My Favourite Thing Ever: Cauliflower

Believe it or not, eating pasta for weeks on end does get boring.

Being in second year and having moved out of res, it’s now up to my own cooking abilities to make sure I eat cheap, easy, and nutritious meals throughout the year. I’m a HUGE believer of cooking my own meals because it’s cheaper and healthier. However, between classes and studying and extra-curriculars, I’m not left with a lot of time to create wholesome meals every night. This usually means cooking one huge batch of food (pasta) and eating that batch (pasta) throughout the entire week. Because of this, I’m always on the hunt for simple, quick, but fun recipes to try out on my days off.

As all my friends know, I am in love with cauliflower. I love how versatile the taste and texture is, as well as how easy it is to make. Cauliflower is also super rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin K, with as little as 29 calories per cup. My favourite way to eat it is to just lightly sauté it in a pan with some corn starch, salt, and pepper. As it cooks, its natural flavours really shine through as the corn starch creates a thick, “sauce” of cauliflower goodness.

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A few months ago I stumbled across a cauliflower pizza crust recipe that looked promising. With the new gluten-free trend, everyone was hopping onto the whole “cauliflower substitute” train and I knew I had to give it a try. And what could go wrong? I love cauliflower, and I love pizza. As it turns out, a lot of things. Mainly, I didn’t have any toppings to put onto the crust.

Halfway through, I realized I had a big problem: I didn’t have any toppings or sauce to put onto the already half-finished crust. In my excitement, I forgot to check if I had enough ingredients. Ok so, here I was at 6:00pm on a Sunday night. I had promised my friends I would be bringing over PIZZA, not boring pizza crust, to share. In my moments of panic, I realized that pizza crust was cheese-less bread. Cheese-less bread could be turned into cheesy bread. Cheesy bread was basically cheese breadsticks. Which can be made from half-finished pizza crust.

So, without further ado, here is my favourite thing ever: cauliflower cheesy bread.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups riced cauliflower (about 1 head of large cauliflower) – Note: I used frozen cauliflower, but my mom tried it with fresh stalks and it turned out perfect
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 to 2.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (1 cup for the crust, 1 to 1.5 cups for topping)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions (using frozen cauliflower):

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F degrees.
  2. Make sure your cauliflower florets are slightly thawed. Add the florets to a food processor and pulse into cauliflower resembles rice.
  3. Place the cauliflower in a microwaveable container and cover with a lid. Microwave until cooked (follow the instructions on the bag).
  4. Wait for the cauliflower to cool, then transfer it to a thin dish towel. Wrap up the cauliflower rice in the towel, twist it up, and squeeze out all the excess moisture (be careful not to burn yourself!). This is THE MOST important step in ensuring your bread isn’t soggy, so try to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
  5. Place the cauliflower in a bowl and add the 2 eggs, 1 cup of cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix everything together until consistent.
  6. Spread the mixture onto a baking pan (I used a cookie pan) and shape it into a rectangle shape. Make sure the spread is even and not too thick.
  7. Bake the crust (no topping yet) for about 15 minutes or until nice and brown.
  8. Once golden, take the crust out of the oven and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place it back into the oven. Bake for another 4-5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  9. Slice and serve! Makes about 3-4 servings.

If you’re planning on using fresh cauliflower, make sure it’s cut into rough florets before pulsing in the food processor. You’ll still need to cook and squeeze the cauliflower rice, but microwave times will vary. Try microwaving it for 2-3 minutes each time until ready.

IMG_3383

Fresh out of the oven! I wasn’t able to snap a nicer pic before everyone devoured it, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

The Verdict:

Truth be told, I was extremely nervous about how this would turn out. I’ve heard so many horror stories about how cauliflower bread doesn’t work because of how soggy it’ll turn out to be. Luckily, I found that by squeezing out the moisture before baking really helps as you get a super soft but not watery base.

According to my roommates and friends, who I used a guinea pigs for my experiment,

My picky eater friend:

I usually hate cauliflower, but I couldn’t even taste it.

My roommate whose food processor I used:

If I knew you were going to make this, I would’ve given you my food processor ages ago.

My health conscious friend:

YAAAAAAAAAAAAS.

My roommate’s boyfriend:

Nice.

So the verdict? HUGE SUCCESS. I am SO happy with how my cheesy bread turned out and super glad that my friends enjoyed it. While it’s definitely not a great health substitute for real cheesy bread (I used SO much cheese I felt like I single-handedly kept the daisy industry in business in a single), it is a great way to shake up your usual mean plans. I felt less weighed down and bloated after stuffing my face than I would’ve if I had eaten the real thing.

I’m definitely excited to be making my own meals and I can’t wait to share my cooking adventures with all of you! In fact, just last week I made this super tasty “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” butter lamb (yes lamb, not chicken) but that’s another recipe for another day.

In the meantime, let me know how you mix things up in the kitchen by commenting below!

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