Gourmet Veggie Mama

Tag Archives: Cauliflower

Vegetable Gratin-Soufflé

I love “kitchen sink” recipes — you know, the kind of recipe that you can just throw whatever veggies you have in the fridge into. A stir fry is classic, but when you have lots of root vegetables, as I tend to in the winter, a vegetable gratin-soufflé is my go-to. Even better, it’s super-easy to put together with ingredients I always have on hand, like milk, cheese and eggs.

This all started when I decided to pull a carrot from our backyard garden this weekend. I planted tri-color carrots from seed this fall, and I’m always hesitant to harvest carrots, since you never really know how they’re doing down there. Of course, there’s only one way to tell: pull one up and see.



I was gleeful at the results. What a beautiful, straight, maroon carrot! How cool is that? I had to run around to the front yard, where the hubby was playing with Nora, to show them. My neighbors all think I’m crazy, I’m sure. But look how pretty!

roasted veggies

Roasted goodness.

In addition to the carrots, I roasted a parsnip, a couple of baby beets and small head of romanesco cauliflower to toss in. Of course, the whole dish turned pink (as is usually the case when beets are involved), but it was tasty! We ate the gratin-soufflé with a side of wilted kale from the garden* dressed with a little balsamic and topped with a sprinkle of parmesan.


Dinner is served.

* How much do I love eating all these food from our very own garden? Lots!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegetable Gratin-Soufflé
Serves: 4
  • 3 cups vegetables, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup grated Gruyère or other cheese
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • pinch nutmeg
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease an 8- x 10-inch gratin dish or other shallow ovenproof dish of similar size.
  2. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil and salt and pepper in a large bowl and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes, tossing once to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven when fork tender and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in a skillet and sauté the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Combine the onion and the roasted vegetables in a large bowl.
  4. In the same skillet, melt the remaining 2 Tbsp butter and brown the breadcrumbs. Stir in the milk and heat until bubbly and warm. Add the breadcrumb mixture to the bowl and stir in along with the cheese and egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper and add the nutmeg.
  5. In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment (or by hand if you're looking for a workout), beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the vegetable mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until puffed and browned, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.


Creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Chard Pasta

I have a new favorite use for cauliflower. I know I say that often this time of year, but cauliflower really is so versatile. I’m always mystified when people tell me they can never find a good use for cauliflower — I have dozens!

Admittedly, it’s kind of a boring vegetable on its own (although I do love it simply roasted with some olive oil, salt and pepper), but it’s also a chameleon that can fit into all kinds of cuisines. I have several standby cauliflower pasta recipes, but this new one is definitely my favorite, owing not only to its tastiness (I do love a creamy sauce), but also to its use of chard, something I have in spades right now. Hooray for winter veggies!

chard pasta

Together at last.


Creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Chard Pasta
  • 8 oz rotini pasta, preferably whole wheat
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets (about half a medium head)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ bunch chard, coarse stems removed and leaves roughly chopped or torn
  • 6 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp sour cream
  • grated parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, preheat the broiler. Toss the cauliflower florets with 2 Tbsp olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and broil, tossing a few times, until nicely browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and smoked paprika and stir until fragrant, taking care not to let the garlic get too brown. Add the roasted cauliflower to the skillet and stir to combine. Add in the chard and sauté until wilted but still bright green.
  4. Stir in the cream and sour cream and stir until well incorporated and beginning to bubble. Add the cooked pasta stir well to coat it with the sauce. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, and serve topped with grated parmesan cheese.


Capellini with Cauliflower

I love it when I end up with both cauliflower and fennel in the CSA box. I automatically put capellini with cauliflower on the menu when that happens, since it’s such a good, quick and easy meal.

I didn’t get cauliflower in the box this time, but I did get fennel, and when we stopped by Cedar Park Farms to Market on Saturday morning, one of the stands was selling small-ish heads of purple cauliflower for a buck apiece — score! So, of course, I knew what I was doing with that fennel.


Ample garlicky bread crumbs and parmesan seal the deal, making this an awesome weeknight meal. Try it out, while we’re still enjoying the tail end of winter’s bounty!

Capellini with Cauliflower

12 oz whole wheat capellini
1 small head of cauliflower
2 fennel bulbs with fronds
1 onion
2 Tbs olive oil, plus additional for tossing with the pasta
fresh bread crumbs*
1 Tbs butter
1 clove garlic
grated parmesan for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt, along with the capelini, and cook according to package directions. With 3 to 5 minutes left on the cooking time (depending on how crisp you like them), add the cauliflower florets.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the fennel bulbs and onion, and finely chop a couple of the fennel fronds. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, and saute the onions and fennel until soft and caramelized.

Melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the garlic and stir briefly, then toss in the bread crumbs. Stir over medium high heat until toasted.

Drain the capellini and cauliflower and return them to the pan. Add the caramelized onions and fennel and toss well, adding a bit of olive oil to coat the pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with a nice layer of bread crumbs and plenty of parmesan cheese.

* I just ground up a day-old baguette in the food processor and used about a cup of the crumbs. The rest I threw in a jar in the fridge for later use.

Roasted cauliflower with tomato sauce, feta, and olive relish

Have you ever started making a meal and had to change courses in mid-stream? It happens to me pretty often. Either I forget an ingredient, or things just aren’t working out, but I have to figure out how to salvage the meal. Sometimes the results are good; other times, not so much.

I originally set out to make Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Relish and Tomato Sauce the other night. However, the head of romanesco I was using didn’t want to cut into “steaks” at all, so I changed courses. Sometimes the impromptu is better (and, in this case, quicker and easier) than the planned.

Impromptu success!

The flavor came out pretty much the same as the original, I imagine, but it was a lot simpler and less fussy, plus I used a lot of stuff I already had on hand. That’s always a bonus when you’re planning a cross-country move in two weeks!*

*Yikes. Two weeks?!

Roasted Cauliflower with Tomato Sauce, Feta, and Olive Relish

1 head of cauliflower, cored and cut into large florets
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1/3 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs parsley, chopped
feta cheese, crumbled
tomato sauce**
whole-wheat couscous (2 servings)

Preheat the oven to 400°. Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread on a cookie sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning a couple of times to ensure even browning.

Meanwhile, chop the olives, garlic, and parsley together to make a relish. Set aside. Prepare the couscous according to package directions, using water or vegetable stock. Heat the tomato sauce.

Assemble two plates, couscous first, then a healthy spoon of tomato sauce, then crumbled feta (as much or as little as you like). Divide the roasted cauliflower evenly, and garnish with the olive relish.

**You can use jarred tomato sauce (I had some in the pantry that needed to be used pre-move) or make your own by simmering down a jar of crushed tomatoes.

Broccoli-cheddar skillet flan

I was rushing around the other day trying to come up with dinner for the evening (plan ahead, you fool!), and realized I had all the ingredients for broccoli-cheddar skillet flan. Well, all the ingredients but one — frozen hash browns. That was fine, though. The hubby said he could use a walk anyway, so he headed down to the corner market and picked up some potatoes. Fresh is always better, right?

Yes indeed.

Rather than use the frozen hash browns the original recipe called for, I just mandolined (or actually, had my sous chef/spouse mandoline) the potatoes. I used plenty of fresh broccoli and green cauliflower from our CSA share, plus some great sharp cheddar I had left over from my kale and delicata salad, and the result was delicious.

I always love a good excuse to use my cast iron skillet, in any case. Best purchase ever.

Besides being a lovely dinner for the grown-ups, Nora loved the leftovers for her dinner the next night, too. I think it’s pretty much the perfect baby dinner — plenty of healthy protein, veggies and carbs. On second thought, that makes it a pretty good grown-up dinner, too!

Broccoli-Cheddar Skillet Flan
Based on this recipe

6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1/3 cup grated parmesan
3 Tbs olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
1 lb potatoes,* mandolined or thinly sliced
2 heads broccoli, cauliflower, and/or romanesco, cut into small florets

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whisk together the eggs, milk, pepper, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined, then whisk in cheddar.

Heat the oil in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté shallot, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Add the sliced potatoes and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Spread the potatoes evenly in the bottom of the skillet and cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and spread the broccoli evenly over the potatoes, then pour in the egg mixture. Sprinkle with the parmesan. Bake until set 2 inches from the edge but still slightly wobbly in center, 12 to 15 minutes.

Turn on the broiler and broil 6 inches from the heat until the top is set, puffed, and golden brown.

* Use small, thin-skinned potatoes, well-scrubbed, or otherwise peel them.

Cauliflower carbonara

Thanks once again to the lovely and talented Ruby, I now have another great option for making cauliflower into a meal. I made cauliflower “carbonara” based on her recipe not long ago, and it was delicious.

Yes, please.

This is a vegetarian version of the original dish, which generally includes pancetta or bacon. Needless to say, this was right up my alley, and of course I didn’t miss the meat at all! Nora devoured the leftovers with me the next day.

Oh, did you want some?

This is a fantastic dish that you can throw together with stuff you probably already have around the house, so what’s not to like? Add a salad and it’s a meal.

Cauliflower Carbonara
From this recipe from Guitar Picks and Apron Strings, with my modifications

1 head of cauliflower, large florets cut away from the stem and sliced into bite-size pieces*
12 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
2 Tbsp butter, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground pepper
Crushed red pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten**
2 oz grated parmesan, plus more for serving

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water and add the sliced cauliflower, cooking for about a minute. Fish out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

In the same water, cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain, retaining about a cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the black pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the cauliflower, salt to taste, and toss to coat with butter. Leave the cauliflower for a couple of minutes until it starts to brown and then toss again.  Once the cauliflower is browned to your liking, remove it from the skillet and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the remaining butter and olive oil to the skillet. Once melted, add more fresh ground pepper and crushed red pepper.  Once the garlic has softened, add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Add the pasta, tossing to coat. Turn off the heat and toss in the cauliflower. Add the beaten eggs and parmesan and gently toss until coated.  The eggs shouldn’t scramble, but rather thicken into a silky sauce consistency from the retained heat. Add more pasta water if needed to achieve your desired consistency.

Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and serve with additional parmesan grated on top.

* Cutting the cauliflower into slices gives you nice, flat surfaces for browning.  

** As mentioned in the original recipe, you really should try to use fresh, local eggs rather than commercial ones. As a vegetarian, this is a cause near and dear to my heart, since laying hens are treated just about as poorly as any other animal out there in a big commercial farm setting. “Free-range” is better, but it doesn’t always mean what you imagine it to, so try to pick up eggs from the farmer’s market or another local source if you can.

Cauliflower mac and cheese

I’m kind of a mac and cheese junkie. I’m sure that comes as no surprise, since this is probably the fifth variation of the classic dish I’ve posted here. I do like to come up with new twists, though, and if the twist is healthy, so much the better!

I came across this Jamie Oliver recipe for cauliflower mac and cheese a while back, and it has become a staple in our weeknight rotation, especially when we have lots of cauliflower to use. It has a great, sharp flavor and a creamy sauce, and the cauliflower actually adds a lot to it. I thought it sounded kind of weird at first, but I’m a convert.


I used romanesco for this particular batch, but you can use any kind of cauliflower, or you can even modify the recipe to use other veggies.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Original recipe from Jamie’s Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver, with my modifications

half a head of cauliflower*
8 oz. cheddar cheese, plus additional for topping
4 oz. parmesan cheese
small bunch of Italian parsley**
1 lb. dried macaroni
1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
garlic powder

Remove the outer green leaves from the cauliflower and discard. Slice the end off the cauliflower stalk and cut the head into small florets. Halve the thick stalk lengthways, then slice thinly. Grate the cheddar and parmesan into a large heat-proof bowl. Finely chop the parsley stalks and leaves.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cauliflower and cook according to the macaroni package instructions. Drain, reserving the cooking water,*** and transfer to a large bowl.

Return the water to a boil (tip some out if you need to for the bowl to fit) and place the bowl of cheese over the saucepan. Add the crème fraîche or sour cream and a sprinkle of garlic powder. Carefully stir every so often until the cheese is smooth and melted. If the water boils up beneath the bowl, just turn the heat down slightly. Add all the chopped parsley to the melted cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Carefully remove the bowl of cheese using and oven mitt and set aside. Drain pan, reserving about a cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan, pour in the melted cheese, and stir.

Preheat the broiler. Add a splash of the reserved cooking water to the macaroni, stir in, then transfer to a baking dish. Top with a generous sprinkle of cheddar cheese and place under the broiler until golden and bubbling.

* Or a small-ish head of cauliflower, or just make a double batch with a whole head.

** I just skip this if I don’t have it on hand, but it does add iron!

*** The easiest way to do this is to use a pasta pot with an insert you can pull out, but you can also drain into a colander set over a large bowl and then dump the water back into the pot.

Team work!

Pasta with walnuts and ricotta salata is one of my favorite uses of cauliflower. I had never had ricotta salata before I first tried this recipe, but it is a great cheese — mild, crumbly and salty. It pairs so well with the crisp cauliflower, onions, and toasted walnuts. This dish is great with any kind of cauliflower, and I love that it can be put together in just a few minutes, especially if you do the prep work in advance.

We had this for dinner the other night with a salad of butter lettuce and breakfast radishes from our CSA — yum!

Hello, my lovelies.

Hubby and I split up the duties, since it was kind of a hectic evening (but what weeknight isn’t nowadays?). I chopped everything and cooked the pasta, and then he took over the cooking and put it all together. That’s what I call team work!

Dinner is served.

As far as I’m concerned, this is pretty much the ideal weeknight meal. Try it out — I think you’ll like it!

I’m always looking for new ideas, so… what’s your favorite weeknight meal?

Cauliflower Pasta with Walnuts and Ricotta Salata
Original recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters, with my modifications

1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 white onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for tossing the pasta
1/2 pound whole wheat pasta (I like angel hair or spaghetti, but fettuccine is fine, too)
salt and pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
white wine vinegar
lemon juice
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
4 ounces ricotta salata cheese

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat and add the cauliflower. When the cauliflower begins to soften, season with salt and pepper and add the onion and red pepper flakes.

Sauté until the onion is soft and a little golden brown, and the cauliflower is crisp-tender with some brown spots. Add the garlic and remove from the heat, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add a splash each of vinegar and lemon juice and the toasted walnuts. Taste and correct the seasoning.

When the pasta is done, drain and add to the vegetables, adding enough olive oil to coat the pasta thoroughly. Toss together, and serve with the cheese crumbled over the dish.

Gemelli with romanesco

Romanesco is one of my favorite veggies, in large part just because it looks cool.


Depending on whom you ask, it’s either a type of cauliflower or a type of broccoli. Its milder flavor makes it pretty interchangeable with cauliflower, which is great, because I have lots of great ways to use cauliflower! It’s a pretty versatile veggie, and can serve as the basis for many a meal, which is a good thing, because we almost always get some variety of cauliflower in our weekly CSA box.

This week I decided to try a couple of new uses for the romanesco in our box. We got a couple of heads of it, since they were small-ish, so I mixed one in with some broccoli in a new batch of broccoli cheddar bites for Nora, and one I used for dinner last night, tossed with some pasta, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes,and crushed red pepper, and topped with grated pecornio romano.


It was delicious. Next time I think I’d use tomato paste to liven up the flavor instead of actual tomatoes, but since we had plenty of tomatoes sitting on the counter and were actually out of tomato paste*, one chopped tomato plus a handful of cherry tomatoes worked fine. Since we’re at the tail end of tomato season anyway, I’ve modified the recipe accordingly.

* Drat. Time for a trip to the grocery store. I always try to keep a tube of tomato paste in the fridge for occasions like this, which is oh-so-convenient and much less wasteful than the cans (of which I alwaysend up using less than half at a time).

Gemelli with Romanesco
Based on the pasta described in this article

1 head of romanesco, cut into small florets
6-8 oz. dried gemelli (or other small pasta like ditalini)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed*
pinch dried red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp tomato paste
grated pecornio romano for serving

Boil the romanesco in a large pot of salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove from the heat and rinse under cold water; set aside. Bring the same water back to a boil and cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat and sauté the garlic and red pepper for a minute or two. Add the tomato paste and cook briefly, and then stir in the romanesco. Cook, stirring, until tender and a little golden in places. Turn off the heat and stir in the pasta with a splash of the pasta water. Toss, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with plenty of grated pecorino romano.

*Confession time: I love the packaged minced garlic you can buy in the produce department at Whole Foods. It’s just as good, since it’s fresh rather than canned, and mincing garlic is easily one of my least favorite cooking tasks.

Purple pasta

Well, sort of purple. There was a moment when I took the purple cauliflower out of the water (which was also to be used for cooking the pasta) that I was worried it would be really purple, but it left just a hint of color.

Not so purple, but tasty!

To be sure, the purple cauliflower was the star of this dish, but, purple or not, capellini with cauliflower was a lovely dinner, and plenty easy enough for a weeknight. Just my kind of recipe, especially when we keep getting purple cauliflower in our CSA box, so one has to be creative!

Capellini with Cauliflower
Based on this recipe

8 oz. capellini
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
1-2 bulbs of fennel, thinly sliced, along with a couple of fronds, chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
generous handful of salted capers, rinsed
bread crumbs
1 Tbsp butter
garlic powder (if desired)
shredded Pecorino Romano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender-crisp (5-7 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook the pasta in the same water according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat 1-2 Tbsps olive oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté fennel and onions until softened. Turn heat down to medium low and continue to cook, stirring, until golden brown and caramelized.

Turn the heat up to medium high, push the fennel and onion to the side of the pan and add a bit more olive oil to the center. Once the oil is hot, add the capers and cook briefly, until they “bloom” and become a little crispy.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet and add the bread crumbs. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Add garlic powder to taste.

Add pasta and cauliflower to the pan with fennel, onion and capers and toss. Add olive oil if needed. Serve pasta with plenty of bread crumbs and cheese.

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