Cauliflower, 2 ways

Much like the world of fashion, the culinary world has its trends. Colored jeans, skinny ties and peplum in fashion are to cupcakes, food trucks and gluten-free in food.

The latest thing? Cauliflower. What was once a bland, boring cousin of the ever-popular broccoli, cauliflower has made its big break 🙂 Cauliflower is a nutrient-dense food, providing lots of vitamins & minerals (such as vitamin C and folate) with little calories. It’s also a low-carb, high-fiber vegetable with properties that may slow the growth of some cancers (source).

Widely used among the gluten-free, grain-free and Paleo diets, cauliflower can be prepared in so many different ways, which makes it even more appealing. A popular recipe found all over the interwebs is cauliflower rice, but let me introduce you to 2 of my favorites – Cauliflower Pancakes and Cauliflower Mash.  What’s great about these is you can cook both at the same time and have enough for 2 side dishes: A concept called Cook Once, Eat Twice. Brilliant and economical.

Cauliflower Pancakes

Inspired by my mother-in-law!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower (only 1/2 will be used for this recipe)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup of whole-wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of cayenne*
  • 1 Tbsp. oil (olive, grapeseed or coconut)

Method:

Bring a pot of water to boil. Remove green stem and leaves from the cauliflower and rinse lightly, removing any loose dirt. Cut into medium-sized florets. Add 1 Tbsp. of salt to the boiling water and add the cauliflower. Boil for 5-7 minutes, depending on how large the florets are. Once the cauliflower is soft enough to mash, drain and divide the cauliflower in 2 separate bowls (you’ll only need 1 bowl of the cauliflower for this recipe).

Lightly mash the cauliflower until you have small pieces. Add the egg, flour, cayenne and the rest of salt. Mix until you have a thick batter. Heat a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan and add oil when pan is hot. Ladle about 2 Tbsp. of the cauliflower mixture into the pan and flatten into a pancake. Cook on each side for about 3-5 min or until golden brown, being careful not to break them apart. You may need to add oil to the pan and lower the heat as needed.

Makes roughly 10-12 pancakes depending on how large you make them.  They refrigerate and/or freeze well. Careful, these are addicting.

*Feel free to add other spices or herbs to taste such as pepper, paprika, garlic powder or parsley, just to name a few. I haven’t tried any of these but I imagine they’d be delicious.

On to recipe #2…

Doesn’t that look like a big, heavy bowl of mashed potatoes? It’s pretty darn close in flavor and texture, but much lighter, healthier and just as comforting.
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Cauliflower Mash
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Ingredients:
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  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, boiled from previous recipe
  • 3 small potatoes*, boiled (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of milk, dairy or non-dairy
  • 1 Tbsp. of butter  or olive oil (optional)
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Method:
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Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender. (This recipe is easiest to make when cauliflower is still warm.) Slowly process/blend until cauliflower/potatoes comes together to the consistency you like – process less for a chunkier mash, more for a creamier, puree-like texture. Add a small pat of butter and a sprinkle of paprika on top.
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*I added the potatoes to the boiling water and processed them with the cauliflower to make it thicker like mashed potatoes.
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Two side-dishes, one main ingredient. Pretty good deal if you ask me.  And because it’s a low-carb vegetable, maybe now you can fit into those colored, skinny, peplum jeans** you’ve been eyeing. 😛
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**kidding. Totally made that up.
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The Most Versatile Dip Ever!

Is it a dip? Or is it a pesto? Whatever you call it, I call it delicious 🙂

This concoction of leafy greens, artichokes, nuts and oil all whipped up together = good-for-you perfection. It’s packed with healthy, mostly-raw ingredients (the way nature intended them) and is just so delicious on everything.

It can be tailored to your tastes and to what ingredients you have on hand (hence why I called it versatile!). Don’t have arugula? Try baby spinach, kale, basil or parsley. Substitute the artichokes for roasted red peppers or omit them all together. Add a few olives. Make it more hummus-y by throwing in some beans. Use up leftover cooked sweet potatoes. Try melted coconut oil instead of olive. Add chia or flax seeds for extra nutrition; Parmesan cheese for a salty bite. You get the idea: the possibilities are endless and it’s a great way to use up some leftover healthy ingredients you may have at home.

This recipe is definitely one of my favorites and a staple in my house.  It’s also a big crowd pleaser – I served it at my family’s Christmas Eve party with carrots and cucumber slices and everyone, including the vegetable-averse, loved it! That was a proud moment, for sure 🙂

Artichoke-Greens Pesto Dip

Serves 5-10 as a dip, 4-6 over pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts/almonds/cashews or a mix
  • 1 package of frozen artichokes, thawed or 1 can/jar of drained artichokes
  • 1 cup of loosely packed greens; I used baby arugula
  • Extra virgin olive oil – 1/4 cup, more or less depending on desired consistency
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of imported grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)

Directions:

Place all your ingredients (except for the oil) in the food processor.  Begin to pulse until everything starts to come together, then slowly drizzle olive oil until you reach the consistency you want.  I generally enjoy this more as a chunky dip so I don’t process it too much. For a more pesto-like consistency, continue to process and add more oil or even some broth.

Best enjoyed at room temperature or warmed in the oven. This dip stores well – I’ve kept it for 2 weeks in my refrigerator (when I serve it, I let it sit out for a bit to get to room temperature). I imagine it would freeze well, too, especially if you left out the cheese.

Now go forth and make dip.. pesto.. dip..