How to cook cauliflower


Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables. I find it beautiful to look at, easy to cook and totally delicious. I love it so much I even have a photo of a lady at the old Covent Garden market in London holding one on my kitchen wall!

However, when I was a kid I didn't think it was so great. Over-cooked, soggy cauliflower has a nasty smell, an off-putting texture and is altogether reminiscent of nasty school dinners. As a result many people don't love it, which is such a shame as if you cook it right it really is delicious. 

So how do you cook a cauliflower?

Well, you can cook it pretty much any way you like. You can even eat it raw, as part of a salad, or as a crudité with dips. In Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book she recommends boiling it whole. Indeed you can boil or steam cauliflower - although I usually break it into florets first - and this is probably the best way if you're going to blend it into a sauce such as this hidden vegetable macaroni for picky kids. Depending on the size of your florets it will take around 10 minutes to cook this way. See below for how to prepare a cauliflower for cooking.

You can also fry cauliflower, although it can be a little slow to get going. However, my preferred method of cooking cauliflower is to roast it. If you think you don't like cauliflower, but you haven't tried roasting it then you have to try this.

How to roast cauliflower


1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (fan)/220°C/gas mark 7.
Cut off the outer leaves. Turn upside down and cut out the central stalk, removing any of the little white leaves you find there too.
3. Break or chop up into florets. These can be small or large depending on your preference but try to get them an even size.
4. Wash well in a colander and drain.
5. Transfer to a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and if liked add 1 tsp fennel seeds or cumin seeds. You can also roast with other vegetables or potatoes.
6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes until cooked through. Stir occasionally.

I recently watched a series of videos about picky eating by Play with Food, an Australian children's nutritionist. In one of them she suggests talking about food to make it more interesting and since watching it we've started talking about the food on our plates and trying to get the kids more interested in vegetables that way. 

If you'd like to try the same then here are a few fun facts about cauliflower for you:

  • While most cauliflower in the UK is white you can also get purple, green and orange cauliflowers.

  • Mathematicians love cauliflower because each one of its pieces, or florets, looks almost identical to the whole cauliflower. If you want to find out more about this look up fractal dimension.

Is cauliflower good for you?

If you eat a portion of cauliflower you'll be getting a good dose of vitamin C as well as several B vitamins and vitamin K. It's low in calories, fat, carbs, fibre and protein.
Source Wikipedia. 1 February 2017

Cauliflower recipes

Roasted cauliflower is delicious with a salad, as part of a mezze or on the side. If you're looking for other recipes which include cauliflower then try one of these:

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