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Keeping It Crunchy

As a kid, I never liked cauliflower. What kid really does? It was served only one way — steamed to the supreme, which meant a colorless, bland, mushy mess on my plate! I’m a true believer that (some) tastes reside in texture, and they change as you mature, especially with the diversity of preparation. I think THAT is what makes all the difference in the world. So, I kept trying cauliflower over and over again with various spices or sauces, but underneath was still the same limp, lifeless vegetable…until I learned that for me, it’s all about the crunch. It turns out that I’m a part of the ‘crunchy‘ crowd!

Thin & Crunchy 'Caulipizza'

Thin & Crunchy ‘Caulipizza’

My first inkling that cauliflower could be a crispy, crusty, culinary delight came when I found a recipe that used it as the crust of a pizza! Mama mia, what an idea! I LOVE pizza, but always thought of it as full of bad carbs…as in 31g of carbs / per 100g in traditional pizza crust. But, I tried the cauliflower pizza crust, and topped it with a variety of veggies, and it was “fantastico” (and only 5g of carbs / per 100g)! Here’s the recipe I based my crust on. It was so “fantastico” that I not only served it to my husband as a ‘diet’ food, but also to my neighbors who dropped by for a casual happy hour that needed some interesting hors d’oeuvres, AND another time, to a dear friend who *thought* she was coming to a full-on dinner party. Everyone was super surprised to learn that the main event of the evening was “crusty cauliflower pizza”!

The marital mustard version

The marital mustard version

Me too! I wanted to find other ways of preparing cauliflower that could yield that crispy, crunchy, creative taste. That’s when I started using my head, and found a recipe for roasting an entire head of cauliflower! I love this idea since the whole vegetable is covered with a variety of spices and flavors that make this vegetable come to life! The recipe is simple, and can be modified in lots of ways to suit your taste. I actually combined 2 different recipes to create mine. After all, they say two heads are better than one. 🙂 Mustard is about the spiciest flavor I can get my husband to eat, so I added a couple of big dollops of whole grain mustard to a yogurt coating, sprinkled in some garlic and paprika, and topped it off with a dusting of parmesan cheese. But for next time, I’m thinking of packing it full of chili powder, serving it up with a big green salad, and having my gal pals over for a “Hot Girls’ Night In”! That will be a lot closer to the original recipe I adapted here.

Whether you lay it down as a foundation, or you keep your head up, get crunchy with it! Variety may be the spice of life, but crunchy is the true texture of life!

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Sonya Shannon February 19, 2015, 1:52 am

    Kristina! This is the COOLEST article EVER!! I, too, hated cauliflower. When I saw your recipes for cauliflower pizza crust and roasted cauliflower, my appetite was whet! Gonna try them both. Thank you so much for showing us how to transform a bland, white vegetable into a gourmet feast 😉

    • Kristina February 19, 2015, 2:30 am

      Hi Sonya,
      Glad you liked the article. Yeah, who knew cauliflower could be so deliciously diverse! It really plays into my motto, ” why leave something ordinary if you can make it extraordinary”. I have a few more recipes I want to try out, so stay tuned…more cauli-concoctions coming soon!

  • Sabrina Hamble February 19, 2015, 4:03 am

    All sounds delish; but I must confess, I do love just a big pile of the plain ol steamed stuff; however, it is best when it is at least half “crunchy…”oh, and a big ol mound of cheese sauce doesn’t hurt either! Lol!
    A recipe you must try is “Poor Man’s Shrimp.” Healthy, it’s not, but if you fry your cauliflower after coating it in a tempura batter and dip it in cocktail sauce, it tastes an awful lot like shrimp! Anything to avoid the fishy mushy shrimp often forced upon us in the mid-west. Just sayin.

  • Kristina February 19, 2015, 9:27 am

    Hey Sabrina,
    Thanks for reading and sharing a new idea! I will definitely try the Poor Man’s Shrimp! Tempura batter is a slam dunk here in Japan! I’ll leave the cheesy dish to you!

  • Holly February 20, 2015, 1:19 pm

    Thanks for the creative ideas for cooking with cauliflower! For years I have always enjoyed making the veggie sides and the salads at my house partly because I can graze on the raw stuff during preparation. The problem has been serving veggies for company; I often worry about how to make it appetizing for guests. Your ideas have given me a boost of confidence. Thanks so much. I especially like the low carb pizza crust alternative. Danny and I most always replace pasta and rice with broccoli or cauliflower. It would be fun to try doing the same with pizza. Thank you! We’re excited!

    • Kristina February 20, 2015, 1:40 pm

      Hi Holly!
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Yes, I thought you might like these healthy eats! I’ve found some more, too. Let’s put together a veggie-fest this spring!

      • Holly February 20, 2015, 10:24 pm

        Yes, count me in on the veggie fest! I would love to help out in the preparations. I love that kind of thing! Eating is just one part of the fun.

  • CauliHolly February 22, 2015, 4:29 pm

    Hey Kristina!

    I’d like to try the cauliflower recipe while here in the States. The ovens here make it easy! What do you use in Japan? The broiler or convection microwave?

    • Kristina February 23, 2015, 1:43 am

      I just use our little convection microwave. It has a pan that fits in as a middle rack, which is perfect for the pizza. However, it made the top of the whole cauliflower a little bit dark. Have fun with it there in the states, and bring us back a “real oven” will ya? 🙂

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