Fresh cauliflower and pieces on a hessian mat

Cauliflower to look at is quite bland and uninteresting, pale and chunky, a vegetable wrapped in green leaves. At the moment whole cauliflowers can be bought for approximately $3.00 depending upon where you shop. However, it can be an amazing accompaniment to so many meals, or even on its own with a tasty sauce and crusty bread. 

The trick is to find the biggest, firmest, blemish-free one so you get your money's worth. With the addition of some oil, spices, cheese or breadcrumbs, this humble vegetable can be dressed up and made delicious. 

Why cauliflower is so good for you

There are many benefits to cauliflower in your diet. Consider the following: 

  • it contains many nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin K,  vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus.
  • it is high in fibre and excellent for good gut health. Eating enough fibre may help prevent digestive conditions like constipation, diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • it is a good source of antioxidants which are beneficial for reducing inflammation and protecting against several chronic diseases.
  • it is a low-carb alternative to grains and legumes which is a great way to eat more veggies or follow a low-carb diet, and 
  • it is easy to add to your diet, to replace potato, rice or pasta.

 

4 delicious ways with cauliflower

 

Whole roasted cauliflower in olive oil

whole roasted cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole cauliflower (to fit in a large saucepan)
  • 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Spring onion to garnish

 

Method:

  1. To a large pot of boiling water add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 whole cauliflower.
  2. Boil 10-15 minutes then carefully lift out using tongs and drain. Alternatively, carefully take the pot to the sink and tip it over to empty the water.
  3. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over the cauliflower.
  4. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper and massage the oil into the cauliflower.
  5. Bake at 230c for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped spring onion to serve.

 

Baked cauliflower florets in breadcrumbs 

Cauliflower in breadcrumbs

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cauliflower broken or cut into florets
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder and paprika
  • 2 eggs

 

Method:

  1. Break or cut cauliflower into florets and add to a large pot of water and boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile in a bowl combine breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, salt, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika.
  3. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk. Dip florets into the egg mix and then coat with the breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Place on a tray and spray with oil (or drizzle with oil) and bake in a 200c oven for 35-40 minutes. Serve with sweet chilli sauce or aioli.

 

Cauliflower Cheese Balls

cauliflower cheese balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup of parmesan
  • 1 medium cauliflower grated
  •  ½ teaspoon each salt, pepper and nutmeg,
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed,
  • 2/3 cup of plain flour
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • 2-tablespoon olive oil

 

Method:

  1. Combine the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses together.
  2.  Add the grated cauliflower, salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix until well combined.
  3. Fold in the garlic, flour and breadcrumbs.
  4. Whisk the eggs together and with the olive oil add to the dry mixture and combine well.
  5. Form the mixture into small balls. Place them on an oven tray and bake at 200c for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a tasty sauce or flavoured mayonnaise. 

 

Cauliflower Rice

cauliflower rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • 2-3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup green peas
  • Sprig of parsley

 

Method:

  1. Break a whole cauliflower into small florets and place in a food processor.
  2. Pulse in 1-2 second bursts until it resembles the texture of rice or couscous. Alternatively, crush with a rolling pin to break into tiny pieces.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.
  4. Add the onion and sauté until slightly golden. Add the garlic and the carrots, and cook for 5 minutes until carrots are tender.
  5. Add the green peas and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  6. Add the cauliflower ‘rice’ and mix to combine.
  7. Cook for a further 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. Garnish with the parsley and serve with a splash of soy sauce.

Top tip: Don’t overcook as it will become unpleasantly mushy. 

Fun fact: Have you heard of cauliflower 'steaks'? 

With cauliflower being such a tough compact vegetable, it can be cut into slices or ‘steaks’. These can then be brushed with olive oil and fried over medium heat for 5 minutes each side or until tender.

Flavours such as turmeric and paprika may be added before cooking, or afterwards such as a squeeze of lemon or a sprinkle of chopped flat-leaf parsley. The 'steaks' can be crumbed and shallow fried, and served with other vegetables or a salad. Toss the smaller florets in boiling water and cook to use for one of the recipes featured here.

Served in your favourite bowl or on your treasured dinner plate, these suggestions are sure to please. Pop cauliflower on your shopping list and give one of these recipes a go. 

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