Not so long ago, cauliflower was an all-but-forgotten vegetable, its only dinner-plate appearance coming as part of a bland, mushy medley of overcooked green beans and carrots. But today the humble white plant is being recognized as a dynamic, do-it-all veg, one you can dress up with exotic herbs and spices or serve as simply as you'd like. Roasted, cauliflower has a slightly sweet, nutty taste that blends seamlessly with the flavors of so many cuisines, from Indian to Italian to Vietnamese. Raw, it's a perfect base for dips and brings serious crunch to fresh salads. It's even meaty enough to stand on its own as a main dish (see "steak" recipe). Bonus: Cauliflower is superhigh in vitamins C, B, and K, meaning it's one of the few white foods that are actually good for you. These three preparations show off cauliflower's impressive range. Try them all, and play with the ingredients to find combinations you love. Then make some room in the vegetable drawer next to all that kale.
Roasted Cauliflower Side Dishes
• 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (leave as much stalk attached as you'd like)
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut or break florets into bite-size pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast 30-40 minutes.
• Add 1/2 tsp curry to above ingredients and roast. Then toast 1/2 cup pistachios in 1 tbsp olive oil with 2 cloves garlic, chopped, for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup golden raisins, then toss with roasted cauliflower.
• Chop 5–7 slices bacon into small pieces and cook until almost crispy. Add ¼ cup peas to pan (if using frozen peas, thaw and pat dry first) and sauté 1 minute. Add 2 tbsp chopped mint, then toss with roasted cauliflower.
• Chop 1/2 cup scallions and 1/4 cup cilantro. Stir into 2 tbsp fish sauce. Toss dressing with roasted cauliflower.
Finish with a squeeze of lime.
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