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Calorie Count Blog

A Vehicle for the Cheese


By +Janice D'Agostino on Oct 14, 2011 10:00 AM in Recipes

Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education. - Mark Twain

"Cauliflower is ok as a vehicle for the cheese." That is my husband's opinion on the wonderful, and in my opinion, very tasty friend to the person on a quest to reduce calories and raise her overall level of nutrition. Yes it's a pale ivory white, and food that is white in color is so often not only fairly bland in flavor but also a bit short of nutrition. This is one instance though, where a white food is very nutritious; and as to the bland taste, well it's all in how you cook the thing. In the hope that my husband's attitude might just be the result of too many years of eating cauliflower smothered in a “cheese product” instead of real cheese and probably overcooked to the point of mush, I started a search for tastier ways to serve cauliflower.

To make this increased and eventually weekly cauliflower eating a bit less scary to him, I began with a real cheese and cauliflower dish that the British have been making for a long time - Cauliflower Cheese. It’s their version of the American Mac ‘n Cheese, and like the Mac ‘n Cheese, is often served as the main dish. At first, I was worried that huge loads of cheese equals high fat and calories so I wouldn't be able to enjoy a huge pile of it. Then I realized that replacing the macaroni with cauliflower made all the difference in the world to the nutrition and the calories so I searched about and found a number of great variations, made a few minor tweaks of my own, and decided to start him on the road to cauliflower appreciation with little cheesy baby steps.

Cauliflower is one of those fantastically good for you cruciferous vegetables (as is broccoli). Calorie Count's nutrition breakdown on cauliflower is a clear indicator that we all need to eat more white food as long as it is cauliflower. Make the servings large so you can get as much as possible of the amazing number of nutrients held within like vitamin C, K, and even calcium. The World’s Healthiest Foods has a terrific description of all the currently known health benefits of cauliflower. Don’t forget to save the trimmed stems of fresh cauliflower for use when making stock. You can steam, boil, simmer, microwave, sauté, bake, and roast this delicious (no matter what my husband says) veggie. Here are a few recipes to try.

Bubbles Cauliflower Salad is simple and a terrific way to stay full on fewer calories. 

Buggy’s Cauliflower and Potato Soup was a low fat hit with both my husband and son!

Roasted Cauliflower is a wonderful tasty way to prepare cauliflower. Roasting brings out a terrific nutty flavor in the veggie.

Janice’s Cauliflower Cheese really surprised me when this got a B- in the nutrition analysis, so maybe the cheese is happily countered by the cauliflower – and both husband and son said it was the best cauliflower recipe yet. 

Give this terrific low cal low fat Roasted Cauliflower with Mustard and Onions a try soon! I found it at a nice place where cooks share their recipes called My Recipes. BTW - mustard - dry or prepared - is a terrific way to season cauliflower.

Vegetarian Times makes the most interesting use of cauliflower in their Potato and Cauliflower Burrito Recipe. In fact, they have several wonderful ideas for cauliflower, so check them all out until you find one you just love.

If you haven't tried cauliflower since you were young and some well intentioned but unfortunately pushy relative insisted that you sit at the table until you eat some poorly prepared white mush that sat getting cold as you poked at it on your plate, look at as many modern cauliflower recipes as you can until you find one that sounds like it has potential and then give it another try. Once you fall in love with cauliflower, you don't have to tell the relative that you are now a cauliflower eater, it will be our little secret.

Your thoughts….

Are you pro or anti-cauliflower? If you used to hate it but now love it, what recipe made you love it? What is your favorite way to prepare cauliflower to get the most flavor with the least amount of fat? Do you have a favorite seasoning to add to cauliflower? If you are counting to gain weight, what is your favorite way to prepare cauliflower to ramp up the calories and fat? Do you like it raw or must it be cooked? Has anyone tried grilling cauliflower? If you have a recipe you'd like to share at CC Palate, send it to me in a pm here.



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Comments


Cauliflower rice is delicious and really easy - just whizz it up in a food processor, microwave it for 4-5 minutes, then voila!  A great substitute for rice or couscous which tastes great Smile



As a sub for mashed potatoes- looks the same at least!  my friend would bake the whole head w/ butter and corn flake crumbs on top- delish!  for some reason, the corn flake crumbs were way better than normal bread crumbs, gave it the right mix of textures (but never tried panko).



My favorite way to eat cauliflower is in teriyaki stir fry.  It is one of those veggies that just soaks in the flavor of any sauce.  yum!



