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Festival Foods



cauliflower #festfoodsCauliflower is trendy and in season! Who has heard about making cauliflower into a steak, pizza crust, or mashed? I must say each and every recipe I tried in this blog is amazing! I have to credit my daughter Nicole for turning me into a vegetable steak fan. Nicole is 27 years old and she is into her garden and cooking like an old pro. She made the grilled cauliflower steak recipe for me and I thought I died and went to heaven. Next time I was over she made cabbage steaks on the grill. Oh my goodness they are as good; if not better! Preparing vegetables has come so far. Eating healthy is more fun, so easy, and enjoyable!

While making many of the dishes below for my blog pictures, my family so enjoyed all the sampling! My daughter Kelly who is just starting to become a serious cook was most excited and could not believe cauliflower could be so good! Her favorite was the Parmesana. My husband Paul was even getting in on the fun by tasting, critiquing, and taking pictures of the prepared cauliflower. Join me in preparing a variety of vegetables throughout the year. Let’s start with cauliflower and go from there. I have included oven and grill options along with a warm and comforting bowl of delicious soup and a refreshing salad!


I studied information on line about cauliflower and compiled some interesting tips and tricks. One site I enjoy is


How to Select and Store Cauliflower

  • When purchasing cauliflower, look for a clean, creamy white, compact curd in which the bud clusters are not separated. Spotted or dull-colored cauliflower should be avoided, as well as those in which small flowers appear.
  • Heads that are surrounded by many thick green leaves are better protected and will be fresher. As its size is not related to its quality, choose one that best suits your needs.
  • Store uncooked cauliflower in a paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to a week. To prevent moisture from developing in the floret clusters, store it with the stem side down.
  • If you purchase pre-cut cauliflower florets, consume them within one or two days as they will lose their freshness after that. Since cooking causes cauliflower to spoil quicker, consume it within two to three days of placing in the refrigerator after cooking.


Tips for Preparing Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower florets are the part of the plant that most people eat. However, the stem and leaves are edible too and are especially good for adding to soup stocks.
  • To cut cauliflower, first remove the outer leaves and then slice the florets at the base where they meet the stalks. You can further cut them, if you desire pieces that are smaller or of uniform size. Trim any brown coloration that may exist on the edges.
  • Cauliflower contains phytonutrients that release odorous sulfur compounds when heated. These odors become stronger with increased cooking time. If you want to minimize odor, retain the vegetable’s crisp texture, and reduce nutrient loss, cook the cauliflower for only a short time.
  • Some phytonutrients may react with iron in cookware and cause the cauliflower to take on a brownish hue. To prevent this, add a bit of lemon juice to the water in which you blanch the cauliflower.


Nutritional Profile

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6. It is a very good source of choline, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and biotin. Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin B2, protein, vitamin B1, niacin, and magnesium.

NOTE: 1 cup cauliflower is about 25 calories, amazing!

Health Benefits

While cauliflower is not a well-studied cruciferous vegetable from a health standpoint, you will find several dozen studies linking cauliflower-containing diets to cancer prevention, particularly with respect to the following types of cancer: bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer. This connection between cauliflower and cancer prevention should not be surprising, since cauliflower provides special nutrient support for three body systems that are closely connected with cancer development as well as cancer prevention. These three systems are (1) the body’s detox system, (2) its antioxidant system, and (3) its inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system. Chronic imbalances in any of these three systems can increase risk of cancer, and when imbalances in all three systems occur simultaneously, the risk of cancer increases significantly


This is daughter Kelly’s favorite!

This is daughter Kelly’s favorite!

Cauliflower Parmesana


  • 1/2  cup  seasoned bread crumbs (omit for gluten free option)
  • 1 head cauliflower (2.5-3#), cut into flowerets (7 to 8 cups)
  • 1 jar  (26 ounces) chunky spaghetti sauce like Prego
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I also like to add about 4oz fresh mozzarella if I have it, the cheesier the better!)
  • 1/4  cup grated Parmesan cheese


1)       Heat oven to 375 degrees

2)       Mix sauce, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning

3)       Scatter ¼ cup bread crumbs over bottom of 9×13 baking pan. Place half the cauliflower on top. Pour 1-1/2 cups marinara over cauliflower. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons bread crumbs over sauce. Repeat layering, ending with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil that is sprayed with pan release to prevent sticking.

4)       Bake in 375 degrees oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil. Sprinkle top with Parmesan. Bake another 15 minutes or until Parmesan is melted and golden. Garnish with bread crumbs and Italian Seasoning. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.


Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower


  • 6-8   1 inch thick slices  cauliflower florets, (about 1 large head; see Tip)
  • 2   tablespoons   extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1   teaspoon   dried marjoram
  • 1/4  teaspoon   salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2   tablespoons   balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2   cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese


1)       Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

2)       Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

3)       Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes.

4)       Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese.

5)       Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more


Loaded Baked Cauliflower (Just like a loaded mashed potato)


  • 2 1/2 cups cooked cauliflower
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 3 -6 slices cooked crumpled bacon
  • salt and pepper


1)      Pre-heat oven to 350.

2)      Chop cooked cauliflower into very small pieces.

3)      Mix sour cream, 1/2 of the green onions, 1/2 of the cheese, 1/2 of the bacon, and salt and pepper to taste in medium bowl and stir in the cauliflower.

4)      Place in medium baking dish and sprinkle remaining cheese and bacon on top.

5)      Bake for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the remaining green onions on top just before serving or garnish with extra cheese and bacon for that add wow!



Yes, the crust is cauliflower!

Grain-Free Cauliflower Crust Pizza


  • medium cauliflower (2#) – 2 to 3 cups once processed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • optional a few shakes of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg


1)      Preheat pizza stone or baking sheet. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil.

2)      Wash and thoroughly dry a small head of cauliflower. Cut off the florets. Pulse in

3)      Food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get powdery snow like cauliflower or grate with a box grater. You should end up with 2.5 to 3 cups cauliflower. Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover.

4)      Microwave for about 7 minutes until soft. Place cooked cauliflower into cheese cloth or clean towel and allow to cool, squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Crust will be easier to handle if you remove most of the liquid.

5)      Place cauliflower in bowl; add parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt, basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, and a dash of red pepper if you want to add a little kick. Add egg and mix well. Hands tend to work best.

6)      Form the dough into a crust on oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly; you want it nice and tightly formed together.

Pizza Topping Ideas:
Pizza sauce, Marinara/Spaghetti sauce, or salsa
Sliced avocados or guacamole sauce
Grated cheese (Provolone, Monterey Jack, cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, or fresh mozzarella etc.)

Bell peppers, fresh or roasted

Assorted roasted vegetables
caramelized onions
Fresh tomatoes, sliced or chopped
Basil Leaves for garnish


cauliflower5Cheesy Cauliflower


  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano)*
  • ½ cup Panko Bread Crumbs, garnish w/chopped chives optional

* Any cheese of your choice may be substituted.

1)      To prepare cauliflower, remove the stem and green leaves from the bottom of the head. Trim the base of the core so that the head will stand upright.

2)      Place the whole head of cauliflower into a steamer basket, place the basket in a large pot, and add one inch of water. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until tender when pierced.

3)      Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the head of cauliflower into a baking dish or pie plate. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, and mustard; spread the mixture over the cauliflower. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Add bread crumbs or chives if desired. Bake, uncovered, approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and melted.


Crème Fraiche Gruyere Cauliflower


  • 1 medium head cauliflower (2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche (store bought or homemade – see recipe below, difficult to find other than holidays)
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Gruyere cheese, divided
  • Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dry, unflavored bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped*
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives or flat leaf parsley for garnish
  • To toast hazelnuts, spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until browned approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and when cool enough to handle, place nuts in a kitchen towel and rub together to remove as much of the skins as possible.


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart oven-to-table baking dish or gratin pan; set aside.
  • Cut off and discard base of cauliflower, then cut the head into small, individual florets.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Add cauliflower florets to pot and cook until tender (but not mushy) when pierced with a sharp knife, about 5 minutes. Drain florets and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
  • Place cauliflower in prepared dish and toss with crème fraiche and half of the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining cheese over cauliflower, then top with bread crumbs and hazelnuts. Bake on center rack of oven until cheese has melted and bread crumbs and nuts are golden, 20 to 25 minutes or more. Garnish with chives or parsley.

Crème Fraiche
Crème fraiche if you can’t find it, the following recipe works well. It needs to be made at least 6 hours in advance.

1 cup heavy cream and 1/3 cup sour cream

Whisk cream and sour cream together in a medium non-reactive bowl. Let stand at room temperature until thickened, 6 hours or longer. Cover and refrigerate. NOTE: Crème fraiche can be stored up to 1 week, covered, in refrigerator.

Makes about 1 1/3 cups


cauliflowerRoasted Cauliflower Steak


  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 3 pounds)

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil


1)      Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil

2)      Wash the cauliflower and remove the tough outer leaves of the cauliflower and discard. Leave the core (stem) intact. Cut the base so that it can stand up without moving around.

