Turn Cauliflower into Healthy Versions of Your Favorite Foods

Have you ever tried adding black beans to brownies? Are you adventurous enough for avocado cheesecake? Avocado whipped cream? Avocado chocolate pudding? Would nonnas around the world collectively shudder at the idea of cauliflower Alfredo sauce?

Cooking is an art, and like any other form of creative expression, the most exciting innovations emerge only after traditional boundaries are breached. Many of our most beloved fruits, vegetables, and pantry staples possess immense untapped potential beyond their conventional applications. And we’re here to provide you with a little inspiration.

For this weekly series, Meatless Monday is taking a favorite ingredient and showing you unexpected ways to use it. Best of all, most of the recipes are plant based and can be used to replace animal products like meat, cheese, and dairy.

So, without further ado, here’s how to transform cauliflower into all of your favorite foods!

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Silky and decadent, a smooth Alfredo sauce is a cornerstone of any pasta night. But Alfredo sauce is notoriously rich thanks to a generous use of butter and cream. Cauliflower blended with sautéed garlic, broth, and olive can be used in place of dairy products for a lighter but equally flavorful version of this classic sauce. Try this creamy, dairy-free version of cauliflower Alfredo sauce from Detoxinista.

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

The peppery tang of a good hot sauce is good on just about anything, so, instead of frying the wings of a bird, roast up some nuggets of cauliflower. The toasted florets develop a deep flavor that pairs splendidly with wing sauce. Plus, you can eat these cauliflower Buffalo wingz from chef Charity Morgan with a fork, which means no messy fingers.

Cauliflower Pickles

Anything can be pickled, not just cucumbers. Pickled cauliflower isn’t so uncommon (it’s a main component of the Italian pickled vegetable blend, giardiniera), but if you make it yourself, you can customize its flavor profile to your liking. They’ll be a healthier alternative to your classic pickle, providing some extra zip to salads or grain bowls.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust 

They sell it at Wholefoods; they sell it at Trader Joe’s, but cauliflower pizza crust is something that you can easily whip up in your own kitchen. Cauliflower crust is lower in calories and more nutritionally dense than traditional white-flour pizza crust. Also, it’s gluten-free, a blessing for all of us looking to avoid gluten. Try this vegan cauliflower crust recipe created by Jenné Claiborne from Sweet Potato Soul.

Cauliflower Rice

It’s the foundation of countless cuisines, but white rice is not the ideal carbohydrate. Cauliflower rice is a great alternative because it is fewer calories per serving but has many of the same textural qualities as traditional white rice. Simply chop up a head of cauliflower, drop it in the food processor, and give it around 15 – 20 pulses until its florets are roughly the same size as a grain of rice. This recipe for cauliflower rice from Jessica in the Kitchen shows the whole process picture by picture.

Cauliflower Steak

Roasting cauliflower makes it elegant, rich, and flavorful. This recipe for roasted cauliflower steak from Jessica Gavin can serve as the main course of every-day-dinner or as the centerpiece of a festive holiday meal. Through a combination of steaming/roasting, the cauliflower comes out tender, charred, and smoky.

Spicy Chicken-Fried Cauliflower

The name of this dish is enough to make your mouth water. This recipe for spicy chicken-fried cauliflower from I Can You Can Vegan uses a homemade, plant-based buttermilk as well as a seasoned flour mixture to give these nuggets of cauliflower a decadent, crunchy breading. Serve these up as an appetizer or plate them up with a side salad for a main course.

Click here for more Meatless Monday recipes. When posting pictures of recipes to your social media network, tag @MeatlessMonday use #MeatlessMonday to show the plant-based community your creation.