We grew what we thought for ages were oversized cabbages and were delighted when we discovered they were cauliflowers! We did cauliflower cheese (Brit style) with one and a huge aloo gobi with the other. Cauliflower works brilliantly in Indian curries. While they were growing the leaves were a great alternative to spring greens/kale, really irony.



I just love cauliflower cheese. 

I save water from steaming veggies and use half and half with milk to make the sauce. It adds amazing flavour!

I also recommend adding a handful of pumpkin seeds or pine nuts.



Roasted, steamed, mashed with Yukon gold potatoes, pureed, raw, it doesn't matter. I LOVE cauliflower.  My husband has been cooking for several years, and he's always trying new recipes that include some form of it. 



I love cauliflower and will eat it any way it's going, although I do tend to blanche it or even eat it raw.

I'm not too sure about the accuracy of the article's take on British cauliflower cheese. I live in London and have never eaten it as a main (or ever seen it as a main) nor is it our version of macaroni and cheese, we have macaroni with a cheese sauce which is our version of macaroni and cheese. Although I do agree making the cheese sauce from scratch is much nicer than using some processed substitute.

When I make cauliflower and cheese, to save on a few calories, I make it with a white sauce (using light margerine, flour and skimmed milk with salt and pepper to taste) and sprinkle the top with cheese and cayenne pepper, then bake in the oven. You could also do this with brocolli, or mix cauliflower and brocolli.



I make Cauliflower Soup, which is just a basic cauliflower, onion and (a fair amount) garlic.  I boil these in a light chicken stock for 30 mins (ish).  I then puree it and add a little coconut milk.  This can either be the canned variety, about 1/2 cup (you can freeze the rest, don't be put off by the seperating) or I've started to use dried, about the same amount.  It's smooth and creamy.

 



Oh, and you can make a white sauce base without butter too.  You mix the flour with a little of the milk cold and then add the rest and heat gently.  It gives the same effect but without the fat, which is fine if you're going to add cheese anyway.  And a teaspoon of dijon mustard makes it a bit more interesting.  Try using different cheeses too.  A mix of cheddar with some blue cheese for a change.



Personal favourite of mine is spraying on a little olive oil, sprinkling on chilli flakes, paprika and a tad of salt and pepper on a roasting tray with red onion, butternut squash and red pepper then roasting it all for ~40min at gas mark 7.

SO DELICIOUS.

ALSO don't forget to roast the leaves closest to the floret! They taste great! People usually just chuck em away...



I'm on my way to Pubix now guys........................................................ ...........!



I discovered a great low(er) calorie version of cauliflower cheese where the sauce is made from half fat creme fraiche and cheddar, as follows:

  • 1 large cauliflower cut into florets
  • 100ml half-fat crème fraîche
  • 85g cheddar , grated
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

cook the cauliflower in boiling water for 5 mins until tender. Drain and tip into a bowl with the mustard, crème fraîche and two-thirds of the cheese and give it all a good mix. Sprinkle with a little more cheddar and then stick it under a hot grill for 5 mins until bubbling and golden.

I eat as a main!

 



I am definitely making your cauliflower cheese recipe this weekend.  I don't eat pasta anymore and I really miss a big ol' pile of mac n cheese on my plate.  Even my husband would like this recipe.  Thanks!!!



Has anyone else used mashed cauliflower to sub for mashed potatoes?  More nutrition, fewer calories, and a surprisingly similar taste/constancy!



I lived in Britain for nearly 40 years and can agree that cauliflower cheese is used as a side dish.  I cut down on the fat by making a simple white sauce with semi skimmed milk and cornflour (corn starch), add a teaspoon of English mustard and about two-3 ounces of cheese ( a sharp cheddar is good), steam your cauli till just tender, pop in a baking dish, pour over sauce and top with about 3 ounces of the remaining cheese.  My family grew up eating this and still love it! 



I can't get enough cauliflower fresh off the barbecue grill, you can lightly coat it with olive oil, though that's not even necessary, and just get a light golden color to it..and wow.. it's soooo good. 



I've always loved cauliflower.  We're Hungarian so they way my family always made it was to bake it whole with some thinned sour cream and toasted breadcrumbs sprinkled on top.  Everybody loved it.  We also had delicious cauliflower soup with little crouton dumplings in it.  Could never understand why my North American friends would eat mushy cauliflower drowned in cheese sauce!  No wonder they didn't like the stuff!



