9 Tasty Ways To Use Cauliflower

In recent years, cauliflower has enjoyed a renaissance. Sliced into ‘meaty’ steaks or mashed down into healthy rice, it’s a vegetable that can take on many guises and flavours. Packed full of vitamin C – vital at this time of year – now’s the time to experiment. To help, nine chefs share their favourite ways to use it…
JAMIE OLIVER FOR HOTPOINT

Squashed Cauliflower Cheese: Jamie Oliver For Hotpoint

 You can’t beat a good old cauliflower cheese, and this method uses the whole head – leaves, stalks and all. The classic creamy sauce has been spiked with a little English mustard and uses a mix of different cheeses to really make it sing.

Yield

Serves 6

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower
50g of stale bread
50g of flaked almonds
½ bunch of fresh thyme or rosemary
25g of unsalted butter
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp of plain flour
1 tsp of English mustard
1 litre of semi-skimmed milk
150g of leftover mixed cheeses (such as cheddar, parmesan or gouda)

Method

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

Step 2

Trim the base of the cauliflower, then use a sharp knife to score a deep cross in the stalk. Remove any tatty outer leaves, leaving the rest intact. Carefully place, stalk-side down, in a large pan of boiling salted water. Cook for 6 minutes, then drain and leave to steam dry.

Step 3

Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Blitz the bread, almonds and herbs in a food processor to a fine crumb and set aside.

Step 4

For the cheese sauce, place the butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then stir in the flour and mustard to make a thick paste. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly, to give you a loose white sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, or until thick and glossy. Grate in 100g of cheese, mix well and season to taste.

Step 5

Transfer the cauliflower to a 25cm round ovenproof dish and squash it down with your hands to flatten and fill the dish.

Step 6

Pour over the cheese sauce, then grate over the remaining cheese and top with the breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling, and serve straight away.

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Roast Spiced Cauliflower With Romesco & Olives: José Pizarro, Pizarro

Yield

Serves 6

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

55 Minutes

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower, outermost leaves removed
1 tsp each of smoked hot and smoked sweet pimenton
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped
4 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of medium dry sherry
Juice of a lemon
25g of roasted flaked almonds
For the black olive romesco:
50g of blanched almonds
50g of blanched hazelnut
350g of roasted red peppers from a jar
100g of black Hojiblanco Spanish olives, pitted
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 tbsp of sherry vinegar
1 tsp of smoked sweet pimenton
30g of fresh breadcrumbs
5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oils

Method

Step 1

Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan. Mix the pimentons with the thyme leaves and olive oil and rub all over the cauliflower. Sit into a small roasting tin and season well. Add a good splash of boiling water and roast for 40 minutes. Drizzle with the sherry and lemon juice and return to the oven for 10 minutes more.

Step 2

Meanwhile, bash the almonds and hazelnuts in a pestle and mortar to rough crumbs. Whiz the peppers and olives together with the garlic, vinegar and pimenton. Season and stir in the roughly ground nuts and breadcrumbs. Add the oil.

Step 3

Serve wedges of the cauliflower on a bed of romesco sauce and scatter with the flaked almonds and parsley.

Sweet Hoisin Cauliflower With Glass Noodles & Lettuce Cups: Lizzie Mabbott, Lee Kum Kee

A riff on the traditional Cantonese dish, sang choi bao, these vegetarian lettuce wraps are easy to make and are great for sharing with friends, or a DIY dinner with the family. Light and refreshing, add pickled red chillies if you can handle more heat.

Yield

Serves 4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

35 Minutes

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower, broken into even-sized florets
2 tbsp of cooking oil
4 tbsp of smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp of seasoned rice vinegar
100ml of boiled water
1 tbsp of Lee Kum Kee chilli garlic sauce
120g of Lee Kum Kee sweet hoisin sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
100ml of water
2 spring onions, sliced finely
1 cucumber, top, tailed and halved, and sliced thinly into 4cm lengths
Pickled red chillies
140g of dry weight glass noodles, cooked as per packet instructions
1 tsp of sesame oil
2 heads of little gem lettuce, leaves kept whole but separated

Method

Step 1

Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas 7. Line a tray with baking paper, add the cauliflower and drizzle with oil. Toss with your hands and roast for 15 minutes.

Step 2

Mix the smooth peanut butter with the rice vinegar and slowly add 100ml of boiling water, stirring it thoroughly until you get to the consistency of double cream. You may not need all the water. Set aside.

