At first glance, the cauliflower is unimpressive. Exuding a sulfury scent while cooked to mushy oblivion, sacrilegiously smothered under florescent cheese; or, on the other hand, piled pale and raw (and ignored) on that vegetable tray at the annual office party — these are, sadly, the ways most of us remember the humble cauliflower.
I’m happy to report, however, that our dear cousin of the rockin’ broc is experiencing a renaissance, starring in everything from “rice” dishes to curried stews and salads to appearing on its own garnished merely with a bit of oil, salt, and pepper.
Mark Twain once called the cauliflower “nothing but a cabbage with a college education,” which apparently was said with disdain. (This raises other questions for me, such as: Can a vegetable be arrogant? And, hey, what exactly was he implying, anyway?) As usual, I digress. But really, this cruciferous veggie with exotic Mediterranean origins is a smart choice, something to be celebrated and, of course, consumed. Don’t be dissuaded by its lack of color, either – the cauliflower is good for you, packed with fiber, potassium, and vitamin C (1/6 of a head of cauliflower provides a full day’s allotment).
Here are a few ways to bring the oft-neglected cauliflower back!
Super Easy Curried Cauliflower Salad (adapted from Joy of Kosher)
- 1 large head cauliflower, broken into bite-size florets
- 1 large onion, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley (or cilantro, if you must)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Mix your beloved cauliflower, olive oil, turmeric, and onions. Place in oven at 400 degrees and roast for about 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned.
2. Add other ingredients (make sure to rinse your chickpeas very well, especially if not organic). Serve warm or cold or at whatever temp floats your boat. I told you it was easy!
SImple, Sophisticated Cauliflower “Steaks”
- 1 head of cauliflower (unless your family is like mine, in which case make two)
- 2 T. olive or coconut oil (definitely a sweeter, nuttier taste with the coconut, goes well with Indian or Thai food)
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Stand up your head of cauliflower, and slice it in about 1.5 inch thick pieces, like you’re cutting a loaf of bread. Looks cool, eh?
3. Place said slices on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, then drizzle with a bit more oil, add salt and pepper, and voila! you have yourself a gorgeous side dish. You can bedazzle even further by garnishing with fresh herbs or chopped nuts, with a dollop of pesto, etc. So versatile – it’s the new little black dress of vegan cooking.
Cauliflower “Rice” (For those of you watching your carb intake – and for the rest of us who love finding healthy alternatives to rice and pasta dishes!)
Unless you’re a serious ninja in the kitchen, you will need a food processor for this one.
1. Wash and cut up a head of cauliflower. Place in a food processor and pulse until the pieces are about the size of rice.
2. Either add a bit of water (not much) and cook on the stove until absorbed, or cook in the microwave in a covered dish (or with saran wrap) with no added water until at the consistency you like.
Long live the cauliflower! 🙂