my new love: cauliflower

Posted on June 11th, 2013

I’ve found a new love. It’s an autumnal love. She’s versatile. She spreads herself generously. She’s sweet, but not toxic and, OK, she’s cheap.

Parmesan roasted cauliflower. Image via Pinterest

Parmesan roasted cauliflower. Image via Pinterest

I’ve been playing with cauliflower for a few weeks now. I think you should have a go, too. These clunky white nuggets are full of antioxidants, rich in fibre and Vitamin C, a natural detoxifier and an anti-inflammatory food. Yep, they’re a cruciferous vegetable and contain goitrogens that meant to be problematic for those of us with thyroid issues. But my take on this issue: there are far worse triggers to dampen thyroid. Plus, the goitrogenic enzymes are partially destroyed by heat. If you don’t binge on the things and only eat them cooked, you’re all good…IMO.

So…some ideas worth spreading:

1. Cauliflower Fried Rice

Serves 2

  • 3 cups cauliflower (approx half head of small cauliflower)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2  eggs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 3 green shallots, sliced
  • 100g prawns shelled, diced*
  • Tamari or soy sauce to taste
  • sea salt, to taste

Grate the cauliflower on the larger side of a cheese grater, or pulse in a food processor until it’s rice sized. Wrap the riced cauliflower in a couple paper towels and squeeze it to remove any excess moisture.

In a small fry pan, skillet or wok, fry the prawn meat in one teaspoon oil until almost cooked, then set aside. Beat the eggs then cook as a flat omelette in another teaspoon of the oil. Remove from the pan and slice into strips using a knife or a pair of
scissors and set aside with the prawns. In the same pan, saute the garlic with the remaining oil, over medium heat. Add in the carrots and frozen peas and a splash of water to prevent sticking, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shallots, cauliflower and remaining veggies along with a generous splash of tamari and salt. Stir to combine and heat through, about 3-5 minutes.

  • If you don’t like prawns, substitute with bacon or chicken.
Image by

Image by

2. Cauliflower pizza

Seriously good – a pizza base that you can use like any other!

Serves 4

  • 1 medium-size cauliflower, grated and cooked, drained well and water squeezed out
  • 100g goat’s cream cheese or 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 1 egg
  • salt and black pepper

In a bowl, mix the grated cauliflower with the cheese and egg, and season. Divide the mix into four portions (or one big pizza) and, using your hands, shape the crusts on the sheet. They should be about 1-1½cm thick. Place on a try lined with baking paper. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until firm and golden.

Top with pizza toppings and cook as you would a normal pizza (about 8 minutes back in the oven).

3. Cheesy Cauliflower Leftovers “Pasta”

This is a great way to use up leftover quinoa that you might have in the freezer.

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 1/2 cups of parcooked ‘n’ frozen quinoa (or make some from scratch…recipe here)
  • 1/2 cup kale pesto (recipe here, or use any pesto you like)
  • big handful of grated cheese (Parmesan is best) or a big dollop of olive oil

Fry the cauliflower in some olive oil with a sprinkle of salt, cover and then sweat for about 10 minutes. Add the quinoa and peso and stir to heat through. Then stir through the cheese

4. Grilled Broccoli + Cauliflower

This came from

Makes 4-6 servings
  • 2 medium-large red onions, cut into halves and thickly sliced
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (bite-size)
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, washed, trimmed and cut into florets (bite-size)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup oil

Pre-heat grill, along with a grill grid/pan on HIGH for 10 minutes. Toss all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. (When adding the salt, sprinkle it rather than dumping it all in one spot.) Pour vegetables onto pre-heated grill pan and spread out evenly. Turn heat to LOW and grill with lid closed for 20-30 minutes. (Smaller florets will cook more quickly.) Stir and check every 10 minutes; vegetables are done when crisp-tender and browned on some sides. Serve hot and enjoy!

I like to serve these grilled veggies with grilled fish, beef, or chicken.


5. Whole Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower

I love this recipe by Sarah from My New Roots. And I love that she bought her spices from a dude I met in Copenhagen when I was photographing my book. He gave me a bunch of spices which I used to make my Royal Pumpkin Salad.

