Cauliflower Week: The wallflower steps out

For me, things like kale, sweet potatoes, Greek yogurt, spinach, nut butters, beans, and carrots are always top of mind. They get scribbled onto our grocery list week in and week out, and their absence in the fridge or pantry is immediately noticed. But on the other end of the spectrum is a food that rarely emerges from the recesses of my edible memory, one that when I stumble upon a recipe using it, I honestly think, “Oh, right, people eat that.”

Cauliflower doesn’t really deserve the wallflower treatment – inside those nubbly white florets are the nutrients common to the cruciferous vegetable family to which it belongs. Plants in this family are rich in sulphoraphanes (or in cauliflower’s case, precursor glucosinolates), which are associated with a lower risk of many cancers. But what finally snapped my neck in cauliflower’s direction was not the nutrition nerdery, but a simple roasted cauliflower soup:

Thick, earthy, and crunchy with the hazelnut topping, this soup from Sprouted Kitchen was all that. The mushroom-y flavor makes no sense (because there are none in there), but it is fantastic. The leftovers were nearly turned into a 10:00 am lunch, I was so eager to dive back in.

That may be a soup that could launch a thousand ships, including a roasted cauliflower, mushroom and kale salad I threw together tonight. Recreating the well-roasted, nutmeg-dusted cauliflower and adding some additional earthiness from mushrooms and kale was a nice warm accompaniment to dinner (although, one that could have used a clove or two more of garlic).

There are numerous inventive recipes to share, and one of the more inspired uses for the white wonder comes from Eat Drink Smile: a cauliflower-crust pizza.

If you’ve eaten a Korean scallion pancake, the texture will be familiar. So while it’s not a 1-for-1 pizza crust replacement, it is a novel way to slather a crunchy-soft triangle with tasty toppings.

The rest of those recipes to bring cauliflower out into the spotlight? Those are right here:

  • Carmelized cauliflower soup from Sprouted Kitchen (here)
  • Cauliflower crust pizza from Eat Drink Smile (here)
  • Cauliflower bites with cheddar mustard sauce from Cinnamon Girl Spice (here)
  • Cauliflower gratin from Kalyn’s Kitchen (here)
  • Popcorn cauliflower from Food.com (here)
  • Basmati rice and curry casserole (with cauliflower) from Eating Well (here)
  • Roasted cauliflower, mushroom and kale salad (recipe follows below)

Roasted cauliflower with mushrooms and kale (text file here)

This might be tasty with some parmesan cheese or crushed hazelnuts on top (or both, if you’re living dangerously).

(4 servings, approx. 100 calories each)

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
8-10 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 large bunch of kale, ribs removed and roughly torn into small pieces
½ tsp grated nutmeg
1 ½ Tbs olive oil, divided
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Leaves from 4-6 sprigs of thyme
Ground black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 450F degrees.

Toss the cauliflower with the nutmeg and ½ Tbs olive oil. Spread out on a foil-lined baking sheet, and put them in the oven.

Toss the mushrooms with the garlic, thyme and ½ Tbs olive oil. After the cauliflower has roasted for 15-20 minutes, remove the baking sheet and add the mushroom mixture, stirring to distribute everything. Back into the oven the baking sheet goes, for another 15-20 minutes.

Add the last ½ Tbs of olive oil to the kale, and use your hands to massage it in for a couple minutes. Divide the kale among four bowls.

When the cauliflower and mushrooms are done, divvy them up on top of the kale. Grind a little black pepper over the top and serve.

5 comments

  1. Kalyn says:

    I’m a big cauliflower fan, and agree it deserves more attention. Thanks for including my cauliflower gratin!

  2. Thanks for the cauliflower tips! It’s such a healthy and affordable vegetable that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

  3. cauliflower says:

    Never heard of that although i really enjoy reading stuff about cauliflower. Thanks anyways. Bye, Silvia.

  4. This sounds delicious. Nice to meet you fellow redux’er :)

  5. […] what lit a fire under my butt in March two years ago? It was pretty prolific, with posts including Cauliflower Week, a post where Miles picked out new recipes to try, and the Recipe ReDux Cabot Cheese contest which […]

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