Cauliflower Isn't Just Good With Cheese

It isn't just good with cheese!

With a mild taste that becomes nutty and caramelised when roasted, cauliflower has become the star of the show for both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. Here's five things you didn't know about cauliflower and three delicious recipes for you to try that make it the star ingredient on your dinner plate.

1. It’s related to kale.
Cauliflower is part of the Brassica genus family, which means it’s related to brussels sprouts, broccoli and kale. While it can be found year-round, it peaks in the autumn and spring. When choosing cauliflower, look for heads that are heavy for their size with creamy white florets.

2. It’s packed with Vitamin C.
Forget about oranges; reach for cauliflower when flu season hits. This vegetable is loaded with vitamins; 250g contains about 75% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C.

3. It comes in four colours.
While white cauliflower is the most commonly found in supermarkets, when in-season, you may find striking coloured varieties on shelves. Keep your eyes peeled for yellow, orange, green and even purple cauliflower. These varieties have slightly different flavour and nutritional profiles, for example, orange cauliflower is slightly sweeter and has more beta-carotene than white, while purple cauliflower, also slightly sweeter and nuttier, is high in anthocyanin, a healthy antioxidant commonly found in purple vegetables.

4. The stems and leaves are edible.
The florets are the part of the cauliflower most often steamed or roasted, but don’t throw out the leaves and stems. These parts of the vegetable are often tossed in the compost but instead, cut down on food waste and save them to add them to homemade vegetable soup.

5. It’s reactive with certain metals.
Be extra careful when choosing cookware for cooking cauliflower. The vegetable contains sulphur compounds, which will react with aluminum and iron resulting in a discoloured cauliflower.

Cauliflower Chowder

Serves 6

4 slices bacondiced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlicminced
1 oniondiced
2 celery stalksdiced
1 cauliflowerroughly chopped
1 bay leaf
150g plain flour
1 litre chicken broth
250ml semi-skimmed milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepperto taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 6-8 minutes until brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving 1 tablespoon of excess fat in the pan.
Melt the butter in the pan. Add the garlic, onion and celery. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in the cauliflower and bay leaf. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until barely crisp-tender.
Whisk in flour for about 1 minute until lightly browned. Stir in the chicken broth and milk, and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 12-15 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Puree with a blender until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and parsley, if desired.

Cauliflower Baked Ziti

serves 6

1 tbsp.  extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
450-500g ground beef
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil, plus more for garnish
2 medium cauliflowers, cut into florets, roasted
375g ricotta
500g shredded mozzarella
125g freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat oil on a medium heat in a large, deep-sided pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the minced beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Drain fat.

Return pan to a medium heat and add tomato paste and oregano. Cook for about 2 minutes more until the paste slightly darkens. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring until slightly reduced and flavours have combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.

Place the cauliflower in a large bowl and pour the sauce on top. Stir until fully coated. Transfer half the cauliflower mixture to a large baking dish and spread into an even layer. Dollop all over with half the ricotta and sprinkle with half the mozzarella and Parmesan. Top with an even layer of the remaining cauliflower mixture and remaining cheeses.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheeses are melted and golden.  Garnish with basil before serving.

Harissa Spiced Cauliflower

Serves 2-3

1 small cauliflower, small leaves attached, cut into 4 wedges
1-2 tbsp rose harissa paste
1 red onion, cut into 6 wedges
150g reduced fat crème fraîche (or soured cream or yogurt)
1 small ripe avocado, roughly cut into chunks
30g chopped soft herbs (we used mint, parsley and chives)
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 anchovy fillets (optional – omit if it needs to be veggie)
250g pack plain or flavoured couscous, heated according to the packet instructions
Mixed salad leaves to serve


Heat/light the barbecue and spread the coals in an even layer. Rub the cauliflower all over with the harissa, season with salt and pepper, then put on the barbecue with the onion wedges. Shut the lid and cook for 20-30 minutes, turning, until the vegetables are charred and tender.

Skip the BBQ: Heat the oven to 180°C fan/gas 6. Put the harissa-rubbed cauliflower and onion wedges on a heavy oven tray and roast for 30-35 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and a little charred.

Meanwhile, put the crème fraîche, avocado, herbs, capers, lemon juice, anchovies (if using), some salt and a grind of black pepper in a mini processor or blender and whizz to make a green sauce.

Serve the warmed couscous on 2-3 plates (or on a platter) with the cauliflower and the onions. Drizzle the green sauce over the top and add a handful of salad leaves.