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The 10 Best Cauliflower Recipes

02/19/2018 06:00AM | 7036 views


We prise the humble cauliflower away from its cheese-sauce comfort zone and explore its uses as a pizza base, in savoury cakes and even as a Persian tortilla


1. Whole roast cauliflower with cumin, sumac and lemon

It's just a regular, humble, garden cauliflower, but there's something really exciting about seeing it come out of the oven whole. Think of this as an edible centrepiece to hack away at, cutting chunks off the main stem, throughout your meal.

Serves 6 as a side

2 small cauliflowers (each about 500g), outer leaves removed
Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sumac 
½ tsp ground cumin 
Lemon juice
A handful of parsley, chopped
Sea salt

1 Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Drizzle the cauliflowers liberally with oil, scatter with salt and sprinkle over the sumac and cumin.
2 Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, but turn the temperature down if the cauliflowers start to get too dark. They're cooked when they're lightly browned and an inserted skewer meets with just a little resistance.
3 Before serving, drizzle again with good quality olive oil and a fair squeeze of lemon, then scatter with parsley and a little more salt.

Around the World in 120 Recipes by Allegra McEvedy (Conran Octopus, published in July)

2. Pizza with cauliflower crust

The aim with a root vegetable crust is to make something crispy that can be eaten by hand, without it falling apart. Many recipes use lots of eggs, but this one opts for cauliflower and goat's cream cheese. It works well with a slightly different, less cheesy topping.

Makes 4 small pizzas or 1 large one

For the crusts:
1 medium-size cauliflower, grated 
100g goat's cream cheese
1 egg
Salt and black pepper

For the tomato sauce
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
400g can of chopped tomatoes
A handful of fresh basil, chopped\
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
Salt and black pepper

1 Preheat oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
To make the crust, add the cauliflower to a pot of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, then wrap in a teatowel and squeeze
out any excess water.
3 In a bowl, mix the grated cauliflower with the cream cheese and egg, and season.
4 Divide the cauliflower mix into four portions and, using your hands, shape the crusts on the sheet. They should be about 1-1½cm thick. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until firm and golden.
5 While the crusts are baking, heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic and stir briefly, then add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
6 When the crusts are done, add a spoonful of tomato sauce to each and spread evenly. Add toppings as desired, plus grated cheese.
7 Bake the pizzas for about 10 minutes at 220C/450F/gas mark 8, until the cheese is golden.

Recipe supplied by Josephine Malene Kofod,

3. Cauliflower and pear bake

This dish from Israel makes a fine accompaniment to all roasts and kebabs.

Serves 4-6
1 large cauliflower
3 unripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp nutmeg
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into 1cm slices
6 black olives, stoned and sliced
6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1 Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower, chop into florets and wash. Drop them into a large pan of boiling water. After 10 minutes, add the pear slices and cook until just tender.
2 Drain and put the cauliflower, pears, eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and breadcrumbs into a liquidiser and blend.
3 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and lightly grease a large baking dish. Pour a quarter of the cauliflower mixture into the dish. Cover with half of the red pepper and olive slices.
4 Now pour in another quarter of the cauliflower mixture and cover it with the mushrooms and onion.
5 Repeat a cauliflower layer and then add the remaining red pepper and olive slices. Top with the remaining cauliflower.
6 Bake for 30–45 minutes until the top is golden. Finally, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East by Arto Der Haroutunian (Grub Street)Order a copy for £11.99 with free UK p&p (save £3) from call 0330 333 6846.

4. Caramelised cauliflower soup

This is a delightfully textured soup. If you want more richness, replace some of the broth with cream and dress it up with cheese or browned butter. If you halve the broth, you get a nice puree to use as an alternative to mashed potatoes.

Serves 4
1 large cauliflower (about 1.3kg)
Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
Salt and black pepper

For the broth
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
750ml vegetable stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

For the topping
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
50g bread, torn into 2.5cm pieces
Black pepper
60g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
Fresh thyme leaves
Shaved parmesan (optional)

1 Preheat the oven to 220C/450F/gas mark 8.
2 Cut the cauliflower into florets and spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh nutmeg and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper, and toss everything to coat.
3 Bake for 35-45 minutes, tossing halfway through, until the florets are fully roasted and you see a good amount of brown edges. Remove and cool.
4 While the cauliflower roasts, start the broth. Heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes to soften. Add the stock, thyme and vinegar and warm through.
5 When the cauliflower is cool to touch, add it to the broth and blend until smooth. Season to taste. Return to the pan to keep warm.
6 For the croutons, heat the remaining oil in a small pan, add the torn bread and a pinch of ground pepper and stir for 5-8 minutes, until crisp with browned edges.
7 Serve each portion with a few croutons, chopped hazelnuts, a pinch of fresh thyme leaves and some shaved parmesan, if using.

