November 6, 2015

What's up with Cauliflower?!

Yes, really what's up with a cauliflower?! 
Apparently, you can make almost anything these days with it. 
I was quite surprised to see recipes all over the internet. So I said, why tried it.

I am bringing you the best I tried so far, and believe me, you will be, like me, pleasantly surprised. 
You can substitute rice, pasta, couscous .. you name it, with this amazing vegetable. 
You can even make cakes..without flour..the real one.

Cauliflower Bread-sticks

This is my favorite! Great appetizer or even side dish.

1 head cauliflower, large (7" - 8" wide)
1/4 cup or just 3 egg whites
1/2 cup + 3/4 cup (for topping) Mozzarella/ parmesan/griere shredded (you can use any cheese you love)
1 tbsp Italian herb seasoning or any dried herbs like rosemary, basil, parsley
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
Optional: Marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse cauliflower, remove outer leaves and separate into florets with a paring knife. Place cauliflower florets in a food processor and process until "rice" texture. 
Place in an oven proof baking dish and bake for 20 mins. Remove cooked cauliflower from the oven and transfer to a bowl lined with a tea/linen towel. Important: Dry completely!
Let the cauliflower cool down a bit until it is safe to touch, about 15 minutes.
Fold the towel holding by the ends and squeeze the liquid out of the cauliflower "ball" as hard as you can. Be patient and do this a few times until barely any liquid comes out. I squeezed out 1 cup of liquid. Second photo, from right to left: before squeezing, after squeezing, liquid squeezed 
Increase oven T to 450 degrees F. Transfer cauliflower to a mixing bowl along with egg whites, 1/2 cup cheese, herb seasoning, black pepper, pinch of salt and mix to combine.
Transfer cauliflower mixture onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten with your hands into a rectangle, approximately 9" x 7" size and 1/4" thick.
Bake for about 15 minutes, remove from the oven and top with remaining cheese. Bake for another 5 minutes and then broil until cheese turns golden brown. Cut into 12 bread-sticks and serve hot with warm marinara sauce or plain. For a lighter version, do not top with cheese.

Cauliflower Pizza

For the base :
1 cauliflower (about 750g/1lb 10oz)
 100g ground almonds
 2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp dried oregano

 For the topping:
 1 can of chopped tomatoes
 1 tbsp tomato purée
 1 garlic clove, crushed
½ large aubergine, thinly sliced lengthways into long strips
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 small red onion, cut into 8 wedges
10 mushrooms of your choice, sliced
½ small bunch basil, leaves picked,  
125g ball mozzarella 
25g Grana Padano or Parmesan grated,
plus extra to serve a few pinches of chilli flakes

Heat oven to 200 C. Remove the leaves from the cauliflower then cut into chunks. Puls half the cauliflower in a food processor until finely chopped, like rice. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining half. Leave to cool a little. Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the cauliflower, then transfer to bowl. Stir in the ground almonds, egg, oregano and plenty of seasoning. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and grease with oil. Mound the cauliflower mix into the centre of the tray, then use a spoon and your hands to spread out into a pizza size round. Make it a little thicker at the edges to create a ‘crust’. Bake for 15 mins until golden brown and starting to crisp a little at the edges. Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan, brush each slice on both sides with a little of the oil, season and cook for 5-6 mins, turning once, until softened and charred – you’ll need to do this in batches. Transfer to a plate. Brush the onions with oil, season and griddle for 5- 8 mins until softened and charred, same do with mushrooms.
To make the tomato sauce, mix the canned tomatoes, tomato purée, garlic and some seasoning in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 8-10 mins until thick. Add basil leaves.
Once the cauliflower base is cooked, set aside to cool a little. Turn the oven up to 240C. Spread the tomato sauce over the base, sprinkle over the cheese, then arrange the eggplant, red onion and mozzarella on top. Scatter over the chilli flakes and return to the oven for 10 more mins. Before serving, shave over a little more cheese and scatter with the remaining basil leaves.

Cauliflower Burgers

For 2 burgers:
1 head cauliflower, green leaves removed, sliced
1 cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated hard cheese, like Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
Black pepper
½ cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 slices Havarti/provolone cheese
2 whole wheat bread buns, toasted
mustard, Spicy Hummus or Mayo
Sliced roasted red peppers, sliced tomatoes


To make cauliflower steaks/ patties,  cut the parts of the cauliflower head with stem in half, creating two round “steaks”.
Combine the breadcrumbs with the grated cheese in a large bowl, along with a pinch of salt and some black pepper, and set aside. Bread the cauliflower “steaks” by dipping them in the flour, then into the beaten eggs, then into the breadcrumbs/parmesan mixture; set aside on a plate while you heat your pan with oil for frying.Heat enough oil in a large non-stick pan to shallow fry, about 1-2 inches; once oil is hot, add the breaded cauliflower “steaks” in and fry for roughly 2 minutes per side, or until golden-brown; place the “steaks” on paper towels to drain.Top each “steak” with a slice of cheese, and place it under the broiler (or small toaster oven) just to melt the cheese.
To assemble the burgers, spread some of the Spicy Hummus or Mayo onto both top and bottom toasted buns, then add some leaves of lettuce; place the cheesy cauliflower “steak” over the lettuce, then top it with a few slices of the roasted red peppers and tomatoes and cover it with the top bun; serve while hot with choice of sides.

Cauliflower “couscous

2-3 cups of cauliflower florets, dried completely
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
½ teaspoon dried cilantro leaves
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons currants
1 cup cooked chickpeas
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

½ cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon curry powder

First, toast your nuts and roast your chickpeas ( this is optional).
Make your sauce by stirring together the coconut milk and curry powder, and a pinch of salt.
Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it’s “riced” (to the size of couscous).
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower “couscous” and a a bit of salt. Let it gently toast for a minute or so and stir: you should see a few of the bits turning golden brown. Toss again and add the nuts and spices and chickpeas. Cook until the spices become fragrant (about 30 seconds more) and remove from heat.
Toss cauliflower mix with half the sauce, (not too much so it stays fluffy), and top with fresh cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings and serve it with the rest of the sauce on the side.

Cauliflower mac and cheese

For 4:
1 big head of cauliflower (4 loose cups, chopped, plus extra small florets to leave whole)
350g brown rice elbow pasta
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves of garlic
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¾ - 1 cup cashew cream (see recipe below) or sharp cheddar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
salt , pepper
pasta water, as needed to thin

topping options:
¼ cup bread crumbs
¼ - ½ cup parmesan cheese
super cheesy option: add an extra handful of cheddar under the panko
¼ cup chopped chive
a few pinches of red pepper flakes

cashew cream: (this makes extra,can be made ahead)
1 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours (strain soaking water before using)
¼ - ½ cup water
1 small garlic clove
¼ cup minced shallot
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt, to taste

If you're making the vegan option, start by making your cashew cream. (Strain the soaking water from the cashews). Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Scoop the cream out of the blender and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook until tender but not mushy, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to drain and scoop the cauliflower into a blender. When the cauliflower is out, bring your water back up to a boil and add the pasta.
Back to your blender - add the dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, to the cauliflower, and puree well. Add about ¾ cups of cashew cream (or cheddar cheese), sherry vinegar, and blend again. Add starchy pasta water, as needed, to thin the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Add more cashew cream if you want).
When your pasta is al dente, set aside a cup or so of pasta water, then fully drain your pasta and the water out of the large pot. Return the cooked pasta to the pot and stir in the sauce. Add more reserved pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce.
Pour your pasta into a large baking dish (or a few individual sized dishes). Place the remainder of the cauliflower florets on top. Top with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese (if using) and a drizzle of olive oil. (optional: make it extra cheesy by adding a layer of sharp cheddar underneath and parmesan)
Bake until the top is golden and crispy - about 15 minutes depending on the size of your dish.
Remove from oven and top with chives and red pepper flakes.

Prawns with cauliflower “rice”

1 large cauliflower, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 lemons, juiced
(Parmesan cheese, 1 handful- optional)
Chicken stock - 500ml
Fresh parsley, chopped
20 large king prawns, peeled

Once you have prepped your ingredients, add the cauliflower to a large pan, with some olive oil and half the fresh garlic. fry off for around 5 minutes.
Now add the chicken stock and allow to simmer for 20 mins.
Meanwhile in a pan, fry the rest of the garlic gently on a low heat, and add the prawns. After cooking for around 4 minutes each side, squeeze over the juice of 1 lemon, toss the prawns in the parsley and set aside.
Once the risotto is taking form, add the juice of one lemon and season with salt and pepper and parmesan cheese if required. When the liquid has evaporated, add the risotto to plates. Top with the prawns and fresh parsley.

cauliflower Sweets?!
you better BELIEVE it!


for about 25 brownies
1 cup raw cauliflower puree
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
100g of dark 90% chocolate
½ cup butter
60g cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup ground almonds
½ cup coconut flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tsp of maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt

Puree the raw cauliflower in a blender, then add your almond milk and puree together for another 30 seconds. Make sure its completely smooth and there are no chunks!
Put the butter, chocolate squares and cream cheese into a bowl and melt over stove. There may be a few small chunks of chocolate still not melted and that's ok.
Scrape the chocolate mixture into the blender with the cauliflower. Puree for about 20 seconds until well blended. Add eggs and blend well.
Add all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Pour the wet ingredients from the blender into the bowl containing the dry ingredients (scraping to get as much out as possible) and stir to combine thoroughly. The batter will be thick, almost mousse-like.
Grease a 9 x 9 baking pan and spread the batter evenly into it. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees (F) for 35 minutes. Remove and cool before cutting.

Cauliflower cookies

Dry ingredients
1/2 c. black eyed pea flour (use the grain setting on Blender if you can't find flour
1/2 c. chickpea flour
1/3 c. tapioca flour 
1/2 tsp cream of tartar 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c. cauliflower pulsed in a blender/grated carrots
1/3 c. dried cranberries

Wet ingredients
1/4 c. honey
3 Tbs oil
3 Tbs apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix wet ingredients in one bowl and dry in another, then combine. Add cauliflower and cranberries

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown then move to a rack and cool.

Cauliflower "RICE PUDDING"

1/2 cup finely grated (riced) raw cauliflower
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp honey
4 oz cream cheese or coconut cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup coconut milk (or Heavy Cream)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

To make the “rice,” cut the cauliflower into pieces and pulse in a food processor until small pieces of “rice.”  Heat 1/4 cup coconut milk with natural sweetener, extract, cinnamon. Let stand for 15 minutes. Beat egg yolks with 1/4 cup of coconut milk; set aside. Pour the almond milk in sauce pan, add cream cheese and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add cauliflower mixture and egg mixture to pan and stir to thicken. Pour into 4 small pudding dishes and refrigerate 1-3 hours. Serve and enjoy! Makes 4 servings.