Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Veggie Variety: Cauliflower Baked "Potato"

Getting more fruits, veggies and whole grains in your family's diet requires both the willingness to try new veggies (we're giving bok choy and brussel sprouts a try!) and looking for new ways to cook old favorites.

One of my longtime favorites is cauliflower. I love cauliflower! It doesn't get the positive press that broccoli does but I really enjoy its milder flavor and less "woody" texture.

One of the easiest ways to get in an extra serving of veggies is to swap cauliflower for your starch. You can use it almost any place you'd use rice or potatoes. You'll get the feeling of having a white starch but all the vitamins and fiber of a vegetable! 

Start with 1 head of cauliflower (or a package of frozen florets). Cut florets from the large center stem and boil in water or steam until soft (approx 15-20 min.) Strain in collander over sink. While draining, press excess water out of cauliflower with potato masher or wooden spoon. Getting most of the water out is KEY to a great texture!

  • Mashed "potatoes" : Pop cooked, drained & pressed cauliflower into food processor, puree until smooth. Add cream/milk, butter & salt/pepper as usual. You'll get a great mashed potato texture & creamy flavor!
  • Cauliflower "rice": spread cooked, drained & pressed cauliflower onto cutting board, chop finely with knife until texture resembles rice, use anywhere you would white rice!
For something decadent, especially if you have some avowed cauliflower HATERS, you have to try the following recipe. It looks, tastes and has the texture of your favorite steakhouse big baked potato with all the trimmings!

Cauliflower Baked "Potato"

Ingredients: (serves 4, multiply as needed)
1 head of cauliflower, prepared as above
4 oz cream cheese or neufchatel
4 oz sour cream
1 cup shredded cheese (sharp or medium cheddar works well but for something really awesome, try a SMOKED cheese)

1. Take cooked, drained & pressed cauliflower and continue mashing with potato masher or large fork. Break it up into fairly small chunks but it doesn't have to be perfect-- you are going for a rustic, baked potato type of texture here.
2. Put prepared cauliflower into a 1-2 quart casserole dish that has a lid.
3. Using your fingers, pinch off small pieces of the cream cheese and drop into casserole. Mix together when done.
4. Mix in sour cream, shredded cheese & salt/pepper to taste.
5. Bake covered in 350 F. oven for 20 minutes and then uncovered for another 10.
6. Casserole is done when lightly browned and bubbly at edges.

To take this up a notch, try topping with crumbled, cooked bacon and diced green onion!

Comment below and let me know how this worked out for you....

This recipe is adapted from this post.

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