Cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables on earth. It has a hearty, meaty texture and makes the most wonderful plant-based dishes. Discover 5 fun, original and healthy ways to cook cauliflower so you never get tired of it.
Cauliflower is known for being one of the healthiest vegetable on earth. This cruciferous vegetable is a significant source of nutrients, vitamins and fiber. It also contains unique antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and protect against several diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
Last but not least, cauliflower is easy to add your diet and can replace high-carb foods in several recipes. Forget classic cooking methods like steamed or boiled cauliflower that makes it taste bland. Instead, I encourage you to explore other cooking methods that make cauliflower tasty, yet still easy to prepare.
Today I share 5 unique ways to cook with cauliflower:
- Gluten-Free Cauliflower crust pizza
- Cauliflower steaks
- Simple Cauliflower rice
- Cauliflower dips and beyond
- Cauliflower florets
1. Cauliflower crust pizza
You probably all heard of cauliflower crust pizza by now. But have you ever tried it yourself? Let’s admit it, it sounds a little crazy, right?
How to prepare cauliflower crust pizza?
- Place cauliflower florets into a food processor.
- Pulse until you get a thin, sandy texture. Transfer the so-called “cauliflower rice” into a medium-sized bowl, and place in the microwave on high, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside and cool.
- Add chickpea flour, crushed garlic, salt and one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the eggs and stir until well combined.
- Using a spatula, spread the dough onto a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper and form a large circle.
- Bake until cooked through and golden-brown, about 30-40 minutes depending on the oven. Transfer carefully the baking sheets with the cauliflower crust on a rack and let cool.
Cauliflower crust pizza with healthy veggie toppings (GF) – This colorful pizza is a wonderful alternative to your classic pizza recipe. On top of a soft and slightly crispy cauliflower crust, you get a delicious beet pesto, arugula salad and feta cheese.
Which toppings for my cauliflower crust pizza?
Like for any other pizza, you can top your cauliflower pizza with any topping of your choice. The version I suggest above is a little bit off the beaten path and sophisticated, but you can totally use the topping of your favorite pizzas. Here are a few ideas you can try:
- Margherita Pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil. I like this recipe, simple and good.
- Fig & Goat Cheese Pizza
- Red Onion, Broccoli and Feta Pizza
- Smoked Salmon Pizza with Capers
Is cauliflower crust pizza healthy?
Yes, this cauliflower crust pizza prepared with cauliflower and chickpea flour is healthier than a regular pizza crust. Given the fact that it doesn’t involve all-purpose flour, it’s way lower in carbs and make a great gluten-free alternative for your pizzas. It’s also a great way to eat your veggies without even seeing it. Note however that not all cauliflower crust pizza recipes are the same, so make sure you check the ingredients before using any random recipe.
Also, cauliflower crust might be healthier than a flour-based pizza dough, but the toppings also matter. Obviously if you use tons of cheese on top of your pizza, it’s not that healthy anymore!
2. Cauliflower steaks
Another fun and healthy way to cook with cauliflower consists in using them as cauliflower steaks. The name “cauliflower steaks”comes fro the fact that prepared this way, cauliflower gets a meat-alike, chewy texture. Cauliflower steaks are basically thick cauliflower slices, roasted in the oven. Depending on the roasting time and various seasoning and spices you use, they can be plain, charred and packed with flavors.
How to make cauliflower steaks?
- Cut off the inedible leaves of cauliflower.
- Trim off the bottom of the cauliflower stem, making sure to keep the core intact.
- Cut right through the middle of the cauliflower head. This keeps the florets together.
- Cut thick slices, about 1.5-inch (4 cm) thick. This enables cauliflower slices to stay intact in high heat and guarantees a heartier bite.
Cauliflower steaks with harissa tahini sauce (vegan, GF) – If you’re a beginner at eating cauliflower and/or if you never really liked the taste of cauliflower, this spicy recipe is probably the one you should begin with. Here cauliflower is roasted with smoked paprika and served with an irresistible harissa-tahini sauce. It looks fancy but it’s actually pretty simple to prepare. And if you happen to have harissa leftovers, make sure you use them to make my deluxe shakshuka with chickpeas. Delicious!
