Cauliflower Comeback!

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For those of you who think that cauliflower is only delicious if eaten under a blanket of cheese, think again! Cauliflower has made a comeback on the menus of family-style restaurants and favorite eateries as an alternative to the higher-carb potato. Who would have thought the bland white vegetable would be such a huge food trend? But interestingly enough those same qualities that make it bland are the ones that make it so versatile!!!

Boasting a mere 29 calories per cup, and a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and fiber, cauliflower deserves its newfound status as a go-to vegetable for side dishes, salads and as part of flavorful stews and main dishes. When cooked and creamed it takes on the texture of mashed potatoes.

Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed or eaten raw. Steaming or microwaving better preserves anticancer compounds than boiling. When cooking, the outer leaves and thick stalks are removed, leaving only the florets. The leaves are also edible, but are most often discarded. The florets should be broken into similar-sized pieces so they are cooked evenly. After eight minutes of steaming, or five minutes of boiling, the florets should be soft, but not mushy (depending on size). Stirring while cooking can break the florets into smaller, uneven pieces.

For speed and ease, these days you can buy cauliflower already riced, or chopped, I always prefer the fresh, but the easy options are just as nutritious!

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 8 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about 1 head)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • ⅓ cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Snipped fresh chives for garnish

Directions

  1. Place cauliflower florets and garlic in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place florets and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl with ¼ cup water, cover and microwave on High for 3 to 5 minutes.)
  2. Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic in a food processor. Add buttermilk, 2 teaspoons oil, butter, salt, and pepper; pulse several times, then process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garnish with chives, if desired. Serve hot.

 

Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt added diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground pepper, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ cup unsalted beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 8 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring often to crumble, until the beef is browned and onion is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in drained tomatoes, Worcestershire, rosemary, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt. Whisk broth and flour in a small bowl; stir into the mixture in the skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place cauliflower and water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium-high; cook until the cauliflower is tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Drain. Add butter, cream and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt; mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth (you will have about 4 cups mashed).
  3. Carefully spoon the mashed cauliflower over the hot mixture in the skillet, gently spreading it over the top (do not mix the 2 layers together). Sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon pepper.
  4. Bake until the top is beginning to brown and the filling is bubbly, 22 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley before serving.

Cauliflower Gratin

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups 2% milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 head Cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup Gruyere Cheese (or Swiss), grated
  • ¾ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
  2. In medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
  3. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the pot and melt completely. Stir in the flour to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is lightly golden in color, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the milk gradually to the pot, using a whisk to combine. Do the same with the cream and then bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Season the sauce with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the cauliflower to the pot and toss well to fully coat.
  6. Pour the entire cauliflower and sauce mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle both grated cheeses over the surface. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is golden, 35 – 40 minutes. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving warm.

Serves 6. Each serving contains Calories 422, Fat 30 g., Carbohydrates 22 g., Protein 19 g., Sugar 10 g.

Taco Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground turkey (or beef)
  • 1 package low sodium Taco Seasoning (or make your own)
  • 4 cups cauliflower, finely chopped
  • 1 cup salsa
  • ½ cup water
  • Optional Toppings; chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocado, chopped lettuce

Directions

  1. Slice the cauliflower head into large chunks, leaving stems on. Use a cheese grater or food processor to coarsely grate the cauliflower to make about 4 cups worth.
  2. Coat a non-stick skillet set over medium heat with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Add the ground turkey, and cook, breaking up and stirring the meat until it is browned.
  4. Add the taco seasoning and cauliflower, stir until well combined.
  5. Add the salsa and water and stir again, cover the pan and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is cooked to your preference. Serve with your choice of toppings.

Easy Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2½ Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Dash of black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Rinse and dry cauliflower; break into small florets (Don’t toss the stems. Instead, chop into small pieces).
  2. Add cauliflower, olive oil, salt and pepper to a bowl, and stir to evenly coat the cauliflower. Pour onto a roasting pan.
  3. Roast in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring and flipping cauliflower every 15 minutes. Cauliflower is done when it’s lightly browned and fork-tender. (I like mine extra brown).