Adding to cauliflower's appeal is its extreme versatility. You can eat it raw – as a crudité with dips, in smoothies or added to salads, or use it in your cooking – steamed, roasted or added to soups. Cauliflower can even be seasoned and mashed for a healthier version of "mashed potatoes."
Storage: In a paper bag in the fridge a whole cauliflower should keep satisfactorily for a week. Keep upside down to prevent condensation forming on top of the curds.
Cooking: Cauliflower florets are the part of the plant that most people eat. However, the stem and leaves are edible too and are especially good for adding to soup and stocks. To prepare, remove any outer leaves and rinse under the tap. Cut off the florets at the base where they meet the stem, you can cut them smaller if required.
To cook, these florets can be steamed for 4-5 minutes – try not to overcook them, as the longer you cook them the spongier and smellier they become, not to mention allowing all those wonderful nutrients to leach out. Or try some of these recipes:
- Cauliflower Soup (serves 4)
Cauliflower (1 head)
1 large onion
1 tblsp olive oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock (hot)
- Chop the onion roughly and break the cauliflower into florets.
- Heat 1 tblsp olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over a lowish heat and add the onion and cauliflower, allowing them to soften for a minute or two.
- Add the turmeric, ground coriander and cumin and stir, cooking for a further minute or two.
- Pour in the hot stock and allow to simmer for 45 minutes.
- Blitz with a stick blender or food processor.
- Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry (Serves 4)
2 tblsp coconut oil or mild (not extra virgin) olive oil
3 tblsp medium curry paste
2 large onions,
½ cauliflower, broken into small florets
240g canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400ml hot vegetable stock
1 tblsp tamarind
250g (9oz) fine green beans
Handful of coriander, torn or roughly chopped
A little sea salt
1. Put the oil and the curry paste in a large frying pan or wok and fry the onions over a medium heat for around 5 minutes to soften them. Add the cauliflower and chickpeas to the pan and stir to coat them in the other ingredients.
2. Pour in the stock and tamarind, and stir. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer over a gentle heat for around 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is fairly soft.
3. Stir in the green beans and cook for another 5 minutes or so until they are tender.
4. Check the seasoning, add salt if necessary and scatter with the coriander leaves before serving.
- Cauliflower Popcorn (4 servings)
2 Tblsp. olive oil
Cauliflower (1 head)
½ teaspoon turmeric
- Preheat oven to 240°/fan 220°/gas mark 9. Brush 1 or 2 baking sheets with some olive oil. Cut cauliflower into 1” florets. Toss with olive oil and turmeric and spread evenly on the baking sheet(s).
- Roast for about 10 minutes. Shake around or toss with a spoon so that they brown evenly. Roast for another 5 minutes. Taste at this point to see if they are done to your liking. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. This may also be served at room temperature.