Cauliflower steaks with a walnut-caper salsa (vegan, GF) – If you’re not too much into spicy food, try this roasted lemon version. Basically it means that you roast cauliflower with lemons in the oven. Roasted lemon juice will add some bold and slightly smoked flavors to your cauliflower. What I also love about this recipe is how it plays with cauliflower textures. The meaty cauliflower steaks contrasts beautifully with the cauliflower mash, creating a lovely sophisticated dish with no waste of cauliflower.
3. Cauliflower rice
You can’t get enough of ideas and you’re looking for even more new fun and healthy ways to cook with cauliflower? Try cauliflower rice! This cooking method consists in simply pulsing cauliflower florets in a food processor until texture resemble to fine sandy texture like couscous or so-called cauliflower rice. It couldn’t be easier.
How to make cauliflower rice?
- Cut off the inedible leaves of cauliflower and cut cauliflower into florets.
- Pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor a few times only. Check, and pulse again until you obtain a sandy texture (don’t pulse too long or it will turn into a sort of cauliflower mash).
- Sauté cauliflower rice with just a little bit of oil in a skillet until warm and slightly crispy. Alternatively, you can just warm it up a little in the microwave.
Once cauliflower rice is ready, serve as a side dish in replacement of basmati rice or couscous. Feel free to upgrade your cauliflower rice with various spices of your choice: yellow curry powder, a little bit of paprika, or a delicious herb seasoning of your choice.
Cauliflower rice with chickpea curry (vegan, GF) – In this simple vegan chickpea curry recipe, cauliflower rice comes as a replacement of the side of rice. It makes a dish more wholesome, hearty and high in fiber. Plus, cauliflower rice is delicious combined with the curry sauce.
4. Cauliflower florets
This other way of using cauliflower resembles to the way we prepare cauliflower steaks. But here, cauliflower is cut into bite-size florets before you roast then in the oven with various seasoning until tender. Then, you can use cauliflower florets in many different recipes. Here are a few of my favorites, to give you some inspiration.
Curried cauliflower grilled-cheese sandwich – I first tried a similar version of this grilled-cheese sandwich in a little hipster cafe of Chicago and absolutely loved it. I enjoyed every single bite of it with the idea in mind to make my very own version that I turned entirely vegan. Here, cauliflower florets are roasted in the oven with some yellow curry powder and lemon. The result is beyond amazing, especially paired with cheese and spinach in between two slices of sandwich bread.
Creamy cauliflower lentil curry (vegan, GF) – This is another completely different way to use cauliflower florets once they’re roasted in the oven with a little bit of oil. Add them to any vegetarian curry, like this one involving lentils and a creamy coconut sauce. The dish is packed with delicious warm, hearty flavors and make a wholesome dish everyone loves, kids included.
Roasted lemon cauliflower & halloumi pita pockets – For a quick lunch idea, roast cauliflower florets with olive oil and lemon halves in the oven. Then drizzle the juice of the roasted lemons over the slightly crispy yet tender cauliflower florets and serve in a pita pocket with halloumi cheese and a delicious vegan aïoli prepared with chickpea water. Amazing!
Spicy Vegan Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Tacos (vegan) – Packed with spices and comforting, hearty flavors, these vegan tacos prepared with cauliflower florets and a vegan cashew sauce make for a quick and easy Taco Tuesday with friends. Make sure you try them soon, you’ll thank me later.
5. Cauliflower dips & beyond
Using cauliflower to make either a soup or a mash would probably come to your mind easily. But what about going one step further and try one more fun and healthy way of cooking with cauliflower? I suggest you try cauliflower dip or a cauliflower hummus. Pureed in a food processor until slightly creamy, cauliflower dip or hummus make wonderful vegetarian-based appetizer alternatives to your classic party foods.
Roasted Cauliflower Hummus – Upgrade your classic chickpea and tahini hummus recipe with some cauliflower. Roast cauliflower with olive oil and lemon halves in the oven until tender. Add then to your food processor and pulse until mashed. Easy and delicious!
Harissa cauliflower walnut dip – Easy, healthy, and ready in minutes, this harissa cauliflower dip is prepared with roasted cauliflower florets, harissa paste and walnuts. Mixed all together in a food processor, it makes a surprising appetizer to serve along with raw vegetables or crackers.
More cauliflower recipes to try:
I hope you had fun exploring all these fun and healthy ways to cook with cauliflower. Nothing ever makes me happier than seeing you making my recipes, so if you try one or several of the recipes above, remember to tag @delscookingtwist on Instagram and hashtag it #delscookingtwist. Now tell me, what’s your favorite cauliflower recipe?