March 15, 2018

One of the most important things a Colorado culinary arts student can learn is how to make good use of fresh produce in a wide range of dishes. Discovering recipes that bring new life to the vegetables that are in season can be an excellent means of saving money on ingredients and spurring your creativity. One veggie that’s full of tasty possibilities is cauliflower.

Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and collard greens, cauliflower is part of the species Brassica oleracea. The features that make this vegetable special are its smooth, hearty texture, subtle flavor and potential uses in a huge variety of meals. Try these approaches to preparing cauliflower and you’ll see that there are endless ways to put your produce to work.

Prepare a grain-free pizza crust

“Making pizza crust is among the most popular uses for cauliflower.”

These days, making pizza crust is among the most popular culinary uses for cauliflower. Even if you’re not adhering to a gluten-free diet, this is a great substitution that puts a fresh spin on your favorite pie. Katie Lee of the Food Network provided directions to get you started, beginning with removing the stalk from a head of cauliflower and separating it into florets.

Place the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until you have fine pieces. Transfer into a steamer basket and cook. Drain thoroughly and allow the veggies some time to cool.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the cauliflower with two lightly beaten eggs, Parmesan, mozzarella, salt, oregano and garlic powder. Transfer the mixture onto the baking sheet, forming into a circle, and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Add toppings, and then bake another 10 minutes.

Roasted cauliflower makes a great side dish

Nothing beats roasted vegetables as a simple but tasty side for dinner on a chilly night. Bon Appetit offered a recipe that brings out the best that cauliflower has to offer while matching the veggie with other delicious ingredients.

Cut a head of cauliflower into florets and set them on a rimmed baking sheet with onion, thyme, unpeeled garlic cloves and three tablespoons of olive oil. Toss the ingredients together, adding salt and pepper. Then, cook in an oven set to 425 degrees.

After 35 to 40 minutes, the cauliflower should start to become tender. Add a half cup of Parmesan, tossing to combine. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the veggies are fully tender.

Cauliflower and broccoliThere are many tasty methods for preparing cauliflower.

Korean-inspired fried cauliflower

If you want to add more crunch and excitement to a cauliflower-centric dish, Delish has you covered. This Korean fried cauliflower calls for preparing a tempura batter by whisking together flour, baking powder and cornstarch. Then, stir in a beaten egg with ice water and salt.

Warm about a quarter inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Toss cauliflower florets in the batter and add them to the skillet in batches. Cook for four minutes on either side, or until golden. Drain the cooked cauliflower on paper towels.

Use a whisk to combine garlic chili sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and brown sugar. Toss the cauliflower in the sauce. Top off with sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions before serving.

With some imagination, you’ll find that cauliflower has an amazing number of applications. Culinary academy students can use this vegetable as a substitute for meat or crust or just as an excellent side. Explore a few different approaches and see how you can incorporate more cauliflower into your favorite recipes.