Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vegetable of the Week: Cauliflower

I love cauliflower. I think it's underrated in the vegetable world. Sure, butternut squash and mushrooms and tomatoes are sexier, but I am here to contend that the humble cauliflower is just as delicious and nutritious. You wouldn't think that cauliflower is very nutritionally dense being that it's white, like potatoes (which are very good for you as well), but it is high in fiber, folate, vitamin C, and according to Wikipedia, sulforaphane- an anti-cancer compound.

My favorite way to eat cauliflower is to roast it. I first had this at Thanksgiving a few years ago at my Grannie's, and I make it all the time now. All it needs is a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a hot oven and the little white trees get crispy, browned, and nutty tasting. The soup that I am sharing with you today is super easy and delicious too. Bonus- the cauliflower makes it creamy without any cream! So, if I haven't convinced you to give cauliflower another try, below are some more recipes from my bookmarks that I want to make featuring our friend the cauliflower.

Oh, and it all that wasn't enough, it also makes a good Halloween costume in a pinch.

Penne and Cauliflower with Mustard Breadcrumbs
Oriccheitte with Cauliflower, Anchovies, and Fried Croutons
Sausage-Cauliflower Spaghetti
Roasted Cauliflower with Panko and Pecorino
Potato and Cauliflower Curry
Cauliflower Risotto
Curried Cauliflower Fritters (which I will probably never make- as you may recall I don't deep fry at home. Or anywhere else for that matter)

Serves 3-4

  • olive oil
  • 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed of leaves and cut into large chunks
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, washed well and sliced into half moons
  • chicken stock
  • milk
  • salt
  • ground white pepper*
  • croutons to garnish, if desired

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add leeks, cook until just softened but not browned. Add cauliflower. Pour in enough chicken stock to halfway cover vegetables, add milk until vegetables are just covered. Bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer until cauliflower is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender, or in a regular blender (careful- it's hot!) until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper. Top with croutons and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

*Black pepper can be used but you will have black flecks in your soup. White pepper makes it look nicer.


  • cauliflower, separated into bite sized florets
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • pepper

Toss cauliflower with a drizzle of olive oil, a big pinch of salt, and freshly ground pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F until browned and crispy, about 20 minutes, stirring to ensure even cooking partway through cooking.

** I have now written "cauliflower" so many times that it doesn't even look like a real word anymore

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