Cauliflower is weird.
There, I said it. Don’t get me wrong, though. I love cauliflower! But the fact that it’s white, hard and bumpy is pretty off-putting. Not to mention, it doesn’t naturally excel in the flavor department. Actually, it doesn’t taste like much at all.
But that’s the beauty in it. Sort of like tofu, cauliflower is a rare vegan staple that acts as a blank canvas for whatever you want it to be. It’s extremely versatile in both texture and flavor. Pulse cauliflower in the food processer and BOOM, its rice. Mix that “rice” with a flax egg, some nutritional yeast and a few spices and you’ve got a gluten-free pizza crust. You can also season cauliflower and toss it on the grill, or slather it with buffalo sauce and make vegan wings. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
In case you haven’t heard, cauliflower is really good for you. After all, it is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. This means it’s loaded with nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. Cauliflower is also a good source of fiber and has even been found to inhibit the development of cancer.
If you’re hesitant to give this funky vegetable a try, here are a few recipes that’ll ease you into it.
Quinoa Tempeh Salad with Roasted Cauliflower
Author: Well Vegan
- 1 cup quinoa
- 4 Tbsp. grape seed or peanut oil
- 8 oz. tempeh
- 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400. Toss cauliflower in a tablespoon of the oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and bake until golden on the edges, about 30-40 minutes.
- While your cauliflower is roasting, start cooking your quinoa. Rinse quinoa well and place in a pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain, toss with 1 teaspoon of oil and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to a large skillet. Heat over medium heat and once the oil is hot, add your crumbled tempeh and bell pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally, but not too often because you want it to brown and get a little crispy but definitely not burnt. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook for just a minute or two. Remove your skillet from heat and add the rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce. Stir to combine.
- Combine the quinoa, tempeh mixture and cauliflower in a large bowl. Mix in the scallions, cilantro and serve.
Spicy Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower
Author: Vegan Richa
For the Baked Crispy Cauliflower
- ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp. corn starch or other starch
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. bread crumbs
- ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp. or more water
- ½ tsp cayenne
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. roasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp. oil
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
For the Kung Pao sauce
- 1 tsp. oil
- 8 to 10 dried red chilies
- ½ tsp. coarsely crushed sichuan peppercorns
- 2 to 3 Tbsp. chopped cashews or peanuts
- 4 to 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 inch ginger, minced
- 2 Tbsp. scallions, chopped
For the sauce mix
- 2.5 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce/tamari
- 1 ½ to 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. Chinese rice wine (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. water (use ½ cup for more sauce)
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
Click here to get the full recipe and instructions from Vegan Richa.