You Say Potato, I Say Cauliflower: 2 Recipes to Make Cauliflower Your New Favorite “Starch”

Cauliflower recipes

Meat and potatoes.

If I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, this will inevitably be the answer pretty much every time. The same would undoubtedly go for my father and brother, both of whom can work a grill like Michelangelo worked a paintbrush.

Today, we are not going to take away your beloved beef or the “man meets fire” facet of grilling (girls, this goes for you too…) by replacing the sirloin in this equation. Instead, we’re saying “see ya later” to the potato part: the heavy duty starch that is wrought with carbohydrates, will most likely be coated in butter, sour cream and bacon, and will make you feel like you just ate rocks.

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Granted, potatoes are packed with vitamins and fiber, and there is most certainly room for them on your table. But, there is another vegetable making a name for itself among the rich and hearty brethren that complement meat so well.

It’s called cauliflower, and with the right preparations (which I am about to show you!), it is dang good.

Calorie Conscious

But… before we start cooking, why exactly do we like cauliflower so much? Well, for those of you watching your waistlines, you’ll be thrilled to know that a half-cup serving of cauliflower contains about 15 calories. What?! Yeah, you read that right.

Now, it contains 15 calories per half cup when it is steamed or boiled with zero added ingredients. We’re going to mess with that math a little bit today, but I can promise that we are still going to keep the calorie load nice and low – WAY lower than your loaded (or even half-loaded) baked potato.

Vita-riffic!

It’s also important to note that cauliflower, being a cruciferous vegetable, is a fabulous vehicle for folate which promotes neural tubal development in fetuses for mommies-to-be and helps keep the rest of us nice and sharp. It’s also packed with vitamin C which makes it a fantastic booster for your immune system without the added sugar of a glass of orange juice. (I wouldn’t try to drink cauliflower juice though…)

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There are even studies that suggest cauliflower, and its buddies cabbage and broccoli, may have properties that help prevent certain cancers; especially breast cancer, but more investigation needs to be done in that area. Meantime, you may as well eat them – there’s pretty much no reason not to unless you’re allergic. I’ve never met anyone with a cauliflower allergy. Not a real one, anyway.

Oh, and by the way, cauliflower is NOT a starch. It’s just really good at pretending.

So, without further ado, let’s make some cauliflower that is not only incredibly delicious and healthy, but pretty darn quick to prepare.

Roasted Cauliflower with Rosemary and Thyme

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 People

Ingredients

  • 1 small glass or ceramic baking dish
  • Your blender/food processer/stand mixer with whipping attachment
  • 1 head of cauliflower quartered and boiled
  • 2/3 cup skim milk
  • 2 cloves garlic grated or pasted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 stems rosemary
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. See step-by-step instructions with pictures below - enjoy!

Recipe Notes

For you carnivores out there, this dish goes fabulously with seared beef, pork and fish. For vegetarians, pair with a grilled Portobello mushroom for a fantastically rich dining experience. You can also chill it and serve over spinach for a fabulous salad. Break in a little goat cheese and add another drizzle of honey and a splash of your favorite vinegar, and you’re set!

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe Method

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Pull off the green stem-y part of the cauliflower, and set it aside. (We’re going to use it, so don’t discard!) Cut your cauliflower in half.  I like to pull the florets apart with my hands so they are kind of rustic looking, but you could just chop each half into about 1-2 inch pieces if you are short on time.

Cauliflower, halved
Cauliflower, halved

3. Put all of that in a large mixing bowl, then chop up the leftover green stem and leaves and throw them in the bowl as well. When roasted, the green part adds a richness that tastes a bit like roasted fennel.

green stem and leaves. They add flavor!
Include the green stem and leaves. They add flavor!

4. Pour the olive oil over the florets. This may seem like a lot of olive oil, but this recipe makes about 6-8 servings, so it’s distributed nicely. Add salt. (Again, seems like a lot – but again, 6-8 servings…)

5. Then, add the secret ingredient: Old Bay Seasoning. Old Bay is a magical spice blend that brings a deep flavor to fish and vegetables. It brings red pepper, black pepper and paprika to the party, which is why we are omitting black pepper as a single ingredient here.

Old Bay seasoning
Old Bay replaces your pepper, so there is no need to add more.

6. Take your rosemary stems and just sort of slide your fingers along so that the needles just fall into the bowl with the cauliflower. Do the same with the thyme. Stir well to combine everything.

7. Pour the whole mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet. The reason we mix everything in a bowl ahead of pouring onto the pan is so that every piece of cauliflower gets a fair share of the goodness. No floret left behind.

8. Now for the finale: Drizzle with honey. I know what you’re thinking – why? Oh, dear friends… this little bit of sweetness brings out the inherent earthiness of the cauliflower while deepening the flavor of the Old Bay. You can omit it, but you don’t want to. Trust me.

substitute with maple syrup.
If you want to make this recipe vegan, you can substitute maple syrup.

9. Roast at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cauliflower should be fork tender.

10. Toss the cauliflower around on the sheet pan so that all of those delicious roasted dribbles are evenly distributed, then spoon onto a platter to serve. Serves 6-8. I like to serve it family-style. It just looks so lovely all piled up on itself!

finished cauliflower recipe
So amazingly delicious!

Silky Smooth Mashed Potat….err…Cauliflower!

This recipe makes 4-5 silky smooth servings of cauliflower that has this incredible texture so similar to mashed potatoes that you may forget you made the substitution!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 5 People

Ingredients

  • 1 small glass or ceramic baking dish
  • Your blender/food processer/stand mixer with whipping attachment
  • 1 head of cauliflower quartered and boiled
  • 2/3 cup skim milk
  • 2 cloves garlic grated or pasted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 stems rosemary
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. First, peel the green stems and leaves off of your head of cauliflower and set aside. We won’t use them in this recipes, but don’t throw them out. They are fantastic chopped up in vegetable soup or added into salads for crunch.
  2. Quarter your cauliflower and put them in a pot of boiling water – enough water to cover them. Boil for roughly 20 minutes. Drain.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Put all of your boiled cauliflower into a blender, food processor or bowl of a stand mixer. We will continue with the blender option from here because that is what I used, but note that I just moved and cannot find all of the parts to my food processor or I would have used that.
  5. Pour about half of your skim milk into the blender with the cauliflower. Grate your garlic directly into the blender as well. If you do not have a micro-plane, you can finely chop your garlic, sprinkle a little salt over it on your cutting board, then smash it with a butter knife to make a paste. It is time consuming, but you don’t want chunks of garlic in this mixture.
  6. Peel the needles of two springs of rosemary directly into the blender. Add salt and pepper and blend. While the mixture is spinning, slowly pour in the rest of the milk. You may have to frequently stop, press the mixture down with a wooden spoon then continue. You don’t want to add too much moisture, so do not increase the amount of milk however tempting that may be.
  7. Taste for salt content at this point. Add more if you feel the mixture needs more seasoning. When you are pleased, add in your egg whites and blend again until the mixture is very smooth.
  8. Pour your cauliflower mixture into your un-greased glass or ceramic pan and bake on a middle rack for 45 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Also, did you notice that this recipe includes zero oil or butter and absolutely no cheese? You probably won’t miss them, but if you desperately feel the need for cheese, add one tablespoon of cream cheese to your mixture and blend prior to adding your egg whites. You may need to bake an extra 5 minutes for having made that addition depending on your oven.

 

So, there you have it! Cauliflower can be positively delicious and hearty! Move over potatoes…you’ve got competition, and it’s a slimming substitute.

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