With plant-powered foods on the rise in the last decade, cauliflower's taste and texture have been used to transform some classic dishes into low-carb alternatives that are just as tasty.
Today, many creative recipes focus on this vegetable as the star of the show. That's because the cluster of florets that make up a cauliflower head are quite versatile lending themselves well to many appetizers or even as the main course.
As a replacement for high-carb foods cauliflower hits the mark because of its milder taste and ability to take on flavor via any sauces and seasonings you put on it.
Whether you're on a vegan, gluten-free, keto diet or just trying to cut down on your carbohydrate intake, cauliflower may be a simple vegetable to experiment with.
Here are the top unusual yet creative ways to use this common cruciferous variety.
And, spoiler alert... chickpea flour complements cauliflower in 3 of these recipes.
Cauliflower rice first became well-known many years ago, originally called cauliflower "couscous" because it resembles couscous more than rice grains.
It has become so popular that some brands even sell pre-made cauliflower rice that's ready to go.
However, most home cooks find that it's super easy to make homemade style.
There are two basic ways to make cauliflower rice. One is using a box grater. Two is using a food processor with either the S-blade or grating blade attachment.
It all depends on which is more convenient for you and the quantity you are making. The essential idea is that you want to break up the cauliflower into rice-size pieces.
To develop a firm rice-like texture, you must press out as much liquid as you can after the ricing process. There is usually quite a lot and we have found it is sometimes better if you do this step in two batches.
We use a fine mesh bag (otherwise known as a nut milk bag) for this, but you can likewise use fine cheesecloth or a thin cotton towel instead.
Serve as a side dish with a protein or as a main course. You can use it to make a cold salad like tabbouleh as a couscous replacement. Cauliflower rice will last for about 4-5 days in the fridge in an airtight container and it also freezes well.
This is a great way to have it on hand whenever you need it or for making some of the following trendy cauliflower recipes.
Cauliflower pizza crusts are definitely all the rage these days as the cauli"power" trend continues to thrive on. There are tons of commercial varieties available, fresh or frozen.
The problem is that they are super expensive for just one small-size crust and there are currently no organic options. Why not make your own for less money with higher-quality ingredients?
Most homemade versions include lots of cheese in the crust as a binder. But we came up with a cheese-less crust using binders such as chickpea flour, arrowroot and psyllium to get just the right texture.
When this dough is pressed out and baked for 20 minutes, it develops a thick sturdy crust that doesn't fall apart and holds toppings very well. Moreover, the chickpea flour and cauliflower combo provides the perfect tasty crust-worthy flavor!
You can use one egg or make a "flax egg" for a totally vegan option, using 1T flax meal to 3T water.
This cauliflower pizza crust recipe makes about a 9-inch pizza (1/4 of an inch thick) which is about the serving size for one or two people. You can double this batch and make an extra crust which can be frozen for later use.
One of the trendy cauliflower recipes in the last several years is buffalo cauliflower. They are obviously a take on the infamous American-inspired side-dish "buffalo wings", which originated in Buffalo, New York.
Instead of chicken wings, however, cauliflower is the main event that's battered and then coated in the same spicy buffalo sauce. It's often found as a vegan option on restaurant appetizer menus.
While they are typically deep fried, this is a baked version but you can also use an air fryer.
Buffalo cauliflower makes a great appetizer and is traditionally served with celery sticks and a ranch-style or blue cheese dressing.
Looking for a tasty alternative to traditional mashed potatoes? Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that when mashed has a surprisingly similar consistency. This concept, way back in the day, was originally made "raw style" combining cashew butter with raw food processed cauliflower.
Today, cooked versions have become very popular. This recipe is lower in carbs and a suitable option for keto diets or those just wanting a new way to use cauliflower.
There are a few secrets to getting the right texture. Most cauliflower mashed potato recipes call for a lot of cheese to achieve this goal. Our recipe, however, is dairy-free using other ingredients.
Serve hot with olive oil drizzle and garnish with fresh cracked black pepper and chopped chives. You can incorporate other spices like garlic, dill and saffron.
Tater tots are a classic American side dish that many people enjoy. Usually made with potatoes, hence the "tater" reference, we make these using our cauliflower rice recipe mixed up with other favorites and spices. Then we dredge them in bread crumbs for a crispy air-fried tot experience.
Serve hot with a tomato-based sauce.
We remember cauliflower popcorn way back in the mid-2000s when the raw food diet was at its prime. It was made by cutting up cauliflower into popcorn-like pieces, tossing it with oil and seasonings, then dehydrating it overnight or about 12 hours.
Today, other methods are used like air frying or baking, but we still prefer this original technique using a dehydrator. This recipe is up there with our dehydrated chickpeas, both great snack substitutes when you get the craving.
Cauliflower popcorn can be stored in an airtight container in a pantry location. This is the simple version but you can also add other spices like cayenne, paprika, oregano or turmeric.