Step 3

Mix the garlic sauce, sweet hoisin sauce, garlic and water together. Toss in the cauliflower and return to the oven, turning it down to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas 6 and roast for a further 10 minutes.

Step 4

Remove cauliflower from the oven, garnish with spring onions and serve with cucumbers, peanut sauce, pickled chillies, glass noodles tossed with sesame oil and lettuce leaves.

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Cauliflower & Lentil Thai Larb: Chris Archer, Pentonbridge Inn

Thai food is quite simply one of the world’s finest cuisines – it’s full of exciting vibrant flavours and healthy to boot. Below is a recipe for larb, a northern Thai salad. Sour and spicy, it is usually made with minced pork or chicken, but here it is adapted to use cauliflower and lentils.

Yield

Serves 4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

30 Minutes

Ingredients

1 cauliflower
100g of puy lentils
2 spring onions
1 red onion
Bunch of mixed soft herbs i.e. Thai basil, coriander or mint
100ml of fresh lime juice
50ml of fish sauce
1 birds eye chilli, chopped
1 tsp of sweet chilli jam
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
1 tsp of chilli flakes 1
1 tsp of sugar
2 tbsp of khao khua (roasted ground rice). If you can’t buy this, it’s easy to make, just toast leftover cooked rice in a pan until, lightly golden and crispy. Then grind to a powder.

Method

Step 1

Place the lentils in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Immediately drain and then add the lentils back into the pan and cover with clean water. Bring the lentils up to a simmer, then cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Once cooked, drain, and allow to cool on a tray.

Step 2

Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and cut into florets. Chop the cauliflower into small pieces. The idea is it should resemble minced beef in appearance and texture.

Step 3

In a frying pan, add a little cooking oil and fry the cauliflower over a medium high heat. Cook for approximately three minutes. The cauliflower should colour, and char slightly, but still have a slight crunchy texture. Add to the cooked lentils.

Step 4

Finely slice the spring onions and red onion.

Step 5

Roughly chop your soft herbs into a large mixing bowl, add the cooked lentils and cauliflower (it’s best if the vegetables are still slightly warm or above room temperature).

Step 6

Stir in the remaining ingredients along with the sliced onions.

Step 7

Taste for seasoning, you are looking for a balance spicy, sour and slightly sweet.

Step 8

This salad is best served with steamed rice to go with the spicy dressing.

Crispy Roasted Cauliflower With Parmesan: Ligia Lugo: The Daring Kitchen

Yield

Serves 6

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

40 Minutes

Ingredients

½ cup of butter, melted
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of Italian or plain breadcrumbs
½ cup of parmesan, grated
¼ tsp of salt
¼ tsp of black pepper
1 medium cauliflower head

Method

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Step 2

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Step 3

Remove all leaves from the cauliflower head. Cut cauliflower into florets, roughly equal in size.

Step 4

Melt the butter and put in a small bowl. Add the garlic and stir it in.

Step 5

Place the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and parmesan in another bowl.

Step 6

Dip each cauliflower piece into the melted butter, then into the breadcrumbs.

Step 7

Place each breaded piece on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until you use up all cauliflower.

Step 8

Roast the cauliflower for 30-35 minutes, or until the breading is golden brown.
MERCHANT GOURMET

Cauliflower Cheese: Tom Booton, The Dorchester

Yield

Serves 4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

2 Hours

Ingredients

4 cauliflowers, prepped into florets. Save the stems.
2 banana shallots, sliced
1 bulb of garlic, sliced
500g of milk
200g of double cream
250g of cheddar cheese
100g of cheddar cheese, for the mix
75g of flour
75g of butter
Salt

Method

Step 1

Sweat the sliced stems in a pan. When they’ve started to soften, add the shallots and carry on sweating until they start to colour, then add the garlic for 2 minutes.

Step 2

Once the garlic is cooked, add in the milk and bring to the boil. Once boiled, take off the heat and add in the double cream. Leave to cool for 30 minutes.

Step 3

After 30 minutes, fish out the stems and save the liquid – this is your milk for the béchamel sauce.

Step 4

In a cold pan, start to heat the butter to melt. Once melted add in the flour and cook off until it becomes a roux, to avoid that raw flour taste. Cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat.

Step 5

Start adding in the cauliflower milk from earlier to the roux bit by bit. Once all the milk is added, boil for 30 minutes. Once you’ve got a sauce-like consistency, take off the heat and whisk in the grated cheddar cheese.

