Cauliflower is an unsung hero of the garden

This versatile vegetable can take the place of carb-heavy foods and add nutrition to everyday meals

Cauliflower, much like its cousin broccoli, is an unsung hero of the garden.

It’s low in calories but high in nutrients and fiber, and it’s also a good source of antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and protect against several diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.

It’s a low-carb alternative to grains and legumes — a cup of cauliflower contains five grams of carbohydrates while a cup of rice has 45 grams — with the added benefit of increasing your intake of vegetables.

You can make cauliflower rice, pizza crust and even hummus. Instead of making mashed potatoes, try a cauliflower mash.

When making Mexican foods, try a cauliflower tortilla.

You can even make a cauliflower mac and cheese.

Cauliflower is easy to add to your diet. After all, it can be eaten raw with a veggie dip, steamed, roasted or sautéed.

It makes a delicious side dish or can be combined in foods such as soups, salads, stir-fries and casseroles.

It is also fairly inexpensive and widely available at most grocery stores.

While most cauliflower found in the store is white, you can find varieties that are purple and orange.

When buying cauliflower, look for thick, compact heads that are heavy for their size. The leaves should be bright green and not show signs of wilting.

Avoid heads that are blemished or that have florets that are starting to turn brown.

If the bottom of the head is soft, it’s no longer fresh. If the florets have started to flower, they are overripe.

Cauliflower should be stored in the refrigerator unwashed, with the stem side down in an open plastic bag or perforated plastic bag, for five to seven days.

Precut florets will generally last two days.

Cauliflower can be blanched and frozen for as long as a year.

Cauliflower should not be washed until you plan to use it. Once it’s cut, soak it in salt water or vinegar water to help force out any insects lodged in the florets.

Don’t overcooked cauliflower. It contains chemicals that give off an unpleasant odor when cooked, and it increases with the time it’s cooked — and the cauliflower will  break apart, lose its flavor and nutrients as well.

You can also throw in a few chunks of bread to help keep minimize the smell.

If blanching cauliflower, keep it white by adding either one or two tablespoons of lemon juice, a tablespoon of vinegar or one cup of milk.

Following are a few recipes for cauliflower from


Garlic and Herb Cauliflower Chips

1-1/2 cups riced cauliflower

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Kosher salt


Microwave cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl on high about two minutes, stopping and stirring halfway through, until tender. Let cool five minutes.

Place cauliflower in a clean towel and squeeze out any liquid. Transfer to a medium bowl and add Parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.

Scoop heaping-tablespoons of the mixture about two inches apart on two baking sheets that are lined with parchment paper and coated with cooking spray. Flatten the mounds into discs about 2-1/2-inches wide.

Bake in a 375-degree oven about 14 minutes, until the edges of the crisps are deep golden brown.

Let cool in the pan five minutes before serving. Crisps will firm up as they cool.


Cauliflower Parmesan

1 medium head cauliflower

1 cup flour

Kosher salt

3 large eggs, beaten

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 cup olive oil

2-1/2 cups marinara sauce

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves


Pull leaves from the base of the cauliflower and cut off the stem, but do not cut out the core. Cut cauliflower into one-inch-thick slices, aiming for about three “steaks” from the center. It’s OK if the rest breaks into smaller florets.

Mix flour with one teaspoon salt in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Put eggs in another shallow bowl and panko in a third shallow bowl.

Add 1/4 inch olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.

Working with the larger pieces first, place cauliflower into the flour and turn to coat. Shake off the excess, then dip in the egg to coat. Let the excess egg drip off, then coat thoroughly in the panko.

Fry cauliflower in batches for six to eight minutes, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining pieces of cauliflower.

Spread one cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange fried cauliflower on top, then spoon one cup sauce on top. Arrange mozzarella over the sauce, then spoon remaining marinara over the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake in a 400-degree oven for 35 minutes, until bubbling and lightly browned in spots. Sprinkle with the basil and serve.


Pizza With Cauliflower Crust

1 head cauliflower, stem removed

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup marinara sauce

Sliced bell peppers

Sliced onion


Break cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processor until fine. Line a steamer basket with a kitchen towel (not terrycloth) and set in a saucepan with two inches simmering water. Add cauliflower, cover and cook five minutes. Drain well, then wring dry in the towel to get out all the moisture. Let cool.

In a bowl, combine cauliflower with 1/2 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic powder and eggs. Transfer to the center of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread into a 10-inch circle. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes, until golden.

Spread marinara sauce on the crust, top with bell peppers and onion and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Return to the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.


Kung Pao Cauliflower

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying

3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated

1 medium jalapeño, thinly sliced

One 1-inch piece ginger, minced

2 large eggs

3/4 cup cornstarch

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon roasted and salted peanuts, roughly chopped


Whisk together the sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil in a medium bowl.

Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallion whites and jalapeños and cook three to four minutes, stirring, until jalapeños are soft and seeds start to turn golden brown. Add the ginger and cook one minute, stirring, until soft. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the chili sauce mixture. Bring to a boil and cook one to two minutes, until slightly thickened. Set aside and keep warm.

