Cauliflower is in. Kale is out.
Come on….admit it, you are eating way more cauliflower than kale. Searches for cauliflower rice recipes are up 135 percent on pinterest in the last couple of years. I wrote about Cauliflower being an up and coming veggie in 2016 at Gardening Trends for 2016.
Flower Power-Cauliflower is the next Kale
Traveling to lots of nurseryman’s and flower shows, cutting edge gardens, and keeping up with my blog, gives me a good handle on what is up and coming in the gardening world. Some of these are trends have been around and are still going strong, like Cauliflower!
According to the National Gardening Bureau who names the ‘plants of the year’, 2017 marked the year of the Brassica. Brassica vegetables, including bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, rutabagas, and turnips are popular around the world today and are enjoying a renaissance.
Growing Cauliflower (taken from the National Gardening Bureau)
Cauliflower plants prefer to grow without heat stress and do best in fall or in areas with mild summers. Popular types include the standard white varieties and more exotic colors and shapes also available to home gardeners. In recent years cooked cauliflower has become popular as a replacement for potatoes or flour in many recipes (like mashed potatoes or pizza crust).White types are most often self-blanching- meaning inner leaves cover the curds and protect them from the sun. Varieties include Flamenco F1 (summer production), Toledo F1 (fall production), Snowball, Snowbowl F1, Symphony F1.
Romanesco types are a special type of green cauliflower. The head is a collection of spiraled florets and will be a great way to teach your kids about the Fibonacci numbers (math during dinner!). Romanesco is great for roasting – it is a bit drier than regular cauliflower. Varieties include Veronica F1, Romanesco. Another plant that is modeled on the Fibonacci number is the Sunflower.
Novelty Types are also a lot of fun for the garden. Try a purple or orange variety! They have a similar flavor but add an unexpected pop of color to a veggie tray. Varieties include Graffiti F1 (purple head), Cheddar F1 (orange head), and Vitaverde F1 (green head).
The rise of cauliflower, a cruciferous vitamin packed veggie, that has a unique ability to absorb flavors from other ingredients, rather like a chameleon, has been a long time coming. From cauliflower grilled steaks to peanut butter brownies, cauliflower has landed on top of the heap for a lot of people. California Pizza Kitchen is even offering a cauliflower crust option on their pizzas. And for people who are on Keto diets or who just want to cut down on carbs, this is a great alternative.
Cauliflower Peanut Butter Brownies
I tested making these brownies and they were some of the most flavorful moist brownies that I have ever had! Forget these have cauliflower, they are really good.
- 2 Cups Steamed Cauliflower Florets I steamed these and smashed them into a 2 Cup measuring cup, and place them in the food processor
- 1 1/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Morsels Melt these in a microwave and stir until creamy
- 1/2 Cup Cream Cheese, softened
- 4 Tbsp Peanut Butter, smooth or chunky I only had on hand chunky, but the food processor makes it smooth
- 1/2 Cup Almond Flour You can use regular flour also
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup White Chocolate Morsels
- 1/2 Cup Peanuts (optional) I used unsalted
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter Morsels
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 container
In a food processor, process the 2 cups of cauliflower until completely smooth – this is important as if it is not smooth; it will result in a grainy textured brownie
Add the cream cheese, peanut butter, eggs and sugar then blend again until smooth
Add the almond flour, baking powder, vanilla, and melted chocolate morsels, and blend well
Spoon ½ the mixture into the container, then scatter the Peanut butter morsels, white chocolate morsels, and peanuts over the layer
Spoon the remaining mixture into the pan spreading to cover all the morsels, then bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until an inserted fork is clean
Basically, it’s the vegetable for the perfect time. I grow it every year with varying success and I had good luck with the Purple Sicily variety last year.
Full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, this is a power vegetable. The sulfur compounds it contains, which give off that sharp smell when steamed, may prevent some types of cancers and fight other kinds.
My next top recipe for Cauliflower is Cauliflower Gnocchi, which is one of Trader Joe’s most popular frozen foods. I wanted to make my own and searched on-line and used a recipe that I found with some revisions. My inspiration was finding riced cauliflower at Sam’s Club. And to simplify, I don’t boil the gnocchi I broil it. With so many people on paleo or keto diets, this one should satisfy that carb craving with very little carbs at all.
Not boiled, like other gnocchis which can take a lot of time and mess, these are broiled to make a succulent cheesy bite; they are quite delicious and makes 4 dozen
- 3 -12 Ounce Bags Riced Cauliflower Steamed
- 2 Cups Shredded Cheese, mixed varieties You can use any type you want, I had on hand cheddar and swiss, the recipe called for mozarella
- 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
- 1/3 Cup Almond Flour, extra for rolling
- Kosher Salt, to taste
- 2 Eggs Lightly beaten
Steam riced cauliflower until tender, I used an instant pot on 3 minutes
Cool slightly, and dump on a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. This is important to do, so the gnocchi sticks together. Transfer squeezed cauliflower to a large bowl
While the cauliflower is still hot, add 2 Cups of shredded cheese, eggs, almond flour, and 1 Cup of parmesan cheese. Season with salt and mix together with your hands.
Form into four balls and refrigerate until firm on a cookie sheet, about 30 minutes
Roll out each ball into a log abour 9" long and 1" wide on cutting board dusted with more almond flour
Slice with a sharp knife into 1" pieces and place on greased cookie sheets
Brush with butter and bake for about 10 minutes. Finish up under the broiler for a minute until brown
Garnish with microgreens or other greens like spinach
Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad
A great potluck dish that is beautiful and simple to make. People will be licking the bowl!
- 6-8 Cups Mixed colors, broccoli and cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1/3 Cup Red onion, minced
- 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
- 1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
- 2 Cups Shredded Cheese
- 3 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1 Cup Mayonnaise Try Wasabi mayo for an added kick!
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Cut up all your broccoli and cauliflower in bite sized pieces
In large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar and let sit for 15 minutes
Add rest of ingredients and stir to coat.
Next thing I am going to try, is Cauliflower Fried Rice. Instead of using rice, you use riced cauliflower.