16 Cauliflower Recipes You'll Crave On Repeat

Cauliflower is essentially broccoli in ghost form. It evades the criticism its green cousin is relentlessly subjected to both in pop culture and on children's plates. It can also brazenly dethrone age-old favorites like potatoes and rice without causing a stir, as suggested by the growing popularity of cauliflower rice. Besides rice, the cruciferous vegetable can also be roasted, boiled, baked, mashed, fried, or grilled. It lends a creaminess to dishes that don't contain an ounce of anything you'd typically consider creamy, which makes it worthy of a serious culinary spotlight. 

Cauliflower is quite simply unbeatable as a plant-based diner's best friend or as a savvy chef's secret weapon. Plus, it tastes pretty darn good when coated in cheese. We've rounded up some of the best and easiest cauliflower recipes sure to convert the nay-sayers and elicit applause from those who have already saved a spot on their plate for this truly versatile cruciferous vegetable.

1. Cauliflower Au Gratin

We love just about anything smothered in cheese, including au gratin. Not that cauliflower needs to be elevated, but smothering it in silky Gruyere cheese sauce is certainly one way to do it. Top with parmesan and bake for a delicious side dish that'll warm you up after a wintery commute home from the office. We recommend pairing it with a hearty serving of your protein of choice and steamed greens.

Recipe: Cauliflower Au Gratin

2. Simple Mashed Cauliflower

You don't mess with a mash, and we're doubtful any sort would transcend the archetypal potato variety — which will forever remain the greatest side of all time. Then again, you can never really have too much mash. 

So when we're feeling like stepping into the low-carb territory, we'll grab a spoon and dig into this simple mashed cauliflower recipe. We can assure you that you won't be disappointed if you try it at home.

Recipe: Simple Mashed Cauliflower

3. Crispy Cauliflower Parmesan

Take chicken Parmesan and make it plant-based. This cruciferous take on a classic is crispier and lighter than the original, with palate-pleasing pizza notes brought by the mozzarella, Parmesan, and marinara sauce topping. It's a dish that'll satisfy meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. 

You'll first want to dredge your cauliflower with panko and fry it. Then, douse it with sauce and cheese and bake it in the oven. In about 30 minutes, you'll be living the cauliflower dream.

Recipe: Crispy Cauliflower Parmesan

4. Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Can mac and cheese still be mac and cheese without the pasta? Yes, it can. Enter roasted cauliflower florets in a three-cheese cream sauce adorned with spicy hot sauce. Macaroni, who? 

Once you've mixed the cheese sauce and the florets, put it into the oven to get the cheese perfectly gooey. It's a simple yet highly satisfying veggie-filled side dish ready for its appearance on a plate near you.

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese

5. Super-Simple Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is much easier to make than most people expect. In fact, when armed with a food processor, it's more a practice of using your appliance than actually cooking. All you need to do is hack away at your florets on a cutting board until they're small enough to fit in a food processor affixed with a grating blade. Press start and watch in amazement as your cauliflower gets riced. 

Recipe: Super-Simple Cauliflower Rice

6. Spicy Chicago-Style Giardiniera

It pays to have a jar of Chicago-style giardiniera kicking around in the fridge at all times. The central ingredient is cauliflower, but you'll also find carrots, bell peppers, jalapeños, serrano peppers, and other aromatics. Whip up a spicy brine to pour over the chopped vegetables, and leave it in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. Typically, it's a topping for beef sandwiches, but you really can add it to just about anything.

Recipe: Spicy Chicago-Style Giardiniera

7. Cauliflower Potato Soup

Vegetable soup deserves more credit. It's too easily skimmed over when it appears alongside more dazzling dishes on a fancy menu. In this particular showstopper, cauliflower, potato, and onion are roasted until soft and fragrant. Next, they're blended with stock and a bay leaf and garnished with crispy bacon bits, chives, and fried onions that will leave you wanting more and make you rethink what vegetable soup can be.

Recipe: Cauliflower Potato Soup

8. Grilled Cauliflower with Tahini and Sumac

You'll love this recipe if you don't have time to chop florets. Fortunately, cauliflower is even better when you grill the whole head in one go. Plus, it makes for a great grilled "brain" recipe for Halloween. 

This recipe is the definition of minimal effort for maximum reward — and it's easy to prep and have on the table in under an hour. Whip up a citrus-spiked spiced tahini and herb sauce, slather it over the vegetable, and grill it. 

Recipe: Grilled Cauliflower with Tahini and Sumac

9. Cheesy Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Another excellent cauliflower soup variation arises from blending cauliflower with cheddar cheese and potatoes. It's nothing short of a winning flavor trifecta. 

This soup is the perfect blend of vitamin-rich and comforting ingredients. You'll feel very smug sprinkling croutons and a handful of fresh thyme on top for good measure. We love that it's a soup that's equally tasty if it's made with frozen cauliflower. With a smidgen of foresight, you can feast on this one all year round.

Recipe: Cheesy Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

10. Vegan Cauliflower and Green Bean Casserole

For an inclusive and no less delicious take on a celebrated Thanksgiving side dish, look no further than this vegan cauliflower and green bean casserole. There are undoubtedly more nutrient-dense ingredients than the classic staple side smothered in fried onions. You'll notice a top-tier umami quality shines through, thanks to mushrooms and tahini, which marry beautifully with the creaminess of the cauliflower and the homemade crunchy onion topping.

Recipe: Vegan Cauliflower and Green Bean Casserole

11. Beef and Cauliflower Cottage Pie