Recipe supplied by Sara Forte,

5. Spanish crisp cauliflower

A fine Andalusian starter or side dish. If you can't find gram (chickpea) flour, you can use plain white flour – although it won't have the same nutty flavour.

Serves 4
½ cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 tbsp gram flour
1 tsp paprika
Sunflower oil for deep-frying
1 dessertspoon red wine vinegar
1 tbsp capers, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes, then squeezed dry and chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and black pepper

1 Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water for a few minutes, until just tender.
2 Drain the cauliflower well and, while it's still hot, put it in a bowl with the flour, paprika and some salt and pepper. Mix it all together until the cauliflower is coated with flour.
3 Heat the sunflower oil to 190C in a deep-fat fryer or a deep, heavy-based saucepan. Fry the cauliflower florets in batches until crisp and golden, then remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
4 Sprinkle with the vinegar, chopped capers and parsley, and serve.

The Riverford Farm Cook Book by Jane Baxter and Guy Watson (Fourth Estate)Order a copy for £15.19 with free UK p&p (save £3.80) from or call 0330 333 6846.

6. Cauliflower omelette

This is a Persian kookoo recipe. The word is usually translated as omelette, but it more closely resembles a savoury vegetable cake, very much like a Spanish tortilla, and is delicious eaten hot or cold.

Serves 8
1 large cauliflower
2 medium onions
Oil for frying
2 tsp turmeric
120g parsley
3 dessertspoons plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
10 medium eggs
Pickles and fresh herbs

1 Wash the cauliflower and cook in salted water. Mash and leave to cool.
2 Chop the onions and fry in a little oil until soft and golden. Stir in the turmeric and put aside to cool.
3 Wash and chop the parsley. When all the ingredients are cool, mix the cauliflower, flour, baking powder, onions and parsley.
4 Heat enough oil to cover the base of a large frying pan. While the oil heats, beat the eggs until frothy, then stir in the cauliflower mixture. Pour into the hot oil, then immediately reduce the heat, cover and cook over a gentle heat for 25 minutes until firm.
5 Turn over and cook for a further 10 minutes. Serve immediately with mixed pickles and fresh herbs.

The Legendary Cuisine of Persia by Margaret Shaida (Grub Street)Order a copy for £11.99 with free UK p&p (save £3) from or call 0330 333 6846.

7. Gratin de chou-fleur

Comté adds a subtle French flavour to this easy-going, comforting dish. If you like, you can spruce it up by flavouring the bechamel with turmeric and adding a handful of chopped hazelnuts to the cauliflower, or by adding truffle juice to the bechamel and sprinkling a few slivers of black truffle amid the florets.

Serves 4-6
One large cauliflower, trimmed and chopped
Coarse salt
Nutmeg, freshly grated
60g comté, freshly grated 

For the bechamel sauce
25g unsalted butter
25g flour
330ml milk
1-2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Salt and black pepper

1 Sprinkle the cauliflower with coarse salt and steam for 15 minutes, until soft.
2 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Transfer the cauliflower to a medium gratin dish. Season with a dash of nutmeg and top with half the comté.
3 Now prepare the bechamel. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. When the butter starts to sizzle add all the flour at once and stir it into the butter with a wooden spoon. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring continually until the mixture turns creamy.
4 Pour in the milk and whisk it into the sauce, making sure you don't leave any clumps on the bottom or sides of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes, stirring as the mixture thickens. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
5 Season the bechamel with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour evenly over the cauliflower, top with the remaining cheese, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes, until heated through and golden on top. Flash under the grill for the final 5 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Recipe supplied by Clotilde Dusoulier,

8. Quinoa, cauliflower and ramsons cakes

In season, ramsons (wild garlic) are the best flavour for these cakes. If you cannot find ramsons, use fresh spinach and add two cloves of crushed garlic.

