11 Next-Level Ways to Cook Cauliflower

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It’s the Cinderella story of the vegetable kingdom. Once a mild-mannered underdog skirting the sidelines of your plate, . Now you can find that alabaster orb imitating all of your favorite dishes from mashed potatoes to pizza crust, giving them a new, low-carb lease on life. All hail the king.

Medium-rare or well done for your steak? Neither, because nobody puts cauliflower in a corner. Free your steaks from that meaty terminology by switching to a big slab of hunky, harissa-crusted cauliflower. Browned in coconut oil and served with pine nuts, lemon, and fresh mint, this just might be the vegan lumberjack of your dreams.

Laying off the taters lately? That’s a noble crusade, but when the mashed potato jitters come calling, you’ll need a healthy sidekick to help you stay strong. Keep those seductive spuds at bay with this knockout cauliflower mash, all glitzed and glamorous thanks to a rich infusion of whipped cream cheese, parmesan, and roasted garlic, plus a dainty dab of chicken bouillon powder.

A life without pizza is no way to live. Take heart, low-carbers. There’s light at the end of that dough-free tunnel you’re laboring through—a shining beacon called cauliflower. Shredded and stuffed with egg, mozzarella, parmesan, and oregano, that plain Jane veg takes the shape of chewy, blistered pizza dough, just awaiting your ideal topping scenario.

Potatoes, you can’t sit with us! When those starchy tubers won’t fall in line with your lifestyle, it’s time to find a new best fritter friend. Luckily, cooked cauliflower can frizzle and fry like a champ when formed into patties with egg and seasonings. In other words, “smell ya later, latkes.”

Sure, butternut might add a splash of color, but it’s the pureed cauliflower that brings the smooth-like-butter star power to this soup. Lash that bowl of liquid velvet with a spoonful of curry powder and let the compliments roll in from around the dinner table.

Scientific fact: Purple food tastes better. But two purples on the same plate? That’s a bonafide edible event. Now’s the time to go full magenta with this roasted purple cauliflower tossed with garlic cloves, rosemary, and its delicate color wheel compatriot, fresh lavender.

Your sushi’s already stuffed with raw fish, so why shouldn’t your rice go raw as well? Sayonara the starch factor by pulsing cauliflower in a food processor until it reaches the consistency of fluffy rice kernels. Then send in a volley of seasonings like cumin, turmeric, and fennel seeds and tuck that revved up “rice” inside nori along with grated vegetables and tamari sauce.

Impersonating a beloved Southern breakfast dish takes true grit—but the humble head of cauliflower is up to the task. Bolstered with milk and parmesan cheese, mashed cauliflower begins to ooze Southern charm and successfully mimics both the creamy texture and good looks of grits when topped with sauteed onions and shrimp. Welcome to the Low Country, cauli.

Yes, you can pickle that. And pickle you should when it comes to this self-assertive salad. It all starts when red wine vinegar walks into the room, flanked by the fire-starting trio of garlic, bay leaves and lemon pepper. Boiling hot and ready for a fist fight, they tangle with a cluster of cauliflower florets, recruiting them as new members of their tangy, rough-and-tumble gang.

Aside from actual chicken, there might be no finer vehicle than cauliflower for transporting copious amounts of buffalo sauce directly to your face. If that spicy cayenne juice is what you crave, you might not even notice that a crisp, caramelized vegetable has commandeered your weekly wing fix. Don’t tell blue cheese—what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

Suffering from lazy bones syndrome but still need to turn out a somewhat impressive dinner spread? In a stroke of brassica-based genius, you spy that plump head of cauliflower waving from the back of your fridge. The answer is clear: Plop that fair-haired beauty on a plate and give it a generous shampoo of garlic, rosemary, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Roast until well-tanned and fragrant and snicker at all the suckers who think you spent hours prepping.

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