Fill a large, heavy-bottom pot, fitted with a deep fry thermometer, with two inches of oil and heat to 350 degrees over medium-high heat. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

Whisk together eggs, cornstarch and one tablespoon water in a medium bowl. Fold in cauliflower until well coated. Add one-third of the cauliflower to the oil with a slotted spoon and fry about six minutes, stirring as needed and adjusting the heat to maintain temperature, until golden, crispy and tender on the inside.

Remove cauliflower with a slotted spoon and transfer to the rack. Sprinkle with salt. Fry remaining cauliflower in two more batches, making sure the temperature of the oil comes back to 350 degrees between batches.

Add fried cauliflower, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper to the sauce and gently toss to coat well. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with cilantro, peanuts and reserved scallion greens.


Cauliflower Tortillas

1 small head cauliflower

1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Kosher salt

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Vegetable or olive oil


Remove the leaves and core from the cauliflower. Break florets into small pieces, including any thick stem parts. Transfer half of the cauliflower to a food processor along with half of the mozzarella. Pulse until the cauliflower breaks down and looks like rice. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the remaining cauliflower and mozzarella.

Toss the cauliflower mixture with one teaspoon salt and let sit 10 minutes. Scoop batches of the cauliflower mixture onto a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out any excess moisture. Transfer to another large bowl, then add eggs and mix to combine.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and oil the paper. Scoop level 1/4 cups cauliflower mixture and evenly space six mounds on each baking sheet. Press and spread mixture into rounds about 5 inches wide, making sure there aren’t any holes.

Bake in a 350-degree oven about 20 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until the tortillas are firm and browned on the bottom. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

Wrap and refrigerate as long as five days or freeze for one month.

To use the tortillas for tacos, heat a little oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tortilla and cook  about 30 seconds per side, until warmed through and browned in spots.

To use tortillas for quesadillas, cook as you would a quesadilla made with corn or flour tortillas.


Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

6 slices bacon, cut 1/2-inch thick

2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

4 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

2/3 cup sour cream


Cook bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat for six to seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings.

Put cauliflower florets in a three-quart casserole dish. Toss with reserved bacon drippings, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast in a 425-degree oven about 30 minutes, until florets are soft and begin to brown.

Mix cream cheese and 1 cup cheddar in a medium bowl until well combined. Dollop over the cauliflower, then sprinkle with the remaining cheddar. Bake five to seven minutes, until cauliflower is tender when poked with a knife and cheese is melted and bubbly.

Dollop sour cream evenly over the casserole and sprinkle with the scallions and reserved bacon pieces.


Spicy Cauliflower Wings

1-1/2 cups whole milk

3 large eggs

4 to 6 teaspoons Louisiana-style hot sauce, plus more for serving

2 cups flour

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

4 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Vegetable oil

1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 2 to 3-inch florets

Sliced pickles, for serving

Hot honey, for serving


Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a 250-degree oven.

Whisk milk, eggs and hot sauce in a medium bowl. Stir together the flour, one tablespoon salt and two teaspoons black pepper in another bowl. In a third medium heatproof bowl, stir together melted butter, brown sugar, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder and one teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Fill a medium saucepan halfway with vegetable oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees.

Working in batches of about eight florets at a time, toss cauliflower in the flour mixture, then dip in the milk mixture and dredge again in the flour mixture, allowing the excess to fall off between each step.

Fry six to eight minutes, until deep golden brown, carefully turning as needed. Remove cauliflower with a spider or a slotted spoon and transfer to the rack in the oven to keep warm.

When all the cauliflower is fried, ladle about one cup frying oil into the melted butter mixture and stir. Working in batches, add fried cauliflower to the hot spiced oil, then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a platter. Spoon two to three tablespoons spiced oil over the florets. Serve with pickles, hot honey and more hot sauce.


Roast Cauliflower Steaks

2 heads cauliflower

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 cup fresh parsley, torn


Cut off the cauliflower stems, then place heads cut-side down and slice into 1/2-inch-thick steaks. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Bake in a 435-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown, flipping after the first 10 minutes.

Add pine nuts to a dry medium saute pan and toast over medium heat for three minutes, until golden brown. Add raisins and butter and season with salt. Cook, tossing, until the butter has melted and coats the pine nuts and raisins.

Remove from the heat and stir in parsley.

Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving platter. Pour pine nut-raisin mixture over the top. Season with salt.


Cauliflower Rice

1 large head cauliflower, separated into 1-inch florets

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon


Trim cauliflower florets, cutting away as much stem as possible. In three batches, break florets and place in a food processor, then pulse until the mixture resembles couscous.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. At the first wisp of smoke, add onions and stir to coat. Continue cooking about eight minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown at the edges and have softened. Add cauliflower and stir to combine. Add one teaspoon salt and continue to cook three to five minutes, stirring frequently, until cauliflower has softened. Remove from the heat.

Spoon cauliflower into a large serving bowl, garnish with parsley, sprinkle with lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Serve warm.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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