If you’ve ever been told to avoid beige foods then cauliflower is an exception. This cruciferous vegetable is rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant nutrients, and is currently being investigated for its potential to reduce the risk of cancer. It’s a good source of fibre which we need for digestion, vitamin C for the immune system, and vitamin K to help wounds heal. Due to its mild taste it takes on any flavours it’s cooked with and pairs well with different herbs and spices. Give these a go for an alternative to traditional cauliflower cheese:
1. Fluffy rice
Rice (we’re talking brown rice) is a nutritious food rich in fibre and minerals like selenium for the immune system and manganese and phosphorus for healthy bones. It’s a great accompaniment to many meals but if you’re looking for a lighter, low carbohydrate alternative, or a way to pack more veg into your meal, you could substitute rice with cauliflower rice. To make the rice-like pieces all you need to do is whizz the cauliflower up in a food processor or use a grater. You can then steam, microwave or pan fry the cauliflower and combine it with spices and herbs such as turmeric, coriander and cumin.
2. Pizza crust
We all love a doughy pizza now and again but for those of you wanting to eat it regularly or looking for a lower carb, gluten free alternative, then try making your crust out of cauliflower. To make the dough the cauliflower is often combined with egg (or flaxseed egg), a gluten free flour (such as brown rice or buckwheat), corn meal, ground almonds, parmesan and herbs like oregano and basil. You can then top the pizza as you normally would and cook it in the oven. You can also use this method to make garlic bread or flat breads.
3. Mash with a twist
Potato mash can get a little boring so why not mix it up and make your mash out of different veg. Simply steam a head of cauliflower, then add a tin of drained beans like butter beans, some fresh herbs like parsley, a handful of grated cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whizz it up in a food processor or roughly mash it all together. It won’t be as smooth as potato mash but it will have lots of flavour. Serve with meat, fish or a veg stew.
4. Centre piece
Roasting a whole cauliflower takes a little longer to cook but it’s really easy to prep and looks wonderful as a table centrepiece. The cauliflower takes on any flavours it’s paired with and cooking it for a long period of time makes it moist and tender. It pairs well with coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, paprika, parsley, thyme and almonds. It can be served with a homemade curry, alongside meat, or with a roast.
5. Veggie curry
Vegetarian curries really are the stars of Indian cooking, think daals and aloo gobi. Cauliflower is often used in Indian cooking where it helps to give the dish texture and takes on the spices of the curry. You can pre-cook the cauliflower by steaming or roasting, or if you’re cooking the dish for a long time and there is plenty of liquid, then cut the cauliflower into small florets and allow it to cook in the sauce.