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How to Cook Cauliflower and Recipes

Updated on February 8, 2017
Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or under used ingredients.

Turmeric spiced cauliflower with habanero melt venison burgers
Turmeric spiced cauliflower with habanero melt venison burgers

Cauliflower is frequently a much underrated and under-valued vegetable. The biggest cause of this problem is almost certainly that it is frequently over cooked, in boiling salted water, to the point where it is almost disintegrating in to mush. The recipes below show a number of different ways to cook and serve cauliflower that this delicious and nutritious vegetable can be enjoyed in whole new ways at its very best.

Cumin and Coriander Roast Cauliflower with Spicy Salmon

Cumin and coriander spiced oven roasted cauliflower with spicy pan fried salmon and chickpeas
Cumin and coriander spiced oven roasted cauliflower with spicy pan fried salmon and chickpeas

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 15 min

Ready in: 45 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • ½ small head of cauliflower
  • Salt
  • 6 ounce salmon fillet (skin on)
  • 1 teaspoon mild chilli powder
  • Black pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 8 ounce can chickpeas in water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons flour for dusting salmon
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli dipping sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped coriander (cilantro), plus extra to garnish
  • 1 small garlic clove

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Salmon is spiced before being left to marinateCumin seeds are toastedCumin seeds are ground to a powderSpices are added to oilSpiced cauliflower is ready for roastingTurmeric is added to cauliflowerSalmon is added to frying panSalmon is turned on to flesh sideCoriander leaf/cilantro and garlic are added to chickpeasSweet chilli sauce is spread on plateSkin is peeled from salmonSalmon is laid on sauce bedRoast cauliflower is plated with salmon
Salmon is spiced before being left to marinate
Salmon is spiced before being left to marinate
Cumin seeds are toasted
Cumin seeds are toasted
Cumin seeds are ground to a powder
Cumin seeds are ground to a powder
Spices are added to oil
Spices are added to oil
Source
Spiced cauliflower is ready for roasting
Spiced cauliflower is ready for roasting
Source
Turmeric is added to cauliflower
Turmeric is added to cauliflower
Salmon is added to frying pan
Salmon is added to frying pan
Salmon is turned on to flesh side
Salmon is turned on to flesh side
Coriander leaf/cilantro and garlic are added to chickpeas
Coriander leaf/cilantro and garlic are added to chickpeas
Sweet chilli sauce is spread on plate
Sweet chilli sauce is spread on plate
Skin is peeled from salmon
Skin is peeled from salmon
Salmon is laid on sauce bed
Salmon is laid on sauce bed
Roast cauliflower is plated with salmon
Roast cauliflower is plated with salmon
  1. Break or chop the cauliflower in to even sized florets and add them to a pot of boiling salted water. Simmer for five minutes only before draining through a colander. Allow them to steam off for a few minutes before covering and leaving for half an hour to cool.
  2. When the cauliflower is on to cook, scatter the flesh side of the salmon fillet with the chilli powder and some black pepper. Gently rub it all over and in to the flesh. Cover and leave to dry marinate while the cauliflower is cooling.
  3. Put the cumin seeds in to a dry frying pan and bring the pan up to a fairly high heat until the seeds are toasted. Shake the pan frequently to ensure even toasting. It should only take about a minute before you detect the aroma and know they are done. Crush to a powder with a pestle and mortar or electric spice grinder.
  4. Start your oven preheating to 220C/450F/Gas Mark 8. Pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a large glass or stone bowl and add the ground spices and some black pepper. Stir to combine before adding the cauliflower and gently folding it through the oil until all the florets are evenly coated. Arrange on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for ten minutes.
  5. Open the can of chickpeas and pour them in to a colander in your sink. Rinse under running cold water and add them to a pot. Season with the turmeric and pour in enough cold water to comfortably cover. Put on a high heat just until the water reaches a simmer then reduce the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes. Drain at your sink and return to the pot along with the chopped coriander/cilantro and the peeled and grated garlic clove. Stir to combine.
  6. Pour a little oil in to a small non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium to high heat. Scatter the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Pat the skin side only of the salmon on the flour and gently shake to remove any excess. Lay the salmon in the pan on its skin side and cook for two or three minutes until you can see it is cooked around two-thirds of the way through. Turn the heat off under the pan and turn the salmon fillet to complete cooking on its flesh side in the residual heat for about a minute. The salmon should be served just a little bit pink in the middle to be enjoyed at its best.
  7. Spoon the sweet chilli sauce on to your serving plate to serve as a bed for the salmon. Peel the crisped skin from the salmon fillet with the aid of a wide bladed knife and lay it former skin side down on the sauce.
  8. Take the cauliflower from the oven and plate along with the chickpeas. Garnish the chickpeas with the last of the chopped coriander/cilantro.

Sauteed Cauliflower and Pak Choi with Roast Duck Breast

Cauliflower and pak choi are sauteed in duck roasting juices and served with the duck
Cauliflower and pak choi are sauteed in duck roasting juices and served with the duck

While this recipe could be prepared as a conventional stir fry, stir fried duck can sometimes be a little bit greasy. I believe the end result was infinitely preferable when the dish was prepared as detailed below.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 20 min

Ready in: 30 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • ½ small head of cauliflower
  • Salt
  • 1 large duck breast fillet
  • Black pepper
  • 2 outer pak choi (Chinese cabbage) leaves
  • ½ small to medium white onion
  • Splash of light soy sauce

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Boiled cauliflower florets are drained and left to steamDuck breast skin is seared in dry panPak choi (Chinese cabbage)Sliced pak choi and onionCauliflower, pak choi and onion are added to pan with duck fat and juicesSauteing pak choi and cauliflower in duck fatSauteed cauliflower and pak choi are plated
Boiled cauliflower florets are drained and left to steam
Boiled cauliflower florets are drained and left to steam
Duck breast skin is seared in dry pan
Duck breast skin is seared in dry pan
Pak choi (Chinese cabbage)
Pak choi (Chinese cabbage)
Sliced pak choi and onion
Sliced pak choi and onion
Cauliflower, pak choi and onion are added to pan with duck fat and juices
Cauliflower, pak choi and onion are added to pan with duck fat and juices
Sauteing pak choi and cauliflower in duck fat
Sauteing pak choi and cauliflower in duck fat
Sauteed cauliflower and pak choi are plated
Sauteed cauliflower and pak choi are plated
  1. Break the cauliflower in to evenly sized florets and add to a pan of simmering, salted water. Continue to simmer for five minutes before draining and allowing to cool.
  2. Get your oven heating to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6. Pierce the skin side of the duck breast a few times with the tines of a fork. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Lay the duck breast fillet skin side down in a heatproof/ovenproof frying pan but don't add any oil or grease. Put the pan on to a very low heat, gradually increasing the heat as the fat starts to leak from the meat. After three or four minutes and when your heat is at high, lift the pan in to the oven and leave the breast to cook for ten minutes.
  4. Important! The handle of the frying pan will be extremely hot when it is ready to be removed from the oven. Be sure to wear oven protecting gloves to lift it out. Transfer the duck breast to a warmed plate, cover with foil and allow to rest for ten minutes.
  5. Wash the pak choi leaves and roughly chop. Slice the peeled onion half. Put the frying pan containing the duck fat on to a high heat and when the fat is back up in temperature, add the pak choi, onion and cooled cauliflower. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  6. Roughly chop the duck breast and add briefly to the pan to simply heat through, along with the splash of soy sauce.
  7. Plate and serve.

Spicy Cauliflower Shish Kebabs or Skewers

Spicy cauliflower and bell peppers filled pitta breads with soured cream sauce
Spicy cauliflower and bell peppers filled pitta breads with soured cream sauce

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15 min

Ready in: 30 min

Yields: 2 pitta pockets

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons soured cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon Thai 7 spice
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • ¼ red bell pepper
  • ¼ green bell pepper
  • ¼ yellow bell pepper
  • 2 pitta breads

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Preparing soured cream dipSoaking skewers in cold waterThai 7 spice is added to oilCauliflower and bell peppersVegetable pieces are stirred through spiced oilAssembled skewers are ready for grillingGrilled vegetable pieces are removed from skewersVegetable filled pitta breads
Preparing soured cream dip
Preparing soured cream dip
Soaking skewers in cold water
Soaking skewers in cold water
Thai 7 spice is added to oil
Thai 7 spice is added to oil
Cauliflower and bell peppers
Cauliflower and bell peppers
Vegetable pieces are stirred through spiced oil
Vegetable pieces are stirred through spiced oil
Assembled skewers are ready for grilling
Assembled skewers are ready for grilling
Grilled vegetable pieces are removed from skewers
Grilled vegetable pieces are removed from skewers
Vegetable filled pitta breads
Vegetable filled pitta breads
  1. Spoon the soured cream in to a small bowl and add the chopped coriander leaf. Peel the garlic clove and grate it in to the bowl with a small hand grater. Stir well, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.
  2. If you are using wooden skewers as opposed to metal, start them soaking in cold water in your sink for ten minutes. This prevents them burning and potentially going on fire during cooking.
  3. Put your kitchen grill (broiler) on to preheat to its highest setting.
  4. Break or chop the cauliflower in to florets. Try to keep the pieces evenly sized and around one inch square. Seed the bell pepper quarters and chop to pieces of similar size to the cauliflower.
  5. Put the vegetables in the bowl with the oil and stir them gently around to evenly coat all the pieces. This is much easier than brushing the skewers as they cook.
  6. Carefully thread the vegetables alternately by type on to the two skewers. Lay them on a tray and grill/broil for eight to ten minutes, turning them every minute or two.
  7. Push the vegetables off the skewers with a fork and on to a plate. Heat the pitta breads per the instructions on the pack.
  8. Cut the pitta breads along one long side and open them up in to pockets. Stuff each one with the vegetables.
  9. Spoon the sauce over the vegetables and garnish with the remaining coriander.

