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What goes well with cauliflower? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and other helpful tips.
First things first though.
What is Cauliflower?
Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable family along with arugula, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, horseradish, kale, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, watercress, and wasabi.
Although the most common color is white, cauliflower can also be green, purple, and orange.
Raw cauliflower has a firm yet spongy texture and a slightly sulfurous/bitter flavor.
To get the best flavor, it’s all about how you cook and prepare it.
How to Cut & Cook Cauliflower
What to look for
Look for clean white heads with crisp green leaves.
How to Cut
1. Turn the cauliflower upside down and cut around the stem with a chef knife or pairing knife to remove the leaves.
2. Move the knife in a circular manner around the core until it’s loose enough to pop it out.
3. Now you can easily break off the florets with your hands. To get them into smaller pieces, slice through the bottom of the florets (starting with the stem). This will help your florets keep their shape instead of getting lots of crumbly bits.
How to cook: Cauliflower can be boiled, braised, deep-fried, pureed, roasted, riced, sautéed, simmered, steamed, or even eaten raw.
Best time to buy cauliflower
The peak season for cauliflower is autumn and winter, but they’re available year-round. Peep the seasonal produce guide to see what else is in season right now.
Although cauliflower can be eaten raw, most people have a better time digesting it when it’s cooked. (The taste also improves because it takes on whatever flavors you season it with.)
Reduce your food waste by saving the leaves after removing them. Use them in a stir-fry or breakfast hash.
Check out more tips on reducing food waste here.
What Ingredients Go Well With Cauliflower?
Bell peppers (esp. green), broccoli, garlic, ginger, leeks, onions (esp. green & red), potatoes (esp. red), scallions (same as green onion), shallots, and watercress.
Apples, lemon, lime, orange, and tomato.
Cardamom, celery seeds, chile peppers (dried), coriander, cumin, curry powder, garam masala, ginger (dried or fresh), mustard seeds, nutmeg, paprika, pepper (black & white), poppy seeds, red pepper flakes, saffron, salt (kosher & sea), truffle (white), and turmeric.
Bay leaf (dried is more commonly found in the US), chives, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley (flat-leaf) & Chervil (French parsley), tarragon, and thyme.
Nuts & Seeds
Brown butter, unsalted butter, cheese (cheddar, goat or parmesan), cream and milk, and yogurt.
Anchovies, caviar, eggs, mussels, and scallops.
Bread crumbs, capers, chili sauce, chocolate & cocoa*, currants (dried), dijon mustard, olive oil, olives (black and green), pasta, raisins, stock/broth, and vinegar (red wine or white wine).
*The chocolate and cocoa goes well with cauliflower once the vegetable has been caramelized.
Popular Cauliflower Ingredient Pairings
For dairy-free cream use cashew, oat, or canned coconut cream.
- anchovies + red pepper flakes + garlic + olive oil
- bread crumbs + brown butter + parsley
- cilantro + cloves + cumin + turmeric
- cream + sorrel (leafy green)
- curry + apple
- curry + vinegar
- garlic + mint + pasta
- pine nuts + lime
Cauliflower is an incredibly versatile ingredient and is common in Mediterranean, French, and Indian cuisine.
What to Make with Cauliflower
- Creamy cauliflower mash (dairy-free, vegan)
- ‘Rice’ by adding it to a food processor and pulsing until you’re left with small pieces
- Bread and fry or bake similarly to how you’d do shrimp for a plant-based option
- Roast it with different spices
- Steam and freeze the florets to add to smoothies for a creamy texture
- Soup or curry