Cauliflower is everywhere at the market right now. It’s so beautiful with its tightly packed, creamy florets and tender green leaves.
Cauliflower is a member of the brassica family, otherwise known as cruciferous vegetables. Others members of the family: broccoli, brussels, arugula, bok choy, radish, turnips, collard greens, watercress and cabbage.
Cruciferous vegetables basically have superpowers- they’re one of the top vegetables for cancer prevention. They boost and activate our immune system receptors in the gut, they contain high levels of antioxidants, and eating them regularly appears to boost detoxifying enzymes in the liver. Food is SO amazing.
Back to cauliflower, though. It’s in season and you should totally be eating it. Not only is it super healthy for you, it’s delicious and super versatile. You can keep it raw or roast, steam, purée, sauté it. When you cook it, it turns into this slightly sweet, creamy bank canvas to soak up really any flavors you want. You can even turn it into grain free, nutrient dense “rice“.
At the market, choose cauliflower with nice dense florets, bright in color, heavy for its size, with fresh looking leaves. If the ones you see have brown discoloration on them, they’re not as fresh, but you can cut it off at home and underneath it will be fine.
Cauliflower is quite hardy and tends to store very well in the refrigerator. I usually just store mine loose in the produce drawer of my fridge, and it does just fine. You may like to cut it up + store it in a bowl with a lid in the fridge to make it easy to grab and use later in the week. If you’re not using it up fast enough, you can steam it and freeze it- it’s actually great in a smoothie (really! read this if you’re curious).
There are so many vibrant colors of cauliflower- green, purple, orange, white. The colored ones are even better for you than standard white because of the antioxidants. There’s even romanesco, an Italian broccoli-cauliflower-ish veggie that comes in a gorgeous natural fractal shape. I die over these! They are soooooo beautiful.
I first tried cauliflower and squash together in a soup when I made a recipe from the lovely Loni Jane’s second ebook. It’s so perfect- the cauliflower makes it super velvety and creamy!
I made a few tweaks but really this is such a simple recipe, you can customize it however you like. It’s especially good with some crusty bread to dip or a dollop of quinoa and rice added when serving.
After the recipe, I’ve also added links for 4 other recipes to use cauliflower in to give you more ideas on how versatile it can be.
winter squash + cauliflower soup with harissa chickpeas
for the soup
1/2 a medium cauliflower, cut into large florets
1/2 a large kabocha or butternut or pie pumpkin, (or even sweet potato!), cut into 2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, smashed
5 cups veggie broth or 5 cups water + veggie bouillon
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon harissa spice or less depending on how spicy your harissa is (you can also omit or sub curry powder)
3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (optional but boosts the savory flavor)
for the crunchy chickpeas
2 cups or 1 can of chickpeas, drained
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon harissa spice or curry powder
salt and pepper
Crank the oven to 450 Fahrenheit.
Add everything to the pot except the nutritional yeast. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer until the veggies are very soft. A fork should be able to go through with no resistance when you poke them.
While you wait for the veggies to soften, dry the chickpeas on a kitchen towel so they’re not soggy. Transfer to baking sheet and drizzle over coconut oil and salt. Mix with hands to evenly coat. Spread the chickpeas out so they’re in a single layer with plenty of space between them. Pop in the oven and roast till crispy, 15-20 minutes. When they’re done, sprinkle the harissa over them and stir to coat.
Transfer soup to a blender, using a ladle and add the nutritional yeast, then purée till very smooth. Alternatively, add the yeast to the pot and blend with an immersion stick blender.
Ladle/pour into bowls and top with the chickpeas, cilantro and green onions. Finish with chili flakes and any crunchy nuts or seeds you like- I used my DIY everything bagel spice blend but use whatever you like- roasted cashews, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, anything that adds a little texture. Enjoy right away!
This freezes and reheats perfectly too. I freeze in mason jars and then take on out in the morning, put it in the fridge during the day, and then heat it up at night for dinner.
+ 4 other ways to enjoy cauliflower:
kung pao cauliflower: this looks amazing! Obviously leave out the bacon, though, because grosss.
cauliflower cashew curry: curries are a perfect easy weeknight meal as they go so fast yet deliver big flavor. Cauliflower is perfect in curried with its soft, tender texture.
cauliflower “gnocchi” with pesto: this is such an easy trick I learned a long time ago from one of Kim Snyder’s cookbooks. Cut off the ends of the florets, reserving the stems for another use, so that you’re left with bite size roundish pieces. Steam them and then toss with your favorite pesto. UNREAL. So tasty and lightning fast.
cauliflower buffalo “wings”: I’m sure you guys have tried of these or heard of them before, but I still had to mention them because I’m in love with wing sauce and can eat a whole pan of these guys. It’s just cauliflower dipped in batter and baked, then coated with wing sauce. Perfect texture and a great healthier replacement for chicken wings.
easy pasta with cauliflower + greens: this has a Sicilian flair with the raisins, vinegar, and chili flakes and it’s so yummy. Add in chickpeas or use chickpea pasta to make this a hearty, one dish meal.
ENJOY your cauliflower this week! I hope I’ve inspired you to work it more into your rotation- it really is such a wonderful vegetable.