Cauliflower can surely be called the ‘unsung hero’ of the vegetarian and vegan world! This humble vegetable that is rarely the favourite vegetable of most takes up whatever character you mould it into, and that is its winning point!
Obviously, vegetarians use cauliflower to make their regular vegetables and curries combined with potatoes, peas, tomatoes etc. Or even fry them up in a variety of ways. But this vegetable is a great alternative for a wide range of food groups, like vegetarians, vegans and even those who are watching their weight!
Cauliflower doubles up as an alternative to meat for vegans and vegetarians. It even takes on the role of being a healthier alternative for carbohydrates and starch and is also a replacement for rice, and potato and even can be swapped as a crust in pizza! It helps people enjoy their foods of choice with slight variation but with some great benefits of being easier on the waist.
Nutritionally, cauliflower is fat-free, free of cholesterol and very low in calories. It also is rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin K and also contains a good amount of folate. It is low in sodium and contains a good amount of dietary fibre. It is a beneficial vegetable to be consumed especially during pregnancy.
Giving cauliflower its due importance, here are a few unique cauliflower preparations that are a ‘must-try’
Cauliflower Steak with Stir Fry Veggies and Hot and Sweet Sauce
This is a healthy vegetarian option in place of conventional meat steaks. Try this to satiate your steak cravings and you will surely make it again and again.
Total Time: 50 mins
Serves: 3 servings
For Cauliflower Steak
- 1 large cauliflower
- ½ cup oil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- Salt to taste
- 3 cups of assorted chopped vegetables (carrots, broccoli, beans, capsicum etc)
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp oil
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Thai sweet chilli sauce
- 2 tsp Sriracha sauce
- Preheat your oven to 300’C and start with other preparations.
- Clean the head of the cauliflower well and pull out all the green leaves from it. You can even slice off the excess base from the cauliflower, taking care the florets don’t fall apart. Now using a sharp and thick knife, make longitudinal slices of the cauliflower of the thickness around an inch or so. Avoid making very thin slices as they might fall apart.
- Take a small bowl and mix the oil, and seasonings for the steak well. Rub the seasonings generously on both sides of the cauliflower steaks and place on a baking tray. Use your fingers to make sure the seasoning coats the steak well all around.
- Now place the baking dish in the pre-heated oven and roast for about 15 minutes then flip the steak over and roast the other side for another 10-15 minutes.
- In the meantime, place a wok on high flame and add some oil to it, add the mixed vegetables and quickly toss them for a few minutes. Season them with salt and pepper and set aside.
- The sauce can be made by simply mixing the mayonnaise with the Thai sweet chilli sauce and Sriracha sauce.
- Once the steaks are well cooked on both sides, place them in the serving dish with stir-fried vegetables and sauce alongside. Enjoy with a drink of choice.
Seasoned Cauliflower Rice Pilaf
This can be used as a lunch or dinner recipe, it is easy to prepare and does not take very long. It gives the satisfaction of enjoying a rice pilaf minus the starch or the guilt.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2 servings
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 finely chopped onions
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 3 tsp ghee
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- 2 tsp cashews
- 1 tsp thinly sliced almonds
- Chop the cauliflower into chunky pieces and run it in a food processor quickly to get the rice-like size and consistency of cauliflower. Alternatively, you can grate the cauliflower using a thick grater.
- Heat some ghee in a kadhai and fry the cashews and almonds till they become fragrant and light golden. In the same kadhai, fry the finely chopped onions till they are light golden. Add the cinnamon powder and red chilli flakes and stir it. Now add the cauliflower rice and salt and quickly toss it together.
- Cover the kadhai and allow the cauliflower rice to steam for a few minutes. Once the cauliflower rice softens add the cashews and almonds and raisins (optional) and serve hot. Enjoy this cauliflower rice with any accompaniment of choice.
Cauliflower & Potato-filled Samosa
Samosas are always synonymous with sinful or indulgent eating. Try this unique combination of cauliflower filling inside a samosa that still retains its crispy savoury flavour but substantially reduces the starchy guilt that comes along.
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6-8 servings
- 1 cup boiled and mashed potatoes
- ½ head of a small cauliflower
- 2 tsp crushed green chilli and ginger paste
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp freshly chopped coriander
- 1/3 cup boiled green peas
- Oil to cook and fry
For Outer Covering
- 1 cup maida
- Salt to taste
- 4 tsp oil
- ½ tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
- First, prepare the dough for the outer covering. Take a board vessel, add the maida, salt, and ajwain and mix well, now heat some oil in a tempering pan. Add the hot oil to the dry mixture and mix well. The next step is to add a little water slowly and knead a tough dough. Cover with a damp muslin cloth and set aside.
- To prepare the inner stuffing, chop the cauliflower coarsely to get smaller pieces. Now in a kadhai add some oil, add the fennel seeds and cumin seeds and let them splutter. Now add the ginger and green chilli paste and cook it for a few seconds, add cauliflower and mix well. Cover with a lid and allow the cauliflower to steam. Now add the boiled and mashed potato, boiled peas and the remaining spices. Make an evenly seasoned mixture. Finally, add the fresh coriander.
- Make small balls of the dough, and roll out small rotis out of it, use a knife and divide each roti into 2 semi-circles. Use one semi-circle to make 1 samosa.
- Twist the piece to get a funnel-like shape, and fill a generous amount of the cauliflower and potato stuffing into it. Seal the edges using some water. Repeat the same process for the remaining samosas.
- Heat some oil in a kadhai and fry the samosas on medium flame until they are golden and crispy. Enjoy piping hot with mint coriander chutney.
Cauliflower Crusted Pizza
Who does not love pizza? Sadly, the guilt of indulgence always spoils the fun! You can now ditch your guilt and relish your favourite pizza with just one small tweak! You replace the unhealthy maida base with a delicious cauliflower crust! You save a whole lot of calories and make your pizza into a healthy meal!
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 servings
- 1 large head of cauliflower chopped coarsely
- 1 egg
- 2 cups of shredded mozzarella
- 2 cups of marinara sauce or any pizza sauce of choice
- 4 tsp mixed herbs
- 2 tsp red chilli flakes
- 2 cups toppings of choice (pepperoni, mixed vegetables etc)
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves
- Preheat your oven to 300’C while other preparations are done. In a large vessel, boil some water and add salt to it. Now add the coarsely chopped cauliflower to it and allow it to boil in the water for 3-4 minutes. Once the pieces are softer, strain them out and squeeze any excess water from them. Now transfer the cauliflower to a food processor and quickly blitz it until it gets finer. Transfer the fine cauliflower into a mixing bowl and add an egg to it. Also, mozzarella and some salt. Mix well to make a thick gooey dough.
- Transfer the dough onto a baking dish and fashion the shape into a pizza crust-like shape. Bake this until crisp and dry, might take around 20 minutes.
- Once the crust is firm and well-formed, top it with marinara sauce and toppings of choice and bake once again for about 8-10 minutes.
- Once fully baked, remove from oven, and season with mixed herbs and torn pieces of fresh basil. Enjoy this guilt-free pizza with a drink of choice.