Cauliflower Cheese Twice Baked Potato

Twice baked potato cauliflower cheese on peas
Twice baked potato cauliflower cheese on peas

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 1 hour 30 min

Ready in: 1 hour 45 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized baking potato
  • 2 large cauliflower florets
  • 1 ounce (¼ stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon grated/shredded cheddar (or similar) cheese
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Frozen peas as desired

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Preparing potato for bakingSkewer comes cleanly free from baked potatoBaked potato is cut in half along its lengthScooped out potato halvesPotato flesh, butter and cheeseCombined potato flesh, cheese and butterCauliflower added to potato mixStuffed potato halves ready for bakingBoiling peasCutting in to twice baked cauliflower cheese potato
Preparing potato for baking
Preparing potato for baking
Skewer comes cleanly free from baked potato
Skewer comes cleanly free from baked potato
Baked potato is cut in half along its length
Baked potato is cut in half along its length
Scooped out potato halves
Scooped out potato halves
Potato flesh, butter and cheese
Potato flesh, butter and cheese
Combined potato flesh, cheese and butter
Combined potato flesh, cheese and butter
Cauliflower added to potato mix
Cauliflower added to potato mix
Stuffed potato halves ready for baking
Stuffed potato halves ready for baking
Boiling peas
Boiling peas
Cutting in to twice baked cauliflower cheese potato
Cutting in to twice baked cauliflower cheese potato
  1. Put your oven on to preheat to 220C/450F/Gas Mark 8.
  2. Wash the potato and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Force a metal skewer through the potato along its length. This conducts heat through it as it cooks and helps it cook more evenly. Pierce the top of the potato several times with a fork and wrap it loosely in foil to protect the skin. Bake on a tray in the oven for one hour and fifteen minutes.
  3. Remove the potato from the oven (leave the oven switched on) and unwrap it, careful of escaping steam. The skewer should easily and cleanly pull free.
  4. Cut the potato in half along its length. Use a teaspoon to scoop the flesh out and in to a bowl, leaving shells around half an inch thick.
  5. Add the butter and cheese to the bowl with the potato flesh and season with salt and nutmeg. Mash well with a fork to ensure everything is evenly combined.
  6. Break the cauliflower florets in to smaller pieces and stir through the mash. Spoon back in to the potato shells.
  7. Put the shells back on the tray and in to the oven for fifteen more minutes.
  8. Add the peas to boiling water for three minutes and drain. Lay in the bottom of a deep plate and serve the potato shells on top.

Turmeric Cauliflower with Habanero Melt Venison Burgers

Turmeric infused cauliflower with hot and spicy habanero venison burgers and curried potatoes
Turmeric infused cauliflower with hot and spicy habanero venison burgers and curried potatoes

The venison and habanero melt burgers featured in this recipe were pack bought. You could instead simply serve venison burgers with habanero infused cheese melted on top at the end of the cooking process. Do note also that if you do happen to buy a pack of these burgers (from Aldi), they are delicious but hot!

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 1 hour

Ready in: 2 hours

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 4 baby new potatoes
  • Salt
  • 2 habanero melt venison burgers
  • ½ head of cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ small white onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro to garnish

Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Boiled potatoes are left to coolHabanero chilli melt venison burgersHabanero melt venison burgers ready for the ovenCauliflower is seasoned with turmeric and saltChopped potatoes and sliced onionPotatoes and onion are seasoned with curry powderSauteing potatoes and onionHabanero melt burgers are platedPlated potatoes and cauliflowerBurgers should be perfectly juicy and succulent
Boiled potatoes are left to cool
Boiled potatoes are left to cool
Habanero chilli melt venison burgers
Habanero chilli melt venison burgers
Habanero melt venison burgers ready for the oven
Habanero melt venison burgers ready for the oven
Cauliflower is seasoned with turmeric and salt
Cauliflower is seasoned with turmeric and salt
Chopped potatoes and sliced onion
Chopped potatoes and sliced onion
Potatoes and onion are seasoned with curry powder
Potatoes and onion are seasoned with curry powder
Sauteing potatoes and onion
Sauteing potatoes and onion
Habanero melt burgers are plated
Habanero melt burgers are plated
Plated potatoes and cauliflower
Plated potatoes and cauliflower
Burgers should be perfectly juicy and succulent
Burgers should be perfectly juicy and succulent
  1. Wash the potatoes but don't peel them, cut them in half and add them to a pot of cold, salted water. Bring the water to a simmer for twenty minutes. Drain the potatoes, let them steam off for a few minutes and add them to a plastic dish and the fridge for half an hour.
  2. These burgers required to be cooked in the oven at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for half an hour.
  3. Just before the burgers are due out of the oven, break the cauliflower in to florets and add them to a pot with some salt and the turmeric. Pour in enough boiling water to cover the cauliflower and simmer for six to eight minutes.
  4. Remove the burgers from the oven to a heated plate and cover loosely with foil to keep them warm while they briefly rest.
  5. Pour the oil in to a large frying pan and bring it up to a high heat. Add the potatoes and the sliced onion half and season with some salt and the curry powder. Stir fry for couple of minutes over a medium to high heat.
  6. Drain the cauliflower through a sieve or colander.
  7. Plate the burgers with the cauliflower and potato/onion combination alongside. Garnish with the chopped herb.

© 2016 Gordon Hamilton

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