Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or simply trying to eat a little less meat, cauliflower is such a handy vegetable to have in your kitchen. More versatile than you might think, it crops up time and time again when you want to bulk out a recipe, replace meat or thicken a soup or sauce.
With a mild, nutty flavour, a handful of cauliflower florets can be added into so many different dishes – no matter the cuisine, it can handle pretty much any spice or seasoning you want to throw at it!
Low in calories and full of goodness, this thrifty ingredient is well worth stocking up on. Just take a look through this list of our favourite things to make with cauliflower; what will you make first?
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Cottage Pie with a Cheesy Cauliflower Top
This Cottage Pie with a Cheesy Cauliflower Top is just the kind of dinner you want on a chilly day. Instead of potatoes, we’ve topped our tasty filling of lean beef mince and veggies with mashed cauliflower.
We didn’t stop there though – the cauli is loaded with reduced-fat mature Cheddar cheese, and there’s even more cheese sprinkled on the top.
We guarantee you’re not going to miss the spuds one little bit!
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Cauli Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Cauliflower and cheese is a match made in heaven, so adding a whole head of cauli into a cheesy pasta dish just makes sense to us! This Cauli Mac ‘n’ Cheese is a thing of beauty – with a thick, creamy sauce and golden cheese topping.
You’d hardly even know the cauliflower is in there, but it makes all the difference (trust us). Most of the florets get blitzed until they look like fine rice, sautéed with onion and garlic, and then blended into a velvety sauce with plenty of cream cheese, Cheddar and parmesan.
We like to leave a few chunky pieces of cauliflower to mix in with the pasta for a bit of extra texture, but you could blend it all in if you’re cooking for fussy eaters. This recipe also includes bacon – you could switch it for a meat-free version or leave it out if you’d like to make it vegetarian-friendly.
You’ll need a blender to get your cheese sauce smooth and silky. This one from Amazon will come in handy for everything from blitzing soups to smoothies.
Air Fryer Cauliflower Hot Wings
Why hide the cauliflower in a sauce when you could make it the star of the show? This Air Fryer Cauliflower Hot Wings recipe transforms the humble vegetable into something really special.
Coated in a light yet spicy batter, and cooked in the air fryer until irresistibly crispy, these are a perfect little snack, starter or side dish for any cauliflower fans! Perfect for dipping, they come out of the air fryer with such a moreish crunch. You can make them in the oven too, just follow this method here.
We’ve made sure to include a cooling yoghurt dip with this one. Creamy and light, it cuts through the heat of that hot sauce marinade, so you get exactly the right spicy kick from every bite.
If you’re in the market for an air fryer, we have a handy rundown of the best air fryers to buy here. The list includes great value models like this Pro Breeze 5.5L Air Fryer that you can get from Amazon.
Our Vegan Nuggets are another easy cauliflower recipe that could be cooked in your air fryer (there’s a separate method right here). These golden nuggets are a great way of sneaking more vegetables into your diet – and you’ll barely even notice they’re there!
A nice change from the chicken nuggets you might get from the drive-through, our version is made up of a mixture of cauliflower, carrot, onion, red pepper and cannellini beans, all blitzed together and shaped into bite-sized nuggets.
Coated in panko breadcrumbs and baked until perfectly crisp, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how tasty these are (and they’re nice and low in calories too).
When we have an extra cauliflower laying around, there’s only one thing to add to the week’s menu; Cauliflower Madras. Proving that curry night doesn’t need to include a trip to the takeaway or a long list of expensive ingredients, this vegetarian recipe really packs a flavour punch.
Like a typical madras, this curry can have a bit of a kick to it, which is all down to the combination of using chilli powder alongside fresh chillies. You’re in charge in your own kitchen, so if you prefer a milder version, it’s really easy to adjust the spice level by tweaking the amount of chilli that goes into the pan.
Cauliflower steaks have been a popular alternative to meat for a while now, but we think our Cauliflower Parmigiana is the best way to eat one. Just like a regular chicken parm, it’s topped with Italian-inspired marinara sauce and golden, melted cheese.
You’ll want to roast your cauli steaks in the oven while you prepare the toppings – this gives it time to cook all the way through and take on a lovely nutty flavour. When it’s ready, load it up with rich tomato sauce, plenty of cheese and pop it back in the oven until it’s gloriously melty!
Cutting steaks out of your cauliflower in this way can sometimes mean you have smaller bits of cauli left over. Don’t waste them! Any leftovers can be blitzed up to use as cauliflower rice, or save to be used in one of our hidden veg recipes.
Cauliflower and Chicken Fried Rice
Speaking of cauliflower rice, you haven’t lived until you’ve given our Cauliflower and Chicken Fried Rice recipe a go. Inspired by one of our favourite takeaway orders, this dish delivers all the familiar flavours for a fraction of the calories.
Using a blender is the easiest way to turn your florets into rice, although a basic grater will get the job done too. Once your cauliflower resembles rice, it’s time to get cooking! Packed with chicken, lean bacon and egg, this recipe is full of healthy protein that will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
This recipe is super freezer-friendly too, so you can use up any leftover cauliflower to make a big batch and then store it in the freezer for a rainy day.
If you’re freezing portions of leftovers it’s important to make sure they’re stored correctly, in freezer-safe containers. These glass containers have airtight lids and can go from the freezer, straight to the microwave.
Cauliflower Cheese Soup
You can’t go wrong with soup for lunch, especially when it’s a warming bowl of this Cauliflower Cheese Soup. Brimming with plenty of hidden vegetables, the irresistible cheesy flavour makes this one a family-friendly crowd pleaser.
We’ve doubled up on cheesy deliciousness by using both cream cheese and grated Cheddar in this recipe. These melt into the soup, making it especially velvety, creamy and indulgent-tasting, despite being just 210 calories per portion. Trust us, you’ll want to serve a wholemeal bread roll on the side to mop up every last drop!
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Will you be cooking with cauliflower tonight?
If you’re feeling inspired to turn your leftover cauli into something super tasty, we’d love to hear about it! Pop on over to our Facebook group to tell us about what you’ve been making recently, share your photos or scroll through our community’s posts for a little bit of inspiration. With almost 1 million members in the group, there’s always someone to offer a helping hand for your slimming journey.
Pssst…don’t forget we have SWAG up for grabs when you share hints, tips and photos in the Pinch of Nom Gallery!