“Eat your veggies.” No matter what your diet is, Mom’s words were wise. Eating a wide variety of vegetables means you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients. But health isn’t the only reason to embrace eating more vegetables. When you put meat in the backseat—or if you strip away meat products altogether—you can better appreciate vegetables’ earthy, nuanced flavors. Cauliflower is one of those vegetable workhorses, and it shines in dishes associated with cuts of meat. Here are some of the less traditional ways we like to use it.
6 Unusual Ways to Use Cauliflower
The most dramatic reimagining of cauliflower is as steak. Our Cauliflower Steaks with Salsa Verde feature a plate-size cross-section of deeply browned cauliflower. A superhot oven yields tender, meaty, and caramelized cauliflower—perfect for brushing with fragrant salsa verde as you would a thick-cut beef steak.
How to Cut Cauliflower Into Steaks
1. Halve the cauliflower lengthwise through the core.
2. Cut one 1½-inch-thick slab from each cauliflower half
Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Crispy coated florets stand in for chunks of chicken in our Buffalo Cauliflower Bites. We use a combination of cornstarch and cornmeal to get an ultracrisp exterior that holds up under a layer of Buffalo sauce.
Our Baja-Style Cauliflower Tacos take the flavors of a true Baja California taco and replace the fish with cauliflower. We also found a way to avoid the messy deep-frying: Cut the cauliflower into large florets and coat them first in coconut milk and then a mixture of coconut and panko. After that, roast the coated florets in a 450-degree oven.
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This shape-shifter of a vegetable approximates cooked white rice surprisingly well, providing a neutral-flavored but more nutrient-dense companion to all sorts of dishes. We found that the key to cauliflower rice was to blitz the florets in a food processor until transformed into perfect rice-size granules.
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
It might sound strange, but cauliflower is a main ingredient in our Creamy Cashew Mac and Cheese recipe, which uses its light, silken texture as the base for a decadent, pasta-coating sauce.
Cauliflower Pizza Topping
Other vegetables like onions and mushrooms are great, but consider sweet, caramelized cauliflower next time you’re choosing your pizza toppings. Chop the cauliflower then cook it on the stovetop until tender and browned around the edges. It will get slightly more browned and flavorful under the broiler, as the pizza bakes
What’s your favorite way to eat cauliflower? Let us know in the comments! View all of our cauliflower recipes, and see more coverage of healthy cooking in these articles: