Cauliflower: The New Kale

This year, cauliflower takes the spotlight from kale as the new trendy vegetable. Cauliflower can be found almost year-round and can be easily dressed up or down due to its mild yet nutty flavor. Check out the list below for some unique ways to cook cauliflower:

1. Garlic mashed cauliflower
At a glance, it looks just like real thing—soft, creamy, and delicious! To make this “better for you” option, simply boil cauliflower until soft (about five minutes) and place the drained florets in a food processor with one tablespoon cream cheese, one tablespoon melted butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Garnish each dollop of mashed cauliflower with a dash of chopped green onions.

2. Baked cauliflower tots
No one is too old for finger food. This “better for you” option features cauliflower insteadof potatoes. Steam cauliflower florets until just soft. Drain any liquid and blend into small chunks with a food processor. Mix with one egg, a few tablespoons of flour, grated parmesan cheese, diced onions, bell peppers, salt, and ground black pepper. Roll into oval shapes and cover evenly with breadcrumbs before popping them into an oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

3. Cauliflower crusted pizza
Separate the (raw) florets and blend in a food processor until fine. Steam until barely soft and drain any excess water. Combine in a bowl with two eggs, a half cup of mozzarella cheese, one half cup of grated parmesan cheese, and a pinch of salt and garlic powder. Flatten into a thin circle on a greased tray and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with tomato sauce and pizza toppings and bake for another 10 minutes.

4. Egg and cauliflower muffins
Here’s a savory muffin that’s perfect for breakfast on-the-go or a side dish at any meal. With a food processor, blend the florets of a cauliflower with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil as fine as you can. Mix in a separate bowl with beaten eggs, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and diced ham, onions, portobello mushrooms, and bell peppers. Bake in a muffin tin at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes for a filling muffin that’s packed with nutrients and protein.

5. Fried cauliflower
This tasty treat is simple and quick to prepare. Cut cauliflower florets into bite sized portions and and mix evenly in a large bowl with two beaten eggs. Remove florets from the egg mixture and toss generously with one cup flour, one tablespoon garlic powder, one teaspoon ground black pepper, and two tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese. Add other seasonings, like oregano, parsley, or ground chili pepper, to taste. Fry in oil (365 degrees Fahrenheit) for a few minutes or until golden brown.

Esther Chen is a fourth year student studying clinical nutrition at University of California, Davis. She hopes to complete a dietetic internship and become a registered dietitian.

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