Makes 12
200g quinoa 
200g cauliflower florets 
1 large handful ramsons, coarsely chopped 
4 eggs
200g feta cheese, crumbled
80g rolled oats
2 tbsp ghee, coconut oil or olive oil, for frying
Salt and black pepper

1 Cook the quinoa. Place 500ml water, the quinoa and some salt in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and gently simmer for about 15 minutes, or until you see small tails on the quinoa seeds. Drain any excess water and set aside to cool.
2 Place the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it forms a rice-like texture. Tip into a bowl, together with the quinoa, ramsons, eggs, feta, oats and seasoning. Stir until well combined. Place in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
3 Take the mixture and form into 12 patties with your hands. Heat the ghee or oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add four patties at a time and fry for about 3–4 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip carefully and fry the other side for 2–3 minutes more.
4 Continue until all the patties are fried. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm or cold.

The Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl (Hardie Grant)Order a copy for £17 with free UK p&p (save £8) from or call 0330 333 6846.

9. Black pepper tempeh

This recipe isn't for the faint of heart; it's a substantial meal-in-a-pan exploding with spicy, peppery, garlicky, gingery flavours. Finely chop the cauliflower into quick-cooking pieces. If you don't have coconut oil to hand, use clarified butter or extra virgin olive oil instead.

Serves 4
60ml coconut oil 
3 shallots, thinly sliced 
1 tsp chilli flakes 
15 small garlic cloves, smashed 
1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
60ml shoyu, tamari, or soya sauce 
30g natural cane sugar or soft brown sugar 
2 tbsp water, plus more if needed 
225g tempeh (soya bean cake), sliced pencil-thick
340g cauliflower, very finely chopped
1 tsp black pepper, plus more if needed

1 In a large frying pan over a low heat, combine the coconut oil, shallots, chilli, garlic and ginger. Cook slowly, taking care not to brown the ingredients and stirring occasionally, until the shallots and garlic have softened – about 15 minutes.
2 While the garlic is cooking, whisk together the shoyu, sugar and water in a small bowl.
3 Increase the heat to medium–high and add the tempeh. Gently stir to coat the tempeh.
4 Add the shoyu mixture and stir again to coat. Cook for a minute or two, then add the cauliflower. Stir and cover, then cook for about 3 minutes.
5 Uncover, turn up the heat even more, and cook until the cauliflower and tempeh starts to brown. If you need to add a bit more water, carefully do so, 1 tbsp at a time.
6 Remove from the heat and stir in the black pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson (Hardie Grant). Order a copy for £11.99 with free UK p&p (save £3) from or call 0330 333 6846.

10. Roasted cauliflower tart with oat-walnut crust and lemon herb filling

This tart turns roasted cauliflower into a complete meal. The addition of lemon gives it a welcome lift and complements the buttery flavour of toasted walnuts too. Serve it slightly warm or at room temperature with a salad for a perfect spring meal.

Serves 4-6

For the roasted cauliflower
1 medium-large cauliflower, chopped into florets
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt

For the crust
50g toasted walnuts
40g rolled oats
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
A large pinch of black pepper
120g whole spelt flour
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to oil the pan
2 tbsp plain soya milk or unsweetened almond milk

For the filling
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely sliced
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp sea salt
A pinch of ground turmeric
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
60g plain soya milk or unsweetened almond milk
Black pepper

To garnish
Lemon zest
Fresh parsley, chopped

1 To roast the cauliflower, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2 Toss the florets in olive oil and salt, then arrange evenly on the tray and roast for 30 minutes. Turn each floret over and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the florets are browning.
3 Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the crust.
To make the crust, reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Lightly oil a 22cm tart tin with a removable bottom and set aside.
5 Place the walnuts, oats, baking powder, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until coarsely ground. Transfer to a bowl, add the spelt flour and mix well. Drizzle in olive oil and mix until evenly distributed. Add the soya milk and mix again. The mixture should hold together when squeezed but not stick to your hands. Add a little more soya milk if it's too dry.
6 Press evenly into the prepared tin, trimming excess pastry from the edges. Prick with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
7 To make the filling, warm the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
8 Turn the heat down low, add the salt, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until caramelised. 
9 Stir in the turmeric, remove from the heat and transfer into a food processor. Add a quarter of the roasted cauliflower, the lemon juice, soya milk and a large pinch of black pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides as necessary.
10 Spread into the prebaked tart shell and arrange the remaining cauliflower on the top. Bake the tart for 30 minutes.
11 Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before sprinkling with the lemon zest and parsley.

Recipe supplied by Amy Chaplin,


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