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7 Creative Ways to Cook Cauliflower

Two vegan chefs share some delicious twists on this versatile veg.

This innocuous veggie is having a moment. Trendy dishes like cauliflower ‘rice’ and mashed ‘potatoes’ have brought this superfood – known for its protective effects against inflammation and cancer – a new notoriety. “Its mild taste makes cauliflower a fantastic canvas for bold flavours,” says chef and runner Richard Landau. He and his wife, pastry chef Kate Jacoby (also a runner), penned the cookbooks Vedge and V Street.

Thai Salad

Roast florets tossed with salt and sesame oil at 200°C for about 10 minutes. Whisk together 1 tablespoon tamari, ¼ teaspoon white pepper, and 1 teaspoon each lime juice, sriracha or sambal, and sesame oil. Toss cooled cauliflower in dressing and arrange on lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts, coriander and basil.

Spicy Curry

Whisk together ½ cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons minced ginger, ¼ cup each sriracha, chopped coriander, and vegan mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rice-wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons each curry powder and cumin, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Dress florets lightly with sunflower oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 200°C for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Toss in curry sauce. Serve over rice or stuffed into sandwiches.

Mashed ‘Potatoes’

Boil florets in lightly salted water, and save some of the cooking water. Puree in food processor, slowly adding back equal parts cooking water and olive oil until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast for a cheesy and nutty umami flavour.

Cauliflower ‘Rice’

Pulse raw cauliflower in food processor until it resembles rice grains. Do not overprocess. Cook cauliflower in vegetable stock with salt and pepper for about 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and reserve stock (for soup) and drizzle the ‘rice’ with olive oil.

Cauliflower ‘Steaks’ with Harissa

For the Perfect Steak

  1. Remove outer leaves and trim stem.
  2. Hold cauliflower with its base on cutting board.
  3. Make one cut through the center of the cauliflower to divide it in half.
  4. Move knife 3cm from original cut, and cut through for a 3cm-thick steak.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch 3cm-thick cauliflower steaks for 4 minutes. Remove and transfer to a sheet pan and brush all sides evenly with sunflower oil and harissa sauce, found in the international aisle of the supermarket, or in organic shops. Grill until char marks appear, about 1 minute each side.

For Harissa Sauce

Combine and pulse in a food processor 1 cup chopped tomatoes; 1 cup pickled red chilli (stems removed); 4 garlic cloves; 1 teaspoon each coriander, cumin, caraway seed, and sea salt; 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar; and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Bruschetta

Combine ½ cup coriander leaves, ½ cup lime juice, 2 teaspoons each sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard, ⅔ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon cumin, ¼ cup chopped shallots, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic in food processor, pulsed until leaves are torn, about 20 seconds. Chop cauliflower into small florets and roast at 200°C for 10 minutes. Remove and slightly cool. Toss with ccoriander dressing and serve atop toasted baguette slices brushed with olive oil.

Cauliflower with Kimchi Cream

Toss 1 head cauliflower florets in medium bowl with 2 tablespoons canola oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to a sheet pan and bake at 220°C until floret edges start to char and caramelise, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make kimchi cream by combining ½ cup vegan mayonnaise, ¼ cup kimchi with its juice, and ½ teaspoon salt in food processor. Pulse until kimchi is in small chunks and evenly distributed through the mayo. Remove cauliflower and serve it hot over a pool of kimchi cream.

 

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