Most of us find cauliflower fairly user friendly- it's not too exotic, we're accustomed to seeing and using it, and I imagine many of you have your go-to cauli dishes. Let's peel back the (edible!) leaves and take a closer look at this cruciferous creation for some new inspiration.
Cauliflower is a cool weather loving staple, related to kale, cabbage and broccoli- all hail the cruciferous vegetables, nutritional heavyweights!
While most of the cauliflower heads we see are white, they actually come in different gorgeous colours- purple, orange, yellow and dayglow green.
Cauliflower florets aren't the only edible part; the leaves and stalks are great, too. While growing, the leaves act as a shade, protecting the cauliflower head, which is actually an undeveloped flower, and thereby inhibiting the production of chlorophyll which would damage the immature flower 'curd'.
Remove leaves from the cauliflower head at the base using a sharp knife, and set them aside. If you're using the cauliflower whole, in something like Spice Rubbed Whole Baked Cauliflower, leave as is. If you're making a dish requiring smaller florets, such as Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Bites, use your knife to carefully cut into smaller sections, following the natural forms of the florets. If your aim is a Cauliflower Rice or Flour, chop into floret size first, and later process down using a grater or food processor. Trim away any mildewy bits, and the tough outer fibrous layer of the large stalk; the inner core is soft and can used like a floret.
Once leaves are separated and cauliflower is chopped as desired, rinse it all under cold water to dislodge any remaining dirt or clingy green caterpillars (hey, they like it, too!). Air or pat dry with a clean cloth tea towel before using, so spices etc will stick well. And yes, the stalks and leaves are delicious and nutritious- look at it like bonus food.
If you're still haunted by pungent smells after being subjected to boiled, mushy cauliflower as an afterthought side dish, let me assure you that cauli can be absolutely delicious, and with very little extra effort required.
Raw cauliflower is great for dipping, takes well to salads dressed in lemony, mustardy, or creamy dressings, and is awesome pickled.
-Chopped Cauliflower & Broccoli Salad w/ Sunflower Seeds and Raisins
-Cauli and Chickpea Picnic Salad w/ a Sweet Mustard Sauce
-Spicy Pickled Escabeche of Cauliflower w/ Jalapeños
-Cauliflower Florets w/ Rich Caramelised Onion Dip
-Mexican Chopped Salad w/ Lime, Coriander and Black Beans
Cooked cauliflower has endless applications. Roast it- always a winner. Bake it whole. Steam it. Toss it in the food processor and whizz until it's the texture of rice grains, then sautèe. Steam it. Grill it. Add it to creamy cheese sauces.
-Simple Curry Roasted Cauliflower Florets
-Battered and Baked Buffalo Cauliflower 'Wings'
-Moroccan Spice Rubbed Whole Baked Cauliflower
-Creamy Cauliflower Custard (see recipe archives for a Cauli Custard Topped Bake)
-Cauliflower Rice Sushi
-Blackened Cauli Mac'n'Cheese
-Cauliflower and Root Veg Mash
-Luscious Cauliflower Soup
-Cauliflower Crust Pizza w/ Pesto
-Coconut & Cauliflower Thai Curry
-Indian Spiced Cauliflower, Potato & Kale Samosas
-Miso Cauliflower & Walnut Tacos (see recipe archives)
-Roasted Cauliflower & Cashew Salad
-Easy Steamed Cauli w/ Cultured Herb Butter (see recipe archives)
-Grain Bowls with Cauliflower, Tempeh and Sautèed Green, w/ Spicy Peanut Sauce
- Cauliflower Steaks w/ Wild Mushroom Gravy
Cauliflower Leaves have a texture reminiscent of cabbage or bok choi, and make substitutes or additions to either. They're delicious roasted and can easily be tossed in with the florets.
- Crispy Roasted Cauliflower Leaves & Florets w/ Aioli
- Cabbage & Cauli Leaf Slaw
- Silky Miscellaneous Green Soup
- Chunky Borscht w/ Beetroot & Cauliflower Leaf
- Creamy Cauliflower Potato Soup Topped w/ Cauli Leaf Chips
- Cauliflower Leaf Dolmades Stuffed w/ Lemony Rice & Dates
Wrap unwashed whole cauliflower in a reusable cloth bag and store in your refrigerator. A head of cauliflower should last in the fridge for about a week, and shopped florets about 4 days. You can also freeze it: blanch cauli in boiling water and then plunge into ice water. Drain and put into freezer friendly containers.
Have questions about cauliflower or another unknown vegetable from your box?
Need inspiration for something new to do with the tried-and-true? Made one of the shared recipes? Let us know! Message or tag @streamsideorganics and @nakedcakesandwholefoods
Created by Elena Keir of Naked Cakes and Wholefoods