Cauliflower has got to be the best and most versatile vegetable. So we thought we’d indulge our own love of it and pull together some great recipes to showcase its adaptability: roast, steak (cauli, not meat), curry, salad, rice, soup, fritters,(vegan) cheese.
Interesting facts about cauliflower
- In the US, one state – California – produces more than 80% of the country’s cauliflower. In Australia, 2 states – Queensland and Victoria – are the largest producers with approx 30% share each. Big difference in national proportions! Perhaps no surprises that China is the greatest grower of cauliflowers in the world.
- Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family. They are named that way because they have flowers that consist of four petals which grow in the shape of Greek cross. What I found interesting is that included in the family of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy are the root vegetables turnips and parsnips. Could explain why parsnips are a close second to cauliflower for this writer.
- Cauliflower originated in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor and arrived in France and England in the early 17th century. The British then did a wonderful thing and introduced it to India in 1822 – some of the best vegan/vegetarian Indian curries have cauliflower. It came to the USA and Australia in the early 20th century and for both countries growing it commercially appears to have started in the 1920s/30s.
- The global rise of cauliflower has clearly been relentless. This survey has it ranked as the 17th most popular vegetable in the world. Interestingly, it is outranked by its sister vegetable broccoli which came in at number 3.
- There are hundreds of varieties of cauliflower available today. They differ in color, size, shape, taste and nutritional composition. One categorization is by size – size 6, 9, 12 or 16 with the size 16 being about 5″/10cm across. Size is not related to quality.
- Cauliflower is replete with vitamins and minerals. Vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and Vitamin C. Don’t under-estimate the power of Vitamin C in the cauliflower: it has been estimated that one serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
- We no doubt all know that Vitamin C is good for staving off colds. But there’s more! Studies have shown that foods which are rich in vitamin C like cauliflower have a ‘protective effective’ against gastric cancer and lower the risk of getting it.
- And there’s still even more health benefits from eating cauliflower. It has been shown to improve blood pressure, kidney function and brain health. It is anti-inflammatory and aids detoxification.
- To be sure you don’t wipe out the health benefits of cauliflower, don’t overcook it. Apparently cooking for 30 or more minutes (surely nobody does?) decreases health benefits of cauliflower by 75%. Another reason for not overcooking it is that it will produce the unpleasant sulfur-like smell.
- There are many ways to cook cauliflower and no overcooking needed or wanted in any of the ways. The following collation of cauliflower recipes reflects the talents of the great cooks who created them.
Ever-so-good cauliflower culinary creations
Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower.
Presents beautifully as well. The recipe calls for Greek yoghurt to be the base with the spices. Easily replaced with vegan soy yoghurt which are widely available. Or you could even make your own thanks to this information on vegan substitutes.
By cutting a whole cauliflower into thick slices, you can brown and caramelize it like a meaty steak. Save any extra florets for crudités.
The tomato sauce is a delicious base for the steak and the olive relish complements them both. I would be able to do this as real comfort food with the accompaniment of potato and parsnip mash. Makes even more sense now I know that parsnips and cauliflowers are related.
An easy but tasty vegetarian curry. Can also add canned tomatoes with the potatoes.
Gobi Aloo. An all-time favorite. And so easy to pull together. The addition of a can of tomatoes adds moisture and enhances the flavors.
Jamie Oliver’s hearty salad is the perfect combination of warm, roasted veg and lentils.
The first thing that will jump out at vegans is that this delicious recipe has haloumi with honey in it. No problem. It’s a garnish not a core ingredient. I would substitute with almond feta which you can source from vegan and wholefood stores and is extremely yummy. The dish also includes the cauliflower’s higher-ranking sister broccoli – so maybe there’s a big audience for this recipe.
Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup
Great self-description: ‘This soup is the little black dress for the winter season. The turtleneck version of the little black dress with like…long sleeves. And mittens attached.’ And indeed it is. Added to cauliflower, celery and carrot are roasted onion and capsicums. And made creamy with blended cashews and veg stock. Heavenly combo.
This ‘rice’ is great served with a stir-fry or casserole.
Source: Easy cauliflower ‘rice’
You could leave out the chillies and green onions to get traditional cauliflower ‘rice’. But the additions give it that extra zest.
These cauliflower fritters are made with chickpeas and spices and then pan-fried and topped with hummus. It’s an easy, healthy meal that is vegan friendly!
Cauliflower, chickpeas, and roasted chickpea crumbs. That’s a powerful fritter base. The hummus is a tasty topping too. I’d probably like a bit more moisture with them and the avocado lime sauce you’ll find here would be perfect IMO.
Yum!I’ve always been fond of cauliflower, and these days there is so much you can do with it. From cauli-rice to cauli-pizza bases, the possibilities are endless with this versatile cruciferous vegetable.
Source: Vegan Cauliflower Cheese – Wellness with Taryn
As with the cauliflower soup above, the creamy sauce for this dish is courtesy of cashews. Staple in the vegan pantry. The recipe is also a good showcase for using nutritional yeast (not to be confused with baking yeast). It is also a vegan staple and gives deep flavor. Also a good substitute for parmesan cheese. When I was growing up, cauliflower in white cheese sauce was a regular with a baked roast dinner. This vegan cauliflower cheese would be great with a baked nut roast dinner and all the trimmings.
Love you to share you comments about and appreciation for the cruciferous cauliflower.