Cauliflower is Having a Moment

It seems like food manufacturers are making just about everything out of cauliflower nowadays. I have seen cauliflower ‘rice’ and cauliflower ‘pizza crust’. I have also seen cauliflower flavored to taste like Buffalo wings and boxed macaroni and cheese with cauliflower added to the pasta. Cauliflower is certainly having a moment.

I think this is largely because cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that takes on the flavor of whatever you use to season it. If you would like to jump on the cauliflower train, skip buying the cauliflower that is already cleaned and chopped and prepare it yourself instead. We have a new cauliflower video that will walk you through how to break down an entire head of cauliflower. I find that when I start with a whole head of cauliflower, it often stays fresher longer and is less expensive. The pre-prepped cauliflower may have been chopped several days or even a couple of weeks before it arrives at your grocery store.

Once you have your cauliflower broken down, you’re ready to make a variety of recipes. My favorite way to cook cauliflower is roasting. Check out our Roasted Cauliflower recipe for the details. I also like it raw in salads like Summer Bounty Salad.

I hope these recipes and video help you enjoy this trendy vegetable!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Mashed Cauliflower, Really?

Our featured recipe this month is Roasted Cauliflower. It is delightful and probably my favorite way to eat cauliflower. You can’t miss the buzz around cauliflower over the past couple of years. I have noticed many recipe sites and food bloggers using it to mimic other foods like pizza crust, rice or mashed potatoes. This intrigued me, so I decided to try out the cauliflower mashed potatoes myself.

I read a bunch of recipes online and most have very similar steps. I made mine in the microwave because I thought that would be the simplest. Here is what I did.

  1. I cut a small head of cauliflower into florets. You want the florets small so they soften quickly while cooking.I put the florets in a microwavable dish with a lid and added two cloves of chopped garlic and ¼ cup of water.
  2. I microwaved the dish for five minutes, stirred and then two minutes more until the cauliflower was soft.
  3. I used a potato masher to mash the cauliflower as much as I could.
  4. I added one tablespoon each of butter and light sour cream along with ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  5. I was left with just shy of two cups of mashed cauliflower.

The verdict?

I feel I need to share that I have a deep love for mashed potatoes, so this cauliflower was going to have to be pretty fabulous to win me over. That being said, I would make this again and it is a quick and tasty way to eat cauliflower. It does not taste like mashed potatoes; it tastes like mashed cauliflower.

I have a few tips based on my experience.

  • I typically add milk to mashed potatoes. The cauliflower did not need any liquid added to it, so you can save your milk for dinking.
  • I used basic seasonings, fresh garlic, salt and pepper. You could easily substitute garlic powder or your favorite seasoning blend.
  • I was not able to get my cauliflower completely smooth with a potato masher. It tasted fine, but was somewhat fibrous. I gave it a buzz in the food processor and it became much smoother and much more like mashed potatoes. Here are two pictures that show the difference.
Food Processor
Hand Mashed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower is inexpensive and low in calories. It also contains vitamins C and K as well as folate. If cauliflower is new to your family, try it mashed and see what you think – just don’t tell them it’s mashed potatoes!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Roasted Cauliflower

Our March recipe of the month is Roasted Cauliflower. Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables and my children love roasted vegetables, so this recipe goes over well at my house. The delicious roasted flavor of the cauliflower plus the texture from the breadcrumbs really makes this recipe a winner.

Here are some things to keep in mind when making this recipe:

  • Cut up the whole head of cauliflower at one time since it can be a big and messy job. You probably will not need all of the cauliflower for this recipe, but you can store the extra in small baggies or containers to pack in lunches.
  • Coat the cauliflower florets in the oil first and then add the seasonings and breadcrumbs to make sure that they stick well to the cauliflower.
  • Line your baking sheet with foil then spray with nonstick cooking spray to make clean up easy.

I hope you enjoy our Roasted Cauliflower!

 

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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How to Cut Cauliflower

cauliflower whole slicedCauliflower is a loved vegetable in my home, especially by my daughter and I. We could eat it every day! There are many benefits to choosing cauliflower at the grocery store:

  • It yields a lot: one head of cauliflower cut up can yield six cups, or more, of florets. It is an easy way to get my family the vegetables they need.
  • It is nutritious: cauliflower is rich in vitamin C. This time of year we do not have access to a lot of citrus fruits, which we typically think of as the best way to get vitamin C. So, we can get our vitamin C from cauliflower.
  • It can be eaten several different ways: raw, steamed, or roasted. Raw cauliflower is great to dip in hummus, vegetable dip, or salad dressing. Roasting cauliflower brings out its sweetness – watch this video for an easy way to roast vegetables.

The one thing I do not like about cauliflower is cutting it up. It is hard to cut up and it leaves a big mess. Here is the method I have started using to cut up my cauliflower in an effort to have bite-sized pieces without the big mess:

  1. Wash the cauliflower under running water using a scrub brush to remove any visible dirt. Pat dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel.
  2. Place cauliflower on a large cutting board. Pull off or cut off the leaves. Use a sharp knife to cut around the center stem.
  3. Break off the larger florets, then break off as many bite sized florets as possible.
  4. For the remaining florets, cut into bite sized pieces. This is where it gets messy, so I try to contain the mess by working with small pieces and putting them directly into a container.
  5. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

I hope you enjoy the next cauliflower you get from the store.

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Creamy Cauliflower Salad—Lots of Flavor, Few Calories

CreamyCauliflowerI have to admit I was skeptical when I first tried this recipe. I could not imagine cauliflower, apples, and lettuce together. Now I am a believer. The fresh, mild taste of the crunchy cauliflower, the sweet, tart flavor of the apple, and the ranch dressing are great together.

If you haven’t  chopped up a cauliflower before, you’ll be surprised how easy it is.

This salad is great for an everyday meal, a picnic, or for company. You can make it several hours ahead of time and the leftovers are good, although the lettuce is a little wilted the next day.

To make the salad more special sometimes I add sunflower seeds or raisins, use red onions for color, as well as romaine lettuce for color and more nutrition.

Creamy Cauliflower Salad

Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Serves: 6

Cost Per Serving: $.61

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups cauliflower broken into florets (about 1/2 head)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups chopped lettuce (romaine works well)
  • 1 chopped red or green apple (Braeburn, Granny Smith)
  • 1/4 cup light ranch dressing

Instructions:
  1. Prepare the cauliflower by rinsing well in cold water just before using it. Snap off the outer leaves and discard.
  2. Use a sharp knife and cutting board to slice off stem and hollow out and remove core.
  3. Cut or break cauliflower into small pieces called florets.
  4. Toss cauliflower, onion, lettuce, and apples in a medium bowl.
  5. Stir in dressing.
  6. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Substitutions/Additions:
  • Change this recipe by adding other foods such as sunflower seeds or raisins.
  • Use red onion to add more color.
Tips:
  • Can be made several hours in advance.
  • Great for a picnic. Keep it in the cooler until time to eat.

 

Peggy Signature

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