3)      Place cauliflower, base side down, on a work surface. Using a very sharp knife, and starting at top center of cauliflower head, cut down the center of the cauliflower head to divide it in half. Then carefully cut four 3/4-inch thick slices (two off each half). Set cauliflower steaks aside. You can get two (2) large cauliflower steaks and two (2) medium-size cauliflower steaks from the cauliflower head.

4)      You can cut the remaining cauliflower florets and brown them with the steaks, or save them for another use.

5)      In a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Working in two batches, add cauliflower steaks, season with salt and pepper, and sear 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown (this will create a nice brown sear). Only turn once as they are a bit delicate. Remove from pan and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cauliflower steaks. You may need to add additional oil between batches.

6)      Roast cauliflower, in the oven, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Variation Ideas:

  • Lightly sprinkle some toasted sesame oil over top of the cauliflower steaks before roasting. Before serving, sprinkle with some sesame seeds.
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon minced garlic over the top of the cauliflower steaks before roasting.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander over the top of the cauliflower steaks before roasting.
  • Add fresh or dried basil
  • Delete salt and add 1/4 cup soy sauce before roasting.
  • Substitute smoked paprika for the salt and black pepper when searing.
  • Add lemon juice and sprinkle with paprika
  • Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup finely-shredded Parmesan cheese after baking. Return to oven and continue roasting until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, approximately 5 additional minutes.


cauliflowerGrilled Cauliflower Steaks & Florets


  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Franks Buffalo/Hot Sauce or your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
  • 1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper


1)      Wash the cauliflower and remove the tough outer leaves of the cauliflower and discard. Leave the core (stem) intact. Cut the base so that it can stand up without moving around.

2)      Place cauliflower, base side down, on a work surface. Using a very sharp knife, and starting at top center of cauliflower head, cut down the center of the cauliflower head to divide it in half. Then carefully cut four 3/4-inch thick slices (two off each half). Set cauliflower steaks aside. You can get two (2) large cauliflower steaks and two (2) medium-size cauliflower steaks from the cauliflower head.

3)      Mix olive oil, hot sauce, basil, and mustard,

4)      Drizzle additional olive oil, salt and pepper on each steak, baste with mixed sauce

5)      Place seasoned side down on hot grill

6)      Immediately baste top side of steak and grill for about 12 minutes

7)      Flip steaks and baste again

8)      Grill another 10-12 minutes until tender

9)      Serve on platter garnished with Fresh Basil or Fresh Parsley


cauliflowerMashed Cauliflower


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half In half
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder


1)      Divide a head of cauliflower into florets that are all roughly the same size.

2)      Steam cauliflower pieces over boiling water (15 to 20 minutes), or until the cauliflower is tender

3)      Drain the cauliflower and toss it in a bowl of ice water to bring the cooking process to a screeching halt. Drain

4)      Mash cauliflower with masher and add ½ cup water

5)      Dissolve the corn starch in the remaining 1/4 cup of water and add the solution to the cauliflower.

6)      Add the cream, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to the cauliflower and stir.

7)      Set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thick.

8)      Garnish with butter and paprika and a few chopped chives


cauliflowerCreamy Cauliflower Soup


  • 1 large head cauliflower, broken in florets
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoon chicken base or bouillon cubes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon each cayenne pepper, and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (dry can be used)


1)      In a large saucepan, combine the cauliflower, carrots, onion, broth and Base/bouillon.

2)      Cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender

3)      Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth.

4)      Gradually add milk and half & half. Cook and stir until bubbly.

5)      Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes longer or until thickened. Reduce heat;

6)      Add cheese and seasonings. Pour into cauliflower mixture.

7)      Simmer slowly for 30 minutes (do not boil).

8)      Just before serving add extra shredded cheese and chopped parsley in bowl for garnish


cauliflowerBacon, Lettuce, and Cauliflower Salad


  • 1 head Chopped Lettuce
  • 1 small to medium head Cauliflower in florets
  • 1# Bacon (Cooked and in pieces) half in salad and half for topping
  • ¼ chopped Red Onion (optional)
  • Croutons as a garnish


1)      Mix ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, 2 tablespoons Honey, 1cup Mayonnaise

2)      Toss together set for about 10 minutes and toss again, dressing will coat better after the small rest time. If making ahead just pour dressing over top of salad and mix just before serving.

3)      Top with croutons, bacon, and additional parmesan cheese

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