6. Roasted Cauliflower + Chickpeas

This is based on Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe in It’s All Good.

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon each Dijon mustard, seeded mustard, apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C. Combine the cauliflower and peas in oil in a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 40 minutes, until brown. Put the rest of the ingredients in a jar and shake. When your veggies are done, pour the dressing over the top (while still hot) and serve.

7. Cheesy Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 leek chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups water or stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tbs dried Italian herbs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cheese (blue cheese is best)

Fry off leek in the oil over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and brown lightly. Pour in stock/water and milk and bring to the boil. Add potato salt, garlic and herbs. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Blend with a stick blender. Serve with the cheese crumbled on  top.

grain free seafood paella Cauliflower Paella

8. Cauliflower Paella

I like this one from
Serves 6
  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 1 link chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup clam juice (from canned clams) or more chicken broth
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 fresh tomatoes or 1 jar of diced tomatos, diced and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed and diced
  • 1 pinch saffron threads (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 250g of prawns
  • 1 dozen clams
  • 1 dozen oysters
  • parsley and lemon to garnish

Put the olive oil or butter in a large flat skillet. Saute the chorizo until browned and remove from pan. Cut chicken in to bit size pieces and add to pan. Cook until cooked through and browned and remove. In the same pan, place the finely diced onion, garlic, pepper and tomatoes and cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat until onions are translucent. Using a food processor or cheese grater, grate the cauliflower until it is in small, rice-size pieces. Add to pan with chicken broth and clam stock. Add saffron, salt, pepper and paprika and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

While that is simmering, add ½ inch of water to a small pan and bring to a boil. Add the clams and cook at least 5 minutes until they have opened up. Do not use any that don’t open! Cook oysters and set aside. When the cauliflower is starting to get tender, add the shrimp and continue to cook until pink. When shrimp and cauliflower are cooked and cauliflower is bright yellow from the saffron, add the cooked sausage, chicken and clams to the top of the pan. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and squeeze lemon wedges on top just before serving.

9. Cauliflower Dahl

  • 1 onion
  • 3cm chunk of ginger, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp each ground coriander and cumin
  • 1/2 tsp each cayenne pepper and ground turmeric
  • 1 medium red chilli, chopped finely and deseeded (or 2 tsp chilli flakes)
  • 2 cups yellow split peas, rinsed (not soaked)
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach leaves
  • coriander leaves to garnish
  • 1/2 lemon, cut in quarters

In a thick-based pot, sweat the onion in some oil (coconut is perfect for this), then add the ginger, garblic and spices and toast gently. Take your time, Gentle heat is best. Toss in the peas and cover with water and bring to a boil. Then simmer (partially covered) for 35 minutes. Add the cauliflower and a little more water (if you need it) and cook for another 35 minutes. Stir through the spinach,  coriander and lemon quarters and serve with some yoghurt for breakfast lunch or dinner.

How do you roll with your cauliflower?

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  • eskimojo

    Cauliflower puree is mashed potatoes’ sophisticated older sister, and so easy:

    Steam cauliflower pieces with a couple of garlic cloves.
    Puree with blender
    Season with salt + pepper (and butter if you’re into that)

    I don’t know what happens but the stuff completely transforms – it’s absolutely incredible.


    Jessica Nazarali Reply:

    This sounds awesome…I’m definitely going to give it ago!


    Heidi Reply:

    Sarah, I love your website. I cant wait to try these recipes, especially the Paella. I love your site as I have learned so much. I just finished reading Nora Gedgaudas book Primal Body, Primal Mind after listening to a podcast you did a while back. I don’t have any diagnosis, but have been working with a naturopath here in Canada for over a year to deal with difficulties with hormones, brain fog and fatigue. I am making progress slowly and steadily and have found the information you post to be so helpful to my journey. thanks :)


    Tamara Sanderson Reply:

    I totally agree. I actually blogged about the same thing this week & made cauliflower pizza. So good and healthy!


    Ruth Reply:

    I use it to top a shepards pie (thank you Supercharged Food!). It is so yummy.


  • Anna Joseph

    Hi Sarah – this is a really awesome selection of recipes, perfect for winter + the necessary avoidance of those wheaty/carby cold weather comfort foods. I am going to work my way down the list, starting with cauli-fried-rice tonight. Thanks for posting!


  • Stormageddon

    I like them just pan-fried in butter with garlic and pepper. Mmm.

    Mia x


  • Jessica R

    How timely! I was just busy getting my recipe stalk on on this page right now after staring at a cauli for a good 10 minutes and then BAM!! cauli recipes galore. Thanks, so much once again, love what you do and how you do it x


  • Natalie

    Hi Sarah
    Ive made the cauliflower pizza before, just a tip- the base tends to stick to the baking paper so make sure you lightly oil first (unless this is just me and the cheap-o baking paper I use!).


    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    thanks Natalie!


  • Brenda

    love love love cauliflower, have not eaten potatoes or rice since mastering the cauliflower versions. so glad to see others who love it aswell


  • Sara

    Cauliflower is my friend. Love it! I’ve even managed to make a pretty good cauliflower chia seed mix that works and tastes like sushi rice.


  • Sha

    We love Cauliflower, thanks for some new inspiration!


  • Louise

    I’ve had a growing love affair with cauliflower for a while now. Soup of course. I make a wonderful roast cauliflower and quinoa dish quite often- it’s great for work lunches.

    Just in the past few weeks I’ve been making cauliflower mash by the bucketful. I just steam a whole cauliflower til its fairly soft, and then blitz it in the blender with a tablespoon or so of hummus. It’s creamy and delicious. A fabulous base for all sorts of meals. I really like eskimojo’s suggestion of using a few garlic cloves too- I think I’ll try that next time, pity I just made a huge batch tonight.

    Thanks so much for your inspiration today. I just love the look of that whole roasted cauliflower- that looks sensaitonal.


  • Hayley

    How much cauliflower is required for the paella? I can’t see it listed.


  • Lucy

    Hey how much cauli in the paella recipe? Cheers


  • y8

    Amazing as ever Sarah. Your recipes are always a must. Thanks 😉


  • Bec C

    Ive made a cheesecake out of cauliflower puree before. From memory it was about 50/50 cream cheese/cauliflower as the filling and it was awesome!
    I also make cauliflower ‘steaks’ regually by just slicing it thickly and grilling it up


  • Alison May

    Oh Sarah… my absolute favorite vegetable… nothing in the world beats good old- fashioned cauliflower liberally sprinkled with paprika for sheer comfort, but cauliflower fried rice sounds like my kinda bliss too…

    I’m almost wishing my summer full of salad away now…


  • Nikki

    I see you used the ol cauliflower rice trick! its awesome even for curries or anything rice you can even make sushi out of it!


  • Vasiliki

    that sounds really delicious actually!!!


  • Natalie Harris

    Loving the sound of the cauliflower fried rice for a paleo take on the Chinese version. I wonder if cauliflower would work as a replacement for the rice in Nasi Goreng also? Will have to try it…


  • Connie Bennett

    Wow, Sarah, thanks for the awesome cauliflower recipes!

    I’m very intrigued by the Cauliflower Fried Rice and by the recipe with roasted cauliflower and chickpeas that’s based on Gwyneth Paltrow’s book.

    For now — until I try some of your recipes (the ones that are gluten free and dairy free) — my favorite cauliflower recipe is a Mashed (“Potatoes”) Cauliflower. (Eskimojo also mentions something like this.)

    Here are some other ideas on how to give it some zest and flavor.

    – Steam cauliflower (use organic cauliflower, preferably, which you generally can get from a farmer’s market)
    – Put soft veggie into a blender, Magic Bullet or other device, with a tad bit of filtered water (not too much)\

    Then, add any or all of the following:
    * Lightly steamed dulse (a seaweed) — this will turn your Mashed Cauliflower purple and give it a nice flavor.
    * A dash of sea salt, if you like (you can use any kind of Sea Seasonings)
    * Organic Dill
    * Rosemary (I just read some interesting pieces about the benefits of rosemary — — and here —
    * Other spices, as desired

    You can have a lot of fun experimenting on how to make this dish more to your liking.

    Thanks again, Sarah, for getting us to think of eating cauliflower. Have you seen this? —


  • Therese

    I use it instead of Mash Potato all the time!!


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