This fall, welcome cauliflower back into your kitchen: cauliflower. Distinguished from its mostly green Brassica cousins like Brussels, cabbage, collards, kale, and broccoli, cauliflower is most commonly a creamy white, and is sweet enough to satisfy the starchy component in a meal in both texture and flavor (try our Mashed Cauliflower). Cauliflower is great for absorbing and complementing other flavors, such as curry and other spices, hints of browning from the cast-iron skillet or oven, good-quality olive oil, minced herbs, and chopped toasty nuts.
Cauliflower is low-carb, low-fat, and offers many nutritional benefits, especially in colored varieties such as orange, which has tons of vitamin A. If you’re on a health kick, simply wash, core, and trim a head of cauliflower down to its florets to boil or steam with a little salt and pepper. As with all vegetables, steaming retains more nutrients than boiling.
Cauliflower comes in beautiful purples, oranges, yellows, browns, and light greens, (sometimes called broccoflower). We usually eat the florets, bite-sized pieces from the heads of the plants (called curds), which have been modified to form the tiny, ornamental flowers we know today. Though we have been cultivating this Mediterranean vegetable for centuries, it is still notoriously difficult to grow. American farmers typically grow Northern European annuals, harvested from summer to late fall. If you go to a fall or spring farmer’s market, you will likely see green and other colored varieties of mostly Romanesco types, recognizable by their pointy-tipped florets.
In the grocery store, make sure to look for firm, dense heads without spotting, and bright, spritely green leaves (sometimes grocers remove these, but they are protective and are a good freshness indicator). Cauliflower is best stored in your loosely wrapped refrigerator for about a week. It can also be blanched and frozen (save the stalks to add a sweet flavor to a vegetable stock). Some recipes will recommend blanching cauliflower, as in our Marinated Vegetable Salad.
For some traditional cauliflower recipes:
Leeks and red peppers, onto the baking sheet and into the oven as you make a fast mustard vinaigrette and walk away!
Spicy Penne with Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a great ingredient for pastas and gratins (loves cheese), or for legumes and whole grains like lentils and quinoa!
Cauliflower in soups:
Very Green Soup
Pureed with spinach and garlic – yum!
Apple Cider Butternut Squash Bisque
Featuring a great basic vegetable soup recipe template, with cauliflower or butternut squash as the main ingredient!
For that extra Paula kick, try these original, flavor-popping ideas:
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Grated, cauliflower mixed with egg and cheese forms a tasty, easy, carb-less crust that’s so delicious, you won’t miss the flour!
Sauteed and folded into turkey meatloaf!
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Inspired by her early days of selling lunches as The Bag Lady, Paula Deen will host a Box Lunch to End Hunger, presented by The Bag Lady Foundation, Springer Mountain Farms, and Hoffman Media. This grab-and-go lunch event will be held at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Tuesday, September 16 from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. For a $15 donation at the door (no advanced tickets), guests will receive a box lunch prepared by Edgar’s Bakery featuring Springer Mountain Farms chicken and Golden Flake potato chips, and have the opportunity to meet Paula Deen. Grab these delicious boxed lunches and take them back to your office or share with a friend or neighbor. One hundred percent of proceeds will be donated to the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, which serves 12 counties in our area. For the price of one lunch, 135 meals or 65 pounds of food can be distributed to the food insecure in our area.
“Since September is Hunger Action Month, the timing of this event couldn’t be more perfect,” says Brian Hart Hoffman, Chief Creative Officer at Hoffman Media. “Paula Deen’s dedication to helping those in need and positively impacting people’s lives every day makes this event ideal for getting our community involved in the fight to end hunger in Central Alabama.”
Each guest will be entered into a raffle to win front-row seats to the Paula Deen Live! show at the Alabama Theatre the same evening.
Sponsors for Paula Deen’s Box Lunch to End Hunger include Golden Flake and Edgar’s Bakery.
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are located at 2612 Lane Park Road Birmingham, AL 35223.
Come see Paula’s live show at the Times Union Center for Performing Arts in Jacksonville, FL and get a heaping helping of Paula’s recipes, and some good old-fashioned fun and laughter!
Tickets available from Ticketmaster here!
Sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms.
Join Paula at DuBois Furniture in Waco, TX for a book signing and meet and greet from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm.