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The Versatility Of Cauliflower

Dish - Mushrooms Risotto

By Elke Probkevitz

It’s a new year and a new chance to kick-start your diet with healthy choices and low-carb, nutritious veggies. Cauliflower is such a delicious, versatile vegetable. It is not only good as a healthy side for your favorite protein. It can be transformed to stand in for your starchy sides so you won’t even miss your potatoes or rice. Here are some ideas for what to do with this cruciferous, nutritious veggie.

  1. Cauliflower has a natural sweetness that is brought out when cooked in dishes like soup. Sauté or roast before blending into the soup, add different spices like cumin and coriander, or make it creamy with coconut milk. Combine with other veggies to change up the flavors or keep it straight-up cauliflower. Adding toasted almonds will add body and complement the cauliflower’s natural flavors.

Fritters and pancakes. Just as you would make a potato latke, use thinly sliced or shredded cauliflower in place of potatoes to make a pancake. Combine with onion, egg, garlic powder, and almond flour for a delicious nutty fritter.

In place of rice or quinoa. One of the most amazing ways to transform cauliflower is to pulse it in a food processor into tiny pieces and use it as a stand-in for rice dishes. It cooks much quicker and is a great substitute for dieters. Call it rice or quinoa—either way you might just fool your diners into thinking it’s the real thing.

Chicken substitute. In chicken dishes like wings or stir-fries, use cauliflower florets and treat them similarly. A sweet, smoky glaze for wings is delicious on roasted cauliflower florets. Make a sweet-and-sour Chinese cauliflower dish with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and brown sugar. Serve over brown rice garnished with scallions.

  1. Use cauliflower in place of potatoes in a creamy, cheesy dish. Cook cauliflower till tender, sauté garlic, and mash together. Add salt, pepper, and shredded cheddar and bake in a baking dish for 30 minutes till golden.
  2. Slice cauliflower into thick slices, or steaks, for a vegetarian main. Roast, grill, or sear the steaks until fully cooked and browned nicely. The steaks can be served over cauliflower purée, drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar, or served with a delicious flavorful pesto.

Cheese sticks and crusts. Cauliflower can be used to make a dough to make low-carb cheesy breadsticks or a pizza dough. Finely chop cauliflower in a food processor. Microwave to steam the cauliflower, then strain liquid. Combine with egg, garlic, Parmesan, mozzarella, basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet and form into a thick rectangle. Bake for 20 minutes to set into breadsticks and slice up, or use as crust for pizza. v

Cauliflower–Shiitake Risotto


1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 Tbsp. fresh thyme

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


Place cauliflower into a food processor with metal blade and pulse to form rice-sized pieces. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat and sauté onion, mushrooms, garlic, and thyme until softened, 5–7 minutes. Add cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Add vegetable broth and Parmesan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and broth is absorbed, 12–15 minutes. Add lemon juice and parsley. Serve warm with extra Parmesan.

Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to, or visiting


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Posted by on January 15, 2015. Filed under In This Week's Edition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.