Vegetable Spotlight – Cauliflower

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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

mashed cauli

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.

Curried Cauliflower

curry cauli

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.

Cauliflower “Rice”

cauliflower rice

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.

What is your favorite way to cook cauliflower?

About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a cook and one of the bloggers behind Autoimmune Wellness. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner by the Nutritional Therapy Association, and is the author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, a guide and recipe book for the autoimmune protocol, and AIP Batch Cook, a video-based batch cooking program. You also can find her on Instagram.

28 comments

  • khali says

    love it! will try it tomorrow

  • denise says

    I love it sautéed with anchovy paste and garlic… used to add red pepper flakes too, but not anymore!

  • Karen says

    I make the cauliflower “faux-tatoes” but I add a yellow onion and fennel bulb to the pot with the cauliflower and steam them together. Then blend in the Vitamix with olive oil and pink salt. It’s my new comfort food! I will try the “rice” next. I’ve been intimidated by it, but you make it sound easy. Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful to have found your blog and all the kindness you share! 🙂

    • Mickey says

      Sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing!

      • Linda says

        Hi Mikey
        I just would like your thoughts about cauliflower, broccoli, kale and there are a few more that you are advised not to be consummed if you have a hypo-thyroid you apparently can if you cook them but not to eat large amounts as these are what is seasonal during this winter do you have any advise on how often you
        can eat them and if you have had any problems with them with the hashimoto
        Thank you, love the wesite, have just had one of your soups for lunch very nice
        Linda

  • Emily says

    I love roasted cauliflower – tossed in some coconut oil and salt and roasted at 400 for a half hour. I’ll have to try your curried version – sounds delicious!

    • Mickey says

      Yes, roasting gives it a nice crispness on the edges. I haven’t done this in awhile, I will have to try again soon!

  • […] Vegetable Spotlight: Cauliflower […]

  • Debbie says

    We made a lovely creamed cauliflower and carrots soup with coconut milk and curry spices. Next time I will add fennel.

  • Becca says

    Buffalo Cauliflower definitely my fav! Not totally autoimmune-friendly with the chili powder and hot sauce, but I usually skip the hot sauce, and I can get away with a little bit of chili powder. YUM!!

    Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
    Ingredients:
    * 1 head of cauliflower, washed and broken up into small florets
    * 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
    * 1 tsp. garlic powder
    * 1 tsp. paprika
    * 1 tsp. chili powder
    * ½ tsp. kosher salt
    * 2 tbsp. of your favorite hot wing sauce

    Directions:

    * Pre heat oven to 425
    Toss cauliflower with olive oil and distribute evenly.
    Combine garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and salt in a small bowl. Toss spice mixture over cauliflower and mix well, making sure all the cauliflower is coated in the spices.
    Spread cauliflower out on a rimmed baking sheet a roast for 20 minutes.
    Toss with wing sauce and serve with your favorite blue cheese dressing for dipping. Enjoy!
    Makes about 2 cups..

  • […] time you make cauliflower “rice”, add some egg yolks at the last minute for a “fried rice” […]

  • “Creamy Dilled Cauliflower Soup”: My version was inspired by Donna Gates and her “Body Ecology Diet” book. Saute an onion in ghee (I use coconut oil, and sometimes I’ll mix the 2 for a different flavor), along with 4-6 cloves of chopped garlic. (It tastes just as delicious without the garlic). When translucent, add a head of cauliflower (cut into florets). Let cook for a few minutes, until soft. Add Celtic sea salt (I now hear that Himalayan has fluoride in it) and 2T dried Dill. Cover with water (I prefer using Organic Gluten-free chicken broth). Puree in blender, or simply use a hand blender and blend in the pot. My husband also loves this. It’s absolutely delicious, and very much a comfort food.

    • Mickey says

      Loretta, thanks for sharing that recipe! It sounds amazing. I really like dill, so I will have to try it!

      Mickey

  • Another favorite of mine is Chef Shane Kelly’s version of Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes: http://www.chefshanekelly.com/2013/02/creamy-cauliflower-you-wont-miss-those-mashed-potatoes/ . (Cut and paste the link into your web browser because I don’t know how to create a web link here). I use Coconut Oil instead of butter, and I’ve found that I rarely add Coconut Milk, because it doesn’t need it. And mixing in some Organic Gluten Free Chicken Broth with the water gives it a good flavor (sometimes 1/2 broth and 1/2 water). My husband also loves these. I usually double all these recipes because we eat them up pretty quickly. :O)

  • Gabby says

    I have a Moroccan cauliflower zaalouk recipe that I got from a library book a few years ago (possibly moro east). Making it AI compliant would be quite easy, drop the cumin and harissa paste/cayenne. The original recipe follows:
    1 cauliflower
    3 cloves garlic
    1 tsp cumin
    cayenne pepper or harissa paste to taste
    1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (cilantro in American)
    1/3 cup olive oil
    salt
    lemon juice

    Cook cauliflower florets and garlic in salted water until tender. Drain and mash roughly. Add spices, oil and coriander and fry until mousture has evaporated. Just before serving add the lemon juice.

  • […] and coconut aminos. While the crispy sweet potatoes are fantastic, you could also serve them over cauliflower rice, zoodles (zucchini cut with a spiralizer and then sauteed breifly), or spaghetti squash. They make […]

  • Jennifer says

    I steam it, use a hand mixer to mash it up, add coconut oil and some uncooked cauliflower to give it a crunch. I eat it cold in the morning with Herbamre original. It’s a nice addition to breakfst.

  • Celeste says

    Love your article and cauliflower recipes! I have a question about conventional cauliflower vs organic. It is very hard to find organic cauliflower in my area. How “dirty ” is the conventional and where does it stand on the “dirty dozen list ? ”

    Thank you!

    • Mickey says

      Celeste,
      This isn’t something I know off of the top of my head–a google search might be able to help you out some! Sorry I can’t be of more help.

      Mickey

  • […] rich. I recommend eating it as 4 small servings, with a vegetable on the side to fill out the meal. Cauliflower rice is a nice side dish. You can even serve the curry on top of the “rice”, if you […]

  • April says

    Thank you for this post. I riced my cauliflower. I sautéed up onions, carrots, and garlic and added the cauliflour, diced chicken, and shrimp and had the best fried ‘rice’ ever. 🙂 I used a bit of soy sauce (I am not off all condiments yet) and it was divine! I am still searching for coconut aminos near me. On Amazon people complain that half the product gets lost in shipping. 🙁

    • Mickey says

      April,
      Sounds wonderful! If you have a local Whole Foods or health food store, they should be able to get ahold of the aminos for you! Good luck!

      Mickey

  • Wendy says

    this summer I made lots faux- tato salad with my cauliflower.
    I took a big bowl of it to a family event, and everyone who tried it could not believe it was not regular potatoes!

  • […] is versatile. Enjoy it over other meat or fish. I’ve also made this recipe with a side of cauliflower rice, and the salsa tasted delicious on top of the cauli-rice, […]

  • […] And, one of the ways that you can do this is by embracing the mash! You’d be amazed at just how easy it is to play with herb and vegetable combos in your food processor. You can go sophisticated and zhushy – like with the HELLISHLY GOOD Herbed Parsnip and Celeriac Mash with Caramelised Onions, for example. Or, you can keep it simple – as with Steamed and Pureed Cauliflower. […]

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