Step 6

Bring a pan of seasoned water to the boil and blanch your cauliflower florets for 4 minutes. Check to see if they are cooked (no one likes a raw cauliflower cheese). Once cooked, cool down in the fridge or plunge in ice water quickly.

Step 7

To assemble the dish, mix the cauliflower florets with the béchamel sauce, then add in 100g of grated cheese, season well and place into an ovenproof dish. This can be done the day before and kept in the fridge.

Step 8

When you’re ready to eat, place in an oven at 190°C for 15-25 minutes

Cauliflower Rice With Fresh Turmeric: Peter Joseph, Kahani

Yield

Serves 4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

20 Minutes

Ingredients

1 large head of cauliflower
1 tbsp of olive oil
½ tsp of whole cumin
1 whole chopped green chilli
½ tsp of grated fresh turmeric
Salt to taste

Method

Step 1

Remove the green stems from the cauliflower, and then cut one into 4 pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry it.

Step 2

Use a manual box grater to grate the cauliflower into rice (with the grater use the medium side to grate the cauliflower, not the fine side). If you are using a food processor, cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces and use the grater attachment to grate.

Step 3

Transfer to a clean towel or fine sieve and press to remove any excess moisture, which can make your dish soggy.

Step 4

Once you have your raw cauliflower rice, it is easy to cook. Simply sauté in a large frying pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil, cumin, green chilli and fresh turmeric.

Step 5

Cover with a lid so the cauliflower steams and becomes more tender. Cook for a total of 4-6 minutes, then season with salt.

Roasted Cauliflower & Leek Soup: Alexi von Eldik, Cru8

Yield

Serves 4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

30 Minutes

Ingredients

About 2 cups of cauliflower
2-3 leeks
2 garlic cloves
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
½ cup of raw, unsalted, unroasted cashews, soaked overnight
3 cups of water
⅛ tsp of smoked paprika (or more to taste)
Squeeze of lemon
Sea salt and fresh black pepper

Method

Step 1

Chop the cauliflower and leeks, place on a baking tray with the garlic and drizzle with olive oil.

Step 2

Place in the oven and roast until lightly browned.

Step 3

Add 1 cup of water and the cashews into the blender, blend until completely smooth, add the roasted veg.

Step 4

Add another cup of water and blend until desired consistency is reached, add water as necessary. Season to taste, add a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.

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Spiced Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, Chickpeas & Tahini Dressing: Merchant Gourmet

This generous combination of spicy veg and grains are best served warm, with your choice of grilled kebab meats. Crumble over some feta cheese for a sharp, yet creamy, kick.

Yield

Serves 4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

30 Minutes

Ingredients

2 pouches of Merchant Gourmet Spanish-Style Grains
1 small head of cauliflower
1 medium sweet potato
2 red peppers
1 red onion, peeled
Olive oil
3 tsp of smoked paprika
3 tsp of cumin
60g of blanched almonds
1 can of chickpeas
2 handfuls of dates, pitted and roughly chopped
2 tsp of zaatar
2 tbsp of chopped parsley
For the dressing:
6 tbsp of tahini
6 tbsp of lemon juice
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
5-6 tbsp of water
A large pinch of flaky sea salt

Method

Step 1

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C Fan.

Step 2

Break the cauliflower into florets and chop into bite-sized pieces. Roughly chop the sweet potato into cubes, de-seed the pepper and slice into strips. Cut the onion into wedges (about 8). Try to cut all of the veg into roughly the same size pieces so that they cook even.

Step 3

Arrange the vegetables on two baking trays without anything overlapping and drizzle well with oil, using your hands to toss everything so that it’s all coated well. Sprinkle over the paprika and cumin and season with salt.

Step 4

Put in the oven for 20-25 minutes (checking and stirring halfway) until everything is tender and starting to char around the edges. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Step 5

Put the almonds on a separate baking tray and put them in the oven for 5-8 minutes until fragrant and golden. Leave to cool before chopping roughly.

Step 6

Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing, starting with 5 tbsp of water and adding another if you’d like to thin it a bit more. Taste for seasoning.

Step 7

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to a large pan with the grains and a glug of olive oil. Heat on a medium heat to warm through.

Step 8

When you’re ready to serve, toss the warm grain/chickpea mixture with the roasted vegetables and the dates. Put the mix into a serving bowl and scatter over the zaatar, parsley and toasted almonds.

Step 9

Bring the dressing to the table and let your guests drizzle it generously over their food.

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