Lighten Up Your Weeknight Dinners by Swapping in Cauliflower—These Are Our Favorite Ways to Do Just That
Looking to incorporate more vegetables into your meals? You're not alone. Luckily, versatile cauliflower makes it super easy. The popular cruciferous vegetable stands in for meats and carbs seamlessly and is a great canvas for a variety of flavors.
Move over, kale! We're team cauliflower here. The versatile cruciferous vegetable is gluten-free, paleo, and vegan, and it's ability to take centerstage in meals means using it at dinnertime ensures you (and your family) don't miss the meat. What's more, cauliflower is a great canvas for a variety of flavors. Basically, it's the vegetable for our time. Want to eat more of it? We're here to help—we've gathered our favorite recipes that spotlight cauliflower swaps, sometimes using the vegetable as a stand-in for meat and other times employing it to replace our favorite carb-heavy sides.
The fact that it's such a stellar substitute for carbs is one of the main reasons why cauliflower appeals to so many people—those following a paleo diet, sufferers of celiac disease, or anyone on a gluten-free diet can enjoy delicious replacements to foods that they generally couldn't (or chose not to) consume. Behold the cauliflower tabouli shown here in a dinner with roasted, sliced chicken. In place of the usual bulgur, grated cauliflower is tossed with lemon, oil, and herbs. It makes a wonderful winter salad or side.
Perhaps you've tried store-bought cauliflower-based crackers and other snacks, pasta made with cauliflower, or cauliflower crusts for pizza? All showcase the chameleon-like quality of cauliflower. Try our tasty take on the cauliflower pizza crust or go with a healthy vegan cauliflower-centric snack, Cauliflower and White Bean Dip.
It would be remiss not to mention that cauliflower comes with benefits beyond versatility: It's rich in vitamin C—one cup has almost 100 percent of the daily allowance. Additionally, this vegetable is a great source of folate and fiber, which helps aid digestion and may prevent some cancers. Cauliflower is also naturally low in calories and contains a fair amount of protein.
You'll love cauliflower because it plays well with others and the fact that it is just as happy being the star of dinner or as it is playing the role of a strong supporting character. Try these cauliflower swaps and we're sure you'll soon be team cauliflower, too!
Wild Salmon with Edamame-Cauliflower Rice
Here's an easy and delicious way to incorporate more vegetables into your dinner; turn the cauliflower into rice—and add edamame. Make it really healthy by serving with heart-healthy wild salmon. Bonus: This is a one-sheet pan dinner, which means the oven does the work. The rice comes out crispy and cleaning the dishes is quite simple.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza Margherita
Yes, you can make a pizza crust out of cauliflower! An egg and two types of cheese—mozzarella and Grana Padano—help it hold together nicely. We finished ours with more cheese and a smattering of roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.
Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce
The next time you're craving mac and cheese, try making this creamy cauliflower delight. The cheesy bechamel sauce is so sumptuous you won't miss the pasta.
Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce
A vegan "steak" that's fancy enough for company when dressed with the vibrant pepper-almond sauce known as romesco. Finish the plate with fresh herbs or microgreens to really get the colors to pop.
Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"
This silky-smooth purée is a great base for everything from soup and pasta sauce to ravioli filling and crostini topping. It can be made up to three days in advance and refrigerated.
Cauliflower Fried Rice
Chop cauliflower in the food processor to create the "rice" for a healthy take on this versatile favorite. Omit the peas and swap the soy sauce for coconut aminos to make it paleo.
Cauliflower-White Bean Dip
Let cauliflower star in your next dip for a party appetizer that's healthy as well as crowd-pleasing. We also like this purée as a good-for-you snack and a protein-packed sandwich spread.
Cauliflower "Rice" Stir-Fry
Blitzed cauliflower is steamed with cleansing veggie broth to make the perfect grain substitute in this simple stir-fry.
The definition of subtle sophistication! Skip the Parmesan to make this dinner vegan.
This dish is just as decadent as traditional potato gratin but better for you. That's what we call a win-win!
Baked Shells and Broccoli with Ham and Cheesy-Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
Sautéed cauliflower and skim milk form a light roux for this satisfying casserole. Multigrain pasta and whole-wheat breadcrumbs also keep the dish on the healthy side.