Cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables in your kitchen — Photo courtesy of Getty Images / fcafotodigital
Cauliflower is having a moment. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service estimates that per capita consumption in 2019 was up nearly 75% over a decade prior.
Time Magazine dubbed it “the new kale” a couple years back. But unlike that trendy leafy green, cauliflower’s uptick in consumption is being driven primarily by sneak attacks in which it masquerades as a different food entirely.
From rice to pizza crust, here are all the newfangled ways we’re consuming this versatile vegetable.
Cauliflower rice mixed with parsley — Photo courtesy of iStock / from_my_point_of_view
A cup of cauliflower rice contains a mere 25 calories, compared to the 200+ present in a cup of the old-fashioned stuff. And when it comes to carbs, cauliflower rice’s 5g puts regular rice’s 45g to shame.
So it’s no wonder that sometimes Trader Joe’s grocery stores have had to limit customers to two bags of the stuff per visit. Luckily for us though, making your own couldn’t be easier. Simply pulse a head of cauliflower in a food processor or run it over a cheese grater, and then sauté the “riced” pieces, covered with a lid, for 5 to 8 minutes.
Another cauliflower treatment you could practically make in your sleep, chips are made by slicing florets into relatively thin slivers and then roasting in the oven with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper until crispy.
If you’re too lazy to make your own, plenty of grocery stores now sell bags of pre-made cauliflower chips right next to their potato- and corn-based cousins.
Cauliflower pizza crust
This crust isn’t made with flour; it’s made with cauliflower — Photo courtesy of iStock / f8grapher
The internet is pretty much just a catch-all for hundreds and hundreds of cauliflower pizza crust recipes at this point. Seriously, try Googling it.
If you’re more of a semi-homemade kind of person, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sell pre-made crusts to which you can add your own toppings. Or if you’re feeling decadent, California Pizza Kitchen restaurants offers their pizzas with a cauliflower crust option.
Buffalo cauliflower “wings”
Spice up your life with these buffalo wings — Photo courtesy of iStock / jenifoto
These lighter-than-chicken wings pack just as much spicy satisfaction with a fraction of the calories and fat. Even highbrow culinary mag Bon Appetit raved that “the cauliflower tastes so much like boneless chicken wings, it’s unreal.”
No matter where you are, it’s a good bet that multiple restaurants nearby have a variation of them on the menu. You can also pick up a box of these frozen “wings” at Whole Foods.
All of the flavor without the carbs in this mashed cauliflower — Photo courtesy of iStock / JuliaMikhaylova
If your Thanksgiving table wasn’t invaded last year with mashed cauliflower, chances are someone in your family will try sneaking them in come November. A serving of a typical mashed cauliflower recipe – with all the usual staples like butter, milk and salt – contains just over a quarter as many calories as a serving of mashed potatoes.
Some fantastic humans have even figured out a way to make pretzels from cauliflower. Dedicated to developing snacks that are healthy, From the Ground Up has turned one of America’s favorite snacks into a balanced treat that shows off just how versatile cauliflower can be.
Cauliflower has also been transformed into the notoriously calorie-packed breakfast staple, the bagel. It doesn’t get much more exciting than this za’atar-spiced recipe, but you can always go with the classic everything “bagel.”
Cauliflower mac and cheese
Guilt-free mac and cheese — Photo courtesy of iStock / GEOLEE
Even just a few years ago, we would have collectively just called this “broccoli and cheese made with cauliflower,” but sure, we’ll allow it. Again, if you’re hunting for a recipe, the internet has got you covered.
Cauliflower “tater tots”
Yes, potato may technically be a vegetable, but when it comes to the veggie world, cauliflower has the competitive advantage. Cauliflower “tater tots” are guilt-free and are a great way to slip in an extra serving of vegetables.
Just replace the potatoes with cauliflower in your favorite tater tot recipe. We recommend using cheese to help bind the tots together.
Try these tortillas at your next Taco Tuesday — Photo courtesy of iStock / nata_vkusidey
An easy substitute for corn or flour, cauliflower creates a tortilla with its own unique flavor and best of all, it’s gluten-free!