I'm definitely pro-cauliflower. It was the first vegetable I like as a child. My favorite way to eat it is in an Indian dish called Gobi Aloo which has cauliflower, potatoes, garlic, ginger, and a bunch of other spices. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.



 My all time favorite cauliflower dish is an Indian-style (not sure if it's authentic or not) side my mom always called "curry cauliflower".  You start off by slicing an onion into half moons and sauteing them in about 3 tablespoons of a neutral flavored unsaturated oil of some kind (I like grape seed).  Cook the onions until they're transparent then toss in a good two tablespoons or so of garam masala (get at an indian/middle eastern market, buy it on line, or make your own) and let that cook a little while until it's fragerent.  If you like it really hot toss some chili flakes or cayanne in there along with the garam masala.  Then dump in a chopped head of cauliflower and saute for a couple minutes.  Next add a can of diced tomatoes juice and all.  Clamp the lid on and let it simmer partially covered for about 15 or 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and the fluid in the pan has reduced a bit.  If the pan starts to go dry before the cauliflower is finished cooking just add back a little water and keep cooking.  Season with salt and lots of black pepper.  Fantastic accompaniment to a grilled leg of lamb.



I go to this site for all my favorite Indian Recipes, but I slightly modify to my taste.You can replace to cauliflower to any of the veg curry recipe :)

 

http://showmethecurry.com/category/curries



Love Indian vegetable dishes!  Cauliflower lends itself so well to these dishes.



I love roasted cauliflower with olive oil and Mrs. Dash Onion YUM



its one of the best veges...

In an indian recipe " pav bhaji" we use as many veges as we wish according to taste and its very healthy...with least calories. can b eaten with bread," pav" as we call it or by itself with dash of lemon... has any one tried it?

 



Best article I ever read! And thanks everyone for sharing your recipes! I will definitely start eating my cauliflower again. My husband is not a fan. Maybe the cheese?

I want to try and rice the flower with the cheese sauce. I also have a pizza crust recipe to share:

http://www.eat-drink-smile.com/2011/04/cauliflower-crust-piz za.html/print/

You can use Cheddar instead of the mozzarella too!



Original Post by: mmmkay

Has anyone else used mashed cauliflower to sub for mashed potatoes?  More nutrition, fewer calories, and a surprisingly similar taste/constancy!


Yes! I discovered this use for this versatile veggie by mistake when I over cooked some cauliflower and decided to really mash it up. I left just a hint of texture by not doing a total mash. Over the years I have added all sorts of seasonings, low fat milk, dried hard cheese. It carries flavors well and if I have having a fairly bland meat dish I add red pepper flakes to the cauliflower as contrast.



I haven't tried it but will if I get a chance.  Shall have a look on the 'Show me the Curry' site and see if they have a recipe.  Polo1... thanks for the link!  I have been looking for some really good curry recipes and one for Naan Bread!



I love cauliflower. I ate it for dinner last night, and lunch today. YUM. I love making mashed cauliflower as a healthier and low calorie substitute for mashed potatoes. But steamed cauliflower is the best. I usually only add a little I can't believe it's not butter spray and some cracked pepper.



I like using cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes. (Beyond not wanting the extra calories etc of potatoes, I've discovered I actually have a mild allergy to this once-favorite food of mine).

 

Steam the cauliflower til it's quite mushy, then pop it into a food processor with salt and pepper to taste and a good amount of parmesan cheese (also to taste) and sour cream or fat free plain yogurt (I prefer using the yogurt as a sour cream substitute).



The thing about cauliflower is it makes cheddar taste MORE cheddary. I love Jamie Oliver's mac and cheese recipe that includes it, but would use a whole head of cauliflower, not half: http://www.culinate.com/books/collections/all_books/jamies_f ood_revolution/macaroni_and_cauliflower_cheese_bake

I've also roasted cauliflower in a cast iron with whole black mustard seeds, whole cumin seeds, slices of garlic, s& p, and olive oil. Don't forget about orange, green and purple cauliflower!



Original Post by: philfan1

I'm on my way to Pubix now guys........................................................ ...........!


Please tell me you meant Publix, not Pubix!



Original Post by: quiltmom

I haven't tried it but will if I get a chance.  Shall have a look on the 'Show me the Curry' site and see if they have a recipe.  Polo1... thanks for the link!  I have been looking for some really good curry recipes and one for Naan Bread!


