A Vehicle for the Cheese
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.
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.