5 Things To Do With: CAULIFLOWER

5 Things To Do With Cauliflower
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Trying to find creative ways to expand your veggie rotation? Cauliflower is on your side! It is absolutely one of my favorite vegetables because of its versatility — and who wants to eat the same, boring steamed vegetables day in and day out? Healthy doesn’t have to mean plain and repetitive.

I had 3 heads in my fridge this week and while that may seem like some serious excess, the fact that there are so many interesting and fun ways to eat this cruciferous crop made me excited to share my favorite inspiration.

Here are 5 ideas with recipes that highlight cauliflower’s chameleon nature:

1. Roast It

Roasted Cauliflower with Red Chile, Cilantro and Lime (from Rem Cooks)

Roasted Cauliflower
This is always my advice to EVERYONE who thinks they don’t like a vegetable. If you have had a bad experience in the past or think you don’t like the way a vegetable tastes, definitely try it roasted. High heat and a little fat brings out the caramely best of any vegetable and cauliflower is no different. Add in some creative flavors and some heat you’ve got yourself a singing side dish!

2. Make A Creative Soup

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Greens (from Martha Stewart)
Creamy Cauliflower Soup With Greens

Can I make a weird confession? I LOVE soup for breakfast. I love it even more when it helps me squeeze in major amounts of veg. During the winter a hot breakfast can super comforting and one can’t live on eggs alone! So sometimes it’s nice to heat up a warm mug of soup, eat a little crispy bacon on the side and call it a meal! And it doesn’t have to be the same old soup blended up with a metric ton of cheese. While that is delicious, try mixing it up with some greens or some broccoli to shake things up AND get an extra layer of nutritioun!

3. Saute It and Add Fun Toppings

Padma Lakshmi’s Sauteed Cauliflower with Anise and Cashews (from Yum Sugar)

Cauli Saute
It’s easy to forget with a big, nubby veg like cauliflower that it can easily be thrown into a pan and sauteed with some savoriness for a quick weeknight side. No complicated cooking necessary, just chop, drop and add some delicious garnish! Simple and Savory in minutes.

4. Make A Fancy Rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice (from Doughing Rogue)

Cauli Fried Rice

Cauliflower Rice is a recipe in every most every Paleo cook’s repertoire. But it’s fun to take that technique to the next level and enhance it with flavor profiles that compliment your main dish. I love a good fried rice like this one full of water chestnuts and cashews but you can also just as easily add herbs or make a spanish rice to go along with your weeknight mexican food.

5. Grill It

Grilled Cauliflower Skewers from Chatelaine

grilled cauli
Grill Cauliflower? Yes and YES. While this dish lends itself to warmer weather, you can always bust out your grill pan in the winter and indulge in a stick of toasted treats! It’s creative, and most importantly delicious, and it is cute enough to serve to company while still being uncomplicated.

*****

For extra credit you could also make sushi, pizza crust (this recipe has dairy) or breadsticks! (Scroll down the page for that last recipe. Looks pretty fun!) Or if you are feeling cheeky, how about some Cauliflower Brains? :)

Do you love cauliflower as much as I do? What is your favorite dish to make with it?

Cauliflower Pizza with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts + Shallots

On Friday night I had a somewhat empty refrigerator and only a miniscule amount of creative energy. Fortunately when I added the two together I came up with this:

photo

It was the best faux-pizza I’ve ever made, actually. Hands down. It was a cauliflower crust topped with bacon bits, sauteed sliced brussels sprouts and a sprinkle of crispy shallots. When I took the first bite, I realized that this was one of those recipes that needed to IMMEDIATELY make it’s way to the blog.

But I feel the need to make a slight disclaimer: my love for Paleo aside, I am firmly in the camp that pizza has no substitute. Pizza is doughy and bready and indulgent — well, at least the good kind is — and when I hear about things like Cauliflower Pizza Crust — I don’t care how good it is NOT REAL PIZZA CRUST. You will not sell me on the fact that this is as good a Real Pizza.

So I am not making that claim. I will not try to foolishly dissuade you from loving Real Pizza. There is no substitute.

But the thing is, we all need to eat our vegetables, and cauliflower *IS* a pretty yummy and versatile. So when you make that vegetable into something crusty and add some delicious toppings, it actually turns into a pretty amazing (guilt free!) dinner. And a pizza-like dinner, no less.

So even though I do not claim this is will all of a sudden replace your desire for deep dish, I will claim that this will be one of the best Friday night meals you’ve ever had when all you have in your fridge is a few vegetables and a couple slices of bacon.

Ingredients

1 Head of Cauliflower, chopped incredibly fine in the food processor
1 egg, beaten
1 cup of shredded cheese for the crust, more if you want to top your pizza with it as well
1/2 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper
1 tsp salt and pizza (or italian seasoning)
Toppings of Choice — in this case: brussels sprouts, bacon and shallots

Method

Preaheat your oven to 400 degrees

1. Chop your cauliflower in the food processor until it is finely minced. It sounds like a pain but trust me it will be worth it. When it’s shredded into a fine powder, pop it in the microwave in a bowl for 6 minutes. No need to add water or anything. Let it cool for about the same amount of time.

2. Mix in your seasonings, shredded cheese, and beaten egg until it becomes more paste/dough-like

photo

3. Spread on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper (a must!) until it is fairly thin and looks like a big ol’ pizza crust.

4. Bake for 40 minutes until crust is browned and crispy

Then it’s time for the toppings! Here’s what I did:

5. While crust is baking, fry up some bacon bits in a pan. You know how to do this, it’s easy — I only had 5 slices of bacon and I was fine. But if I would have had more, I would have added more. More Bacon=Better. I think it’s science. Pull those puppies out and lay them on a paper towel somewhere.

6. Then slice up about 8 clean brussels sprouts into ribbons and throw them into the hot bacon renderings. This is always delicious.
photo

7. When they get nice and sauteed and have a little color on them, pull those out of the bacon renderings too. You can even throw them on your bacon bits sitting there. It’s ok to mix everything together — GET WILD.

8. Thinly slice a whole shallot and throw THAT into the bacon renderings. These renderings are really doing triple duty. Let them get so crispy they almost appear burned.

Wine Break!!!

(Your crust will still be cooking even though your toppings will be done.)

9. Pull out your crust when it’s browned, top with cheese (no sauce!) top with bacon, brussels and crispy shallots and then throw it into the oven for about 5 minutes just until everything is melty and delicious looking.

10. Let it cool about 5 minutes, slice, serve and enjoy.

11. Serve with a salad and then smugly realize you are eating A LOT of vegetables, even though it feels like you are having Pizza Night!

*****

Do you have any favorite variations on Cauliflower Pizza Crust?

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