You are welcome, another thing for any Indian spices, check in Indian Grocery stores than Whole Foods or Trader Joes, they are cheap and you get all sorts of spices.



It is not that I don't like it, I am just not in the habit of using it, will look forward to buying it and experimenting with it!!



Bottom line is that Cauliflower Cheese is nothing but another fat laden dish. It has 314 calories per cup and nearly 22 grams of fat including 13 grams of saturated fat.  I'm really surprised that Calorie Count would make this a feature item.

If you are really craving a food like mac & cheese, pick the appropriate time, and make it a reward or treat for yourself. For heaven's sake, good old fashioned mac & cheese  is 340 cals per cup, 18 grams of fat, including 11 saturated. Less fat and barely more calories than the cauliflower cheese that I doubt eliminates the craving for someone who really loves their mac & cheese.

 



Original Post by: justmeonline

Bottom line is that Cauliflower Cheese is nothing but another fat laden dish. It has 314 calories per cup and nearly 22 grams of fat including 13 grams of saturated fat.  I'm really surprised that Calorie Count would make this a feature item.

If you are really craving a food like mac & cheese, pick the appropriate time, and make it a reward or treat for yourself. For heaven's sake, good old fashioned mac & cheese  is 340 cals per cup, 18 grams of fat, including 11 saturated. Less fat and barely more calories than the cauliflower cheese that I doubt eliminates the craving for someone who really loves their mac & cheese.

 


I altered the recipe

1 (840 g)  cauliflower (head,+large+(6-7"+dia))
1 1/4 cup skim milk
8 oz fat free cheddar cheese
3 T flour
4 T brummel and brown
1/2 cup breadcrumb
1/2 t dried mustard
1/8 t nutmeg
black pepper
1/2 t paprika



Eat the  cauliflower drop the cheese.



brummel and brown??????????????????????????



its in cc butter n yogurt product, great butter subsitute



When pureeing!!! cauli, I use a hand blender. Add squeeze of lemon, and about 2tsp olive oil, and season to taste.

Looks like mashed potato on the plate, but tastes divine... We don't use potatoes now, just substitute  with the cauli puree, and use with kumera (sweet potato). Could eat it every night.

 

 



Sounds like a tasty dish. Will try, thanks.



i make roasted cauliflower, eat it raw as a dipper with hummus or baba ghanouj, and i use it to make a mashed potato style side, using some potatoes with peel, cauliflower, an turnip, boil and mash it with nonfat plain greek yogurt and season with salt and pepper- this has become my go to replacement for my former favorite comfort food!



Easy Quick Cauliflower Recipe

Cut 1/2 head cauliflower into flowerettes and cook in a little salted water until crisp tender.  Pour off water and throw in 2 wedges of Laughing Cow Tomato and Basil Light Cheese.  Salt and pepper to taste and stir until cheese melts and is distributed.



I think this is a dreadful statement to make.  I make a much lower fat/calorie version which we have enjoyed for years.  No I don't use tonnes of cheese, I use roughly 6 oz. !  No butter in the white sauce and the cauli is excellent for you. PLUS, I don't top with fatty breadcrumbs.   Mac cheese is done the same and it can be made with a healthier pasta.  We use the correct amount per person.  It isn't something we eat every day.

No one says you have to eat it.  But for others who still want comforting food, just add up the cals of the individual components.



We make Cauliflower salad with a bit of fresh or desiccated coconut and mustard seeds. You need to roast mustard seeds and coconut slightly and add to lightly steamed and finely chopped cauliflower. Add salt and pepper to taste and lastly a bit a lime juice.


i use cauliflower for my noodles with spageht. sauce.



My husband and I are sitting down for left-overs of the Cauliflower Cheese dish.  It is delicious!  I have been a fresh veggie cauliflower eater in the past, so I am excited about finding this recipe.  Thank you!!! 



I'm a big fan of cauliflour soup myself, I add either nutmeg or allspice. Brit style cauliflour and cheese is also a favourite of mine. A friend of mine who cannot eat wheat makes this really fabulous pizza dough made from grated cauliflour.


I eat mashed cauliflower about every week. I have taken the popular "low carb" option served at Ruby Tuesdays and tweeked it a bit to make it just a little more palatable. I use my portable rice steamer and steam whole head about 15 mins. I then mash lightly and stir in salt, pepper, cheddar cheese and some low fat sour cream while it is still hot. Tastes BETTER than traditional mashed potatos says the husband.



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