Making Cauliflower Cool

I have always maintained that I hate Cauliflower. Broccoli, it’s sister as I call it, had never particularly been at the top of my list either but eventually I came to like it and I always figured that the same would happen with cauliflower, but it never did.

Even now, when I taste it, I expect the same taste or even consistency as broccoli, but it is completely different. The only similarities they bare is their bouquet like appearance.

Yet increasingly, on my journey down the plant-based eating rabit hole, I’ve found that cauliflower gets used a lot.

I’d normally steer away from it, but I’ve recently decided to take the plunge and just cook with it. It’s convenient, in season all year round, stodgy and beneficial.

While I doubt I will ever be able to eat it on it’s own, I’m happy to say that I’ve discovered quite a few recipes, with cauliflower, that are damn good. I can’t attribute this solely to the cauliflower, but for blogs sake, let’s say it’s the key.

So, here are my three new, delicious, healthy, cauliflower (including) recipes, all under €5!

A side note, I use nutritional yeast in all of these recipes. This is another ingredient I’ve been avoiding, assuming it unnecessary and expxensive, but now that I’ve bought it, I find it incredibly versitile. It adds a much needed creamy, cheesy texture to a lot of vegan meals, it ties the whole thing together nicely, even used as a thickener at times and of course, it’s extrememly healthful. Just to summarise it’s benefits; it’s a good source of protein, B vitamins and many trace minerals. A 125g tub has lasted me ages as you only need about 1 or 2 tablespoons per recipe and it cost me €6 at my local health food store. As a broke gal, I promise that it is worth the investment if you want to eat a plant based diet.

Peanut Butter Cauliflower

Not sure what to name this, because I randomly threw it together one day when I was starving and with limited options, and was pleasantly surprised.

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

200g of Brown Rice (any rice is fine, but I use brown): 20cent
Half a head of Cauliflower, cut into florets: €1, or perhaps cheaper at your local store.
Half a red onion, chopped: 30cent
2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped: Price n/a
Half a Jar of Chickpeas: 40cent
2 Handfuls of Spinach: 50 cent
3 heaped Tablespoons of Peanut Butter: Cost depends on how much your peanut butter is. For this amount, it should cost around 30cent.
1 Tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast: 60cent
Half a carton (500ml) of Coconut Milk: 90cent (this is based on Alpro brand but you can get cheaper brands).
Cinnamon and Honey if you have it, give a boost to the sweetness.

Method:

  1. Boil rice, following pack instructions.
  2. Lightly fry red onion and garlic in a dash of water and a dash of olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add in cauliflower florets after a few minutes and fry altogether for a further 5 minutes. If you have any spices such as tumeric or chilli, add them here.
  4. Pour in half a carton of coconut milk and mix togther.
  5. Add Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add in peanut butter, cinnamon or honey and nutritional yeast, stir well.
  7. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stiring occasionally.
  8. Add in Chickpeas and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  9. When ready, add in spinach and allow to wilt.
  10. Serve on rice and Voilá!

Total Cost: €4.20

Cauiflower & Lentil Dahl

As I’ve summed up in my blog about curries, everyone loves a curry. From my experience, even the biggest meat-eater will happily chomp on a veggie curry so this recipe is ideal, as lentils are the perfect meat substitute in most dishes.

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:
300g of Brown Rice (or white is fine): 40 cent
Half a head of Cauliflower, cut into florets: €1, or perhaps cheaper at your local store.
Half a red onion, chopped: 30cent
2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped: Price n/a
2 Carrots, peeled and chopped – 30cent
200g of Dried Red Lentils – 40 cent
1 Tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast: 60cent
Half a carton (500ml) of Coconut Milk: 90cent (this is based on alpro brand but you can get cheaper brands)
2 Handfuls of Spinach: 50 cent
Some spices: Curry powder, Paprika, Tumeric. Even if you just have one it should be okay. Price for amount needed is probably about 40cent.

Method:
1. Fry the onion, garlic and carrots in either olive oil or coconut oil, whatever you have.
2. Add some salt and a dash of curry powder, paprika, tumeric (or just one). I also like to add some chilli flakes, or a fresh chilli.
3. Cook for about 10 minutes, until soft.
4. Add the lentils, mix well and add in all the coconut milk.
5. Turn to a medium heat, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. After 30 minutes, add the cauliflower florets, and some salt and pepper to taste, and the nutritional yeast.
7. Cook for a further 20 minutes, until lentils are soft (whole lentils can take some time to cook, and I usually let the cook for about 1.5-2 hours in total, I make sure to put it on to cook slowly about 2 hours before I want to eat it. If this is too long for you, or you don’t have time, buy split lentils. It should take about 40 minutes to cook them through. I also sometimes leave my lentils to soak in water either over night, or the morning of the day I’m going to cook them)
8. Cook Rice as per pack instructions.
9. When the lentils and the cauliflower are cooked, add the spinach until wilted.
10. Serve with rice, and a dolop of coconut yoghurt, (or almond or soya) if you have it. Enjoy!


Total Cost: €4.80, and you’ll probably have left overs for the next day!


Cauliflower and Mushroom Risotto

Becoming effectively vegan, partly by choice partly because of intolerances, risotto was something I’ve assumed a no-go. Though the recipes can be altered to allow for veganism (even my favourite risotto recipe was altered for my vegan friend), there’s something about risotto that has always made me feel a tad ill after eating it, even though I adore it, perhaps due to the richness or my over use of butter. Regardless, I have been steering clear for the last few months, until now. This recipe has the same taste of risotto without that familiar heaviness and richness, and I’m in heaven. The unusual combination of Almond Milk, Grated Cauliflower and Yeast create the creamisness of a normal risotto.

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:
250g Risotto Rice or Brown Rice or the Short White Rice from Lidl- 50cent
Half an onion, chopped: 30cent
2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped: Price n/a
Half a head of Cauliflower, grated: €1, or perhaps cheaper at your local store.
200g of Mushrooms, chopped: €1
650ml of Almond Milk – 60cent
1 Tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast: 60cent
400ml of Vegan Stock (or mushroom stock)- Price n/a
2 Handfuls of Spinach: 50 cent
Salt and Pepper
Some Thyme or Rosmerary if you have it

Method
:
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a pot, and fry onion, garlic and salt and pepper, until soft.
2. Add the mushrooms and some rosemery or thyme, for one minute.
3. Add the rice, and coat it.
4. Add about 150ml of Almond milk and 150ml of Stock. Stir and bring to boil.
5. When boiling, turn down to simmer.
6. Add the nutritional yeast and the grated cauliflower.
7. When the liquid is nearly absorbed, add the same amount of milk and stock. Do this slowly. Keep doing this, and stirring regularly so that it doesn’t stick, until you’ve used all the stock and milk.
8. Add more salt and pepper to taste, and when the rice is soft and the mixture is creamy (should take about 35-30 mins from when liquid was first added) add the spinach and mix through until wilted.
9. Enjoy!

Total Cost: €4

What I loved about these recipes, is that they offer a new twist on something old, but also that the ingredients are relatively similar for all three, making it a perfect menu for one week; same ingredients, but different tastes and methods. Ideal for budget cooking, to ensure all your ingredients for one dish get used up, nothing is wasted ane everything is affordable.

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4 thoughts on “Making Cauliflower Cool

  1. Roasted with spices is a revelation – I tend to par-boil it first to the pint where it is just tender (but would need a couple more minutes cooking if you weren’t going to roast it) then toss in oil and spices such as chilli, cumin, coriander crushed peppercorns or crushed cardamom seeds, and roast uncovered until the edges start to crisp up – maybe 20 – 30 minutes.

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    1. That sounds delicious, my current apartment actually doesn’t have an oven, so that’s why I wasn’t able to try it roasted! But thankfully I’m moving soon and will have an oven – so I will definitely be trying this then!

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