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I decided to start a new recipe theme on the blog — it is called “vegetable spotlight.” Instead of presenting you with one recipe, now and then I am going to highlight a seasonal vegetable and show you a few different simple ways to cook it. While as a foodie, I love to come up with fancy recipes, I realize that some of you could use some simple inspiration of different ways to cook seasonal vegetables. First up: Cauliflower!
This vegetable often gets overlooked in favor of its more colorful cousins, like broccoli. Even though it is lacking in color, it is still a nutritious food – cauliflower contains vitamin K, B vitamins, as well as sulfur. Sometimes you can find colored cauliflower (I have seen green, purple, and orange!), which has higher levels of antioxidants and beta-carotene. What is amazing about cauliflower is its versatility – you can steam and mash it to replace potatoes, or process it until it forms “rice”. My absolute favorite use for cauliflower is to cook it with curry spices (avoiding the nightshades and seeds, of course!)
Mashed cauliflower and cauliflower rice are both an excellent addition to hearty protein dishes, like braised meats, steak, or roast poultry. I like to serve them with green vegetables for some color – maybe sautéed market greens like kale, chard, or collards, or a nice salad. Another option would be to serve them with a colorful dish like Rainbow Roasted Root Vegetables. Even though cauliflower is not the most colorful or exciting vegetable, I hope these simple recipes encourage you to include it in your weekly routine!
Here are three quick, simple ways to prepare cauliflower:
Steamed and Puréed Cauliflower
Take a head of cauliflower and steam for about 10-15 minutes, until soft. If you are steaming florets, this will take about half as long. Once your cauliflower is soft, purée in a blender with a tablespoon or two of fat of your choice (I like olive or coconut) and a generous pinch of sea salt. Super simple and amazingly delicious! You can even thin this further with bone broth, add some herbs like tarragon and thyme and turn into a creamy soup.
Heat some solid cooking fat in a wok or skillet and sauté cauliflower florets for about five minutes, or until they brown on the edges. Add some turmeric, ginger, sea salt, and a tablespoon of water, cover and let cook for another ten or so minutes, stirring occasionally. You can add some coconut aminos to the end to add some more flavor, but they taste fine without. Also, if you want to get really fancy, sauté up some onion, ginger and garlic before adding the cauliflower.
To make simple cauliflower rice, cut your head of cauliflower into florets and process in a food processor until they form “rice” size granules. Depending on your processor, this should only take a minimal amount of processing – you don’t want to end up with mush. Cook the “rice” in a hot wok or skillet with a tablespoon or two of solid cooking fat and sea salt, stirring occasionally. I like my “rice” not totally soft, so I only cook for 6-8 minutes, but you can cook as long as 10-12 minutes. If you want to jazz it up and make some fried rice, cook some onion, ginger, garlic, and mushrooms before you add the rice. Add some coconut aminos and you have a perfect Asian side-dish. Or, you can add some saffron and coconut milk for a thai variation.