Noticed a lot of cauliflower recipes popping up in your social media feeds lately? It’s no wonder: In June, Time magazine declared that cauliflower is the new “It” vegetable. That’s quite a step up for a vegetable that, for decades, has been broccoli’s boring cousin.
Turns out, cauliflower is extraordinarily versatile, which is why cauliflower recipes are all the rage these days. You can mash it like mashed potatoes; rice it like, well, rice; turn it into pizza crust, sandwich bread, faux buffalo wings, “tater” tots, mashed “potatoes,” even grilled “steak.” Suddenly, its mild flavor and interesting texture—crunchy when raw, soft when cooked—has made it the go-to replacement for higher-calorie, high refined-carb foods.
Like broccoli and cabbage, cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable. One cup of raw cauliflower has only 25 calories and a filling 2.5 grams of fiber. One serving also supplies 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C and it’s a good source of folate, a B-vitamin that helps your body produced healthy new cells.
Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower also contain large amounts of antioxidant chemicals that, studies suggest, may help you prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. For example, one study done in China found that women who ate the most cruciferous vegetables had 50 percent of the risk for breast cancer as women who ate the least amount.
Combine them with their cousins, which include Brussels sprouts and kale, and you boost their antioxidant power.
You can find some delicious ways to serve cauliflower on The Leaf, Nutrisystem’s website that provides hundreds of recipes (and lots of inspiration). Start with our guide to using cauliflower to make rice, pizza crust and more (Available here >).
All you need is a food processor or a grater to turn raw cauliflower florets into rice-like morsels that you can use just like rice or, mixed with egg, goat cheese and herbs and spices, into a delicious pizza crust. You can also use your cauliflower rice to sub for bulgur wheat in Tabbouleh Salad and for potatoes in tots and chowder.
But the options don’t end there.
Here are 11 other cauliflower recipes you need to try ASAP:
1. Cauliflower Fried Rice >
Imagine your favorite wok dish with way fewer calories. This authentic cauliflower recipe calls for mixed veggies—like carrots, snow peas, bell pepper, water chestnuts and soy beans—in a soy sauce-ginger mix with garlic, scrambled eggs and shrimp. It’s only 278 calories per serving and counts as two PowerFuels, one Vegetable and one Extra.
2. Spinach, Mushroom, Cauliflower Risotto >
Creamy risotto at 143 calories—and without the tedious stirring? You’ve got it in this recipe that substitutes riced cauliflower for rice. Two full cups of mushrooms, three cups of spinach, onion, garlic and a low-fat three-cheese blend make this dish extra flavorful and healthy. Counts as one PowerFuel, one Vegetable and one Extra.
3. Slow Cooker Garlic Herb Mashed Faux-tatoes >
One head of cauliflower, mixed with vegetable broth, garlic and herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley, will fill the house with delicious fragrances while it cooks in your slow cooker. It can turn even leftover holiday meats into a special dinner. One-sixth of this recipe counts as one Vegetable and two extras.
4. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese >
Mac and cheese at 114 calories? Sounds impossible, but not when you substitute cauliflower for the usual macaroni. Cut one head into small florets and mix with a creamy, cheesy sauce containing cheddar, cream cheese and almond milk. This makes a tasty side dish or a fabulous lunch or dinner that counts as one PowerFuel, one Vegetable and one Extra.
5. Cheezy Cauliflower Soup >
Save yourself the excess calories of cheese with this recipe for a creamy soup that gets its cheese flavor from nutritional yeast. Yes, yeast. Trust us, it’s delectable. Add sliced leeks, garlic and low-sodium chicken broth to finish off this light flex lunch (add some lean meat for a full, filling meal). Counts as one SmartCarb and one Vegetable.
6. Cauliflower Sweet Potato Soup >
Like cauliflower, sweet potatoes contain antioxidant chemicals that may help you fight chronic and killer diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, so you’re getting a double dose of healthy in this satisfyingly sweet soup spiced with coriander, paprika, cumin and ginger. And all for only 127 calories a serving. Not bad… just like all of our cauliflower recipes! Counts as one SmartCarb, one Vegetable and one Extra.
7. Cauliflower Buffalo Bites >
We have to admit… this is our favorite of the cauliflower recipes. If you’re missing your buffalo wings, you won’t be for long when you taste these. The secret of great buffalo wings—which are high in fat and calories—is the sauce. And you can get that same satisfying taste by substituting cauliflower florets for meat. Really! (You can even find buffalo cauliflower in the frozen food section!) Serve spicy buffalo sauce over florets that you’ve baked in the oven for 20 minutes and you won’t miss the chicken. One cup counts as one Vegetable and two Extras.
8. Asian Salmon Cauliflower Rice >
Wean yourself off of expensive and high-fat Asian takeout with this easy-peasy recipe that substitutes nutrient rich cauliflower rice for real rice. The easiest-peasiest part? You can buy already riced cauliflower in the frozen vegetable section of your supermarket. Your job is limited to baking the salmon and sautéing the rice with bean spouts then topping with a wasabi-soy-vinegar sauce and matchstick carrots, English cucumber slices, Nori and sesame seeds. One serving counts as two PowerFuels, two Vegetables and one Extra.
9. Twice Baked Cauliflower Casserole >
Two kinds of creamy melty cheese, tangy Greek yogurt and mashed cooked cauliflower, and you have a twice-baked casserole that will make you think you’re eating cheesy mashed potatoes—the ultimate in comfort food. Heavenly! This delicious dish counts as one PowerFuel and one Vegetable
10. Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice >
You won’t believe how tangy and tasty this recipe is. And so simple: Just cauliflower rice, lime juice, lime zest and cilantro. It’s the perfect side dish for Nutrisystem’s microwavable Southwest Fiesta Melt. Best of all, all of that flavor counts as just one Vegetable on the Nutrisystem program.
11. Cauliflower Crust Breadsticks >
Every bit as flavorful as your favorite pre-meal indulgence, these tasty breadsticks leave the fat, sodium and excess calories behind.