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How to Make Broccoli and Cauliflower for Kids: Good Recipes

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My passions are food, tennis, and travel. I love to write about cooking, gluten-free recipes, tennis technique, and tennis strategies.

Kid-friendly broccoli and cauliflower.

Kid-friendly broccoli and cauliflower.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Really Can Taste Good

We consume a lot of broccoli and cauliflower in our household, but eating them raw or steamed just doesn't do it for me. I need more flavor and more punch in my veggies. As such, I have developed these three recipes as a way to get all of the nutrient benefits of these cruciferous vegetables, but with all of the flavor benefits of eating things that taste good, too.

  1. Oven-Roasted Broccoli and/or Cauliflower: This recipe is simple and easy, and even kids who visit our household say they love broccoli.
  2. Cauliflower Mash: This recipe uses cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes, and every kid and adult who claimed to hate cauliflower were shocked to discover that the "secret" to my great mashed potatoes was that they weren't potatoes at all!
  3. Broccoli and Blue Cheese Mash: This recipe bribes your kids to eat their broccoli by giving them cheese, too.

1. Oven-Roasted Broccoli and/or Cauliflower

This is a very simple way of creating a very flavorful side dish that does not add a lot of extra calories. By roasting vegetables, you use their own natural moisture content to cook them, and it brings out the natural flavors and sugars to create the flavor—all the while creating a crunchy texture. The amount of salt used is relatively low and necessary to draw out moisture from the vegetables to help them roast.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of broccoli or cauliflower florets. Broccoli florets can be left intact. Cauliflower florets should be sliced into halves (or thirds, for larger florets).
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a glass baking dish, toss the broccoli and cauliflower florets in the olive oil and salt.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes or until the florets are soft at the stem.

Cook's Tips

  • Use a glass baking dish. If you use a metal sheet or dish, you will burn the delicate flowering ends of the florets before the stems are soft. This happens because the metal radiates extra heat.
  • Make sure you put the dish in the center of the oven. Otherwise, the florets will be too close to the heating element in your oven and burn before the stems get properly roasted.

2. Cauliflower Mash

This side dish makes an excellent substitute for potatoes. It looks like mashed potatoes, and unsuspecting dinner guests have sometimes wondered how my mashed potatoes were so unique and flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large head of cauliflower, broken into its florets and stem, sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Steam the cauliflower pieces for 15 to 20 minutes to soften.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat.
  3. When the butter has melted, add the jalapeño pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. In a food processor, combine the cauliflower, butter/jalapeño mixture, salt, and white pepper. The resulting texture is the same as creamy mashed potatoes.

Cook's Tips

  • You may have to stop the food processor and rotate the cauliflower pieces around and start the food processor up again. I usually have to repeat this process several times until the cauliflower is completely mashed.
  • Aesthetically, it's important to use white pepper. It tastes the same as black pepper, but when incorporated into your white cauliflower mash, it won't look like specks of dirt.

3. Broccoli and Blue Cheese Mash

With this recipe, the sharp flavor of blue cheese pairs very well with the broccoli, and mixed together as they are, yield an almost mashed potato-like texture. I've tested this one out on folks who say they don't like blue cheese, and they still like this side dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 large crowns of broccoli
  • 1/4 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 3 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Cut up the broccoli to remove the flowery crowns from the stems and slice the stems into 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. In a medium pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the stems, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the cover, add the water, and bring to boil.
  4. When the water starts to boil, add the crowns. Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring the crowns often. This will cook the crowns to a very vibrant green, but keep them somewhat crunchy and not overcooked and mushy.
  5. Place the broccoli in a food processor, and mix for 1 minute.
  6. In a mixing bowl, place the blue cheese and a large pinch of kosher salt. Add the broccoli to the top and fold them together. The result, is a "mash" that blends the broccoli and the blue cheese. Serve as a side dish in place of potatoes or rice.

Cook's Tips

  • You want a good mix of broccoli stems to crowns. The crowns have more fiber and help to give more structure (and less crumble) to the final product.
  • It's important that you cook the stems for 10 minutes in the pan before adding the crowns. The stems take longer to cook, and giving them 10 more minutes of sauté time makes them very soft.
  • There is more nutrition in this dish, I believe. For one thing, when I make it, I usually substitute it for a starch (potato or rice) and end up with two vegetable sides. Also, there a lot of nutrition in the stem of broccoli, and we're using a lot more stem than most people do when they make broccoli.
  • To determine the amount of broccoli you need, I usually assume that I need 1/2 the broccoli than I would ordinarily serve to a given amount of people. For example, if 2 broccoli crowns would—when serving broccoli by itself—serve 2 people, it will serve 4 with this recipe.
  • You can adjust the amount of blue cheese to suite your taste. If you are blue cheese averse, add less. If you are blue cheese junkie, you can add more.

Comments

LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on January 21, 2014:

my six year old considers broccoli as "trees", but he'll eat them. somehow he isn't as fond of the cauliflower. However, I like to season mine with lemon and pepper salt and melted cheese when my wife will share her hoarded sauces.

MickiS (author) from San Francisco on June 03, 2012:

Big kids are all that live in my household, RTalloni! :-)

RTalloni on June 02, 2012:

These all look yum, but I can wait to give the roasted broccoli and cauliflower a try. Big kids can eat it too?

MickiS (author) from San Francisco on May 31, 2012:

My pleasure, sgbrown! Thank you for the comment. It's much appreciated.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 30, 2012:

I love broccoli and cauliflower and am definitely going to try your recipes, they sound wonderful! I am always looking for different ways to cook them. Thank you for sharing your recipes! Of course,I rated this useful! You need to discuss including a "yummy" button too! :) Have a wonderful day!

LauraGT from MA on May 04, 2012:

I absolutely love these veggies. Thanks for the additional ideas on how to make them delicious!

MickiS (author) from San Francisco on May 03, 2012:

The iPhone camera only works if you use some kind of apps that help the picture quality. By itself, it definitely is worse than a good digital camera. With Instagram, its so much better.

Of course, using the iPhone is easier because it's also my kitchen timer and, often, my cookbook, too!

Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on May 03, 2012:

I never thought of using my iPhone for taking pictures for hubs. But I will try it. In some upcoming hubs the picture will look drastically better because my camera needed charging, so I borrowed my husband's "real camera," and wow what a difference.

MickiS (author) from San Francisco on May 03, 2012:

Thanks for the comments, alliemacb, emilybee, and StephanieBCrosby. Stephanie, I take my food photos with Instagram on the iPhone. The filters that it offers, I find, are the best for making real food shot in average kitchen lighting look authentic and as delicious as it looks in person.

Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on May 03, 2012:

I love roasting vegetables in the oven. I do find that my kids either go for oven roasted or sauted more than raw veggies. Your picture looks really yummy.

emilybee on May 03, 2012:

I like mashed cauliflower, it is quite good! I just tried it a few weeks ago to reduce my carb intake. I'll have to try the other recipes you mentioned. Thanks! Sharing, too.

alliemacb from Scotland on May 03, 2012:

These recipes sound delicious. I love broccoli and cauliflower, especially in creamy soups. Thanks for giving me something new to try.

MickiS (author) from San Francisco on May 03, 2012:

Totally agree, JayeWisdom..especially with the organic part!

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on May 03, 2012:

I enjoy mixing broccoli and cauliflower together, and oven roasting them will work fine for me. Isn't it wonderful that these glorious-tasting vegetables are also good for us (when grown organically)?

MickiS (author) from San Francisco on May 03, 2012:

Thanks for the comment, Marcy. I never liked potato salad, so it never occurred to me to make a substitute for it, but thanks for the idea! If you find a good recipe, let me know! And thanks for the share.

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on May 03, 2012:

I love oven roasted veggies - and I love cauliflower and broccoli, so I'm drooling while reading your recipes and serving ideas! I've heard about mashed cauliflower and using it as a substitute for potatoes. If you have a mock-potato salad recipe, I'd love to know the tricks for that!

Thanks for the hub! Shared with followers!

MickiS (author) from San Francisco on March 20, 2012:

In all truth, rjsadowski, I don't have any kids either. Just make it for me and my partner, but serve these as side dishes when friends' kids come to dinner! Thanks for the comment!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on March 20, 2012:

I eat over a pound of vegetables every day, and LOVE steamed broccoli and cauliflower, so I don't need anything special to make me eat 'em, but each one of these recipes looks awesome. I guess I should give them a go! They might come in handy when I'm cooking for people who are not as into these veggies as I am.

rjsadowski on March 20, 2012:

All my kids are grown so I guess it is up to me and my wife to try these tasty sounding dishes.

PiaC from Oakland, CA on March 19, 2012:

These recipes are making me hungry!

Jason Menayan from San Francisco on March 19, 2012:

All 3 sound delicious! I've made roasted cauliflower in the oven before, and love the charred, caramelized flavor when they turn dark brown. I've never tried your final recipe; as a broccoli and blue cheese lover, I'm sure I will love it!