florets into chunks. Add to a food processor (I used my Cuisinart) and pulse just until the texture is similar to rice. If you don’t have a food processor or Vitamix, you can grate the cauliflower with a cheese grater or chop it.
  4. Sauté cauliflower “rice” in a non-stick skillet (I used our large cast iron pan) over medium heat and cook until translucent, approximately 10-12 minutes.   Mine did not get very translucent but it did get cooked somewhat which is the whole point.
  5. In a bowl combine all remaining ingredients, starting with the eggs so you can whip them up.  Then add the cauliflower and mix well to combine.
  6. Spread dough out evenly over greased tray or parchment paper – about ¼ to ⅓ of an inch thick. The pizza should be about 12  inches in diameter.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden, crispy on the edges and cooked through the middle.
  8. Remove the crust from the oven.
  9. Top with sauce and toppings.  Add whatever you like best, you’ll be eating this pizza with a fork so go for it: sautéed onions, mushrooms, fresh chopped veggies, pesto, cheese, fresh herbs, etc.
  10. Broil the pizza for 5 minutes, or until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted. Allow the pizza to cool for 2-3 minutes then cut and serve immediately.

I topped our pizza with one crumbled Italian sausage, sautéed onions, hot pepper flakes, more oregano and basil and just a bit of grated Romano sheep cheese.  I thought we had pesto in the freezer (wishful thinking!)  which would have been perfect for the sauce.  I could have made pesto out of garlic, olive oil, salt and some of the collard greens we had but didn’t think ahead enough.  It turned out really well even without the green and I am already thinking about what to make next time!

If you want pizza you can eat with your hands, try the flax crust I posted earlier and be sure to let us know what your favorite toppings are!

Curried Roasted Cauliflower

Here’s another quick and simple recipe.  If you don’t have all the spices listed, don’t worry, use what you have, it will still be awesome!

Roasted cauliflower with Indian spices, chopped cilantro and mayo-sriracha dipping sauce.

Chop one head of cauliflower into more or less even pieces.

Toss in a large bowl with:

enough olive oil or melted ghee to coat

Add equal amounts of: cumin seeds, mustard seeds, your favorite curry powder and mashed coriander seeds

a dash of asafoetida

and as much sriracha as you like.

Mix well to coat evenly.

Spread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and roast at 350 for 20-25 min. til cooked through but not mushy.

Crispify under the broiler for a few minutes at the end.

Top with chopped cilantro and serve.

Dana made a mayo/sriracha dipping sauce to go with the roasted curried cauliflower, awesome!

Smokey Cilantro Romanesco

Romanesco, the cruciferous family's model vegetable!

Romanesco is similar to broccoli and cauliflower and so you can substitute either of those vegetables in this recipe.  Dana and I have a lot of romanesco growing in our gardens and will be selling some to local restaurants in the coming weeks. This very cool looking plant was first discovered in Italy in the 16th century.  It has a mild flavor similar to cauliflower but it certainly sets itself apart from the rest of the cruciferous veggies with its’ chartreuse coloring and cool growth pattern that makes a logarithmic spiral.

A head of romanesco chopped in half. You can see the individual branches that make up the spiral head.

For this easy roasted meal you’ll need a head of romanesco or cauliflower, chopped into 2-3 inch pieces.  Set your oven to 365.

Then, on a large, shallow baking sheet, mix the chopped romanesco pieces with enough olive oil to coat, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, hot paprika, ground chipotle pepper and salt, to taste.

Use your hands to mix everything together.   Make sure to lick your fingers when you are done mixing, if it tastes good, pop the tray in the oven.  If not, adjust the seasonings and repeat!

Oven ready: well oiled, seasoned and tossed.

While the Romanesco roasts in the oven at 365, roughly chop a handful of fresh cilantro.

Grate some cheese, I used smoked Grafton cheddar from the Berkshire Co-op, the smokey cheese went perfectly with the hot smokey chipotle and the paprika.

The Romanesco can take anywhere from 20-35 minutes, so cook it til it’s done and finish it under the broiler if it needs more browning but not much more cooking.  You want it to be browned on the outside but with a bit of crunch left inside.

The addition of shredded smoked cheddar really makes the dish!

Finally, toss the finished romanesco with the chopped cilantro, a splash of fresh lime, and the shredded cheese.  Eat immediately and enjoy any leftovers hot or cold the next day.

Roasted Cauliflower with Fresh Parsley and Capers

I admit it, I used to think of cauliflower as a bland and difficult to cook vegetable, until I tried roasting it in the oven. Roasting is a very simple way to cook veggies, it just takes some patience and it makes the most flavorful cauliflower I’ve had.   This recipe dresses up what I think of as a winter vegetable with lots of fresh green parsley plus some capers, lemon juice and garlic for tons of good for you flavor.

Turn your oven to 350 and then get your ingredients together.

Ingredients:

Big handful of chopped parsley, you can use as much as you want, go crazy, it’s good and good for you!

4 Tablespoons butter

1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 cloves of garlic, mashed or chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon Capers

Splash of Lemon Juice

One head of organic cauliflower, cut into bite size-ish pieces

First, spread the chopped cauliflower out on a shallow baking sheet.  Then melt the butter on the stove with the capers and one clove of mashed garlic.  When it’s all melted and mixed, pour over the cauliflower and mix well.  Spread the oiled cauliflower evenly over the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pop it in the oven for 30-40 minutes, it should be soft and nicely browned when it’s done.

Parsley with a bit of oil, lemon, garlic and capers

While the cauliflower is roasting mix the chopped parsley with the remaining garlic clove, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice.  You can add a few more capers too if you like.

Mix it up and you're almost done!

When the cauliflower is done, add the parsley and mix well to coat.  Adjust for salt and fresh ground pepper.  Eat immediately!

Cauliflower with capers, garlic and parsley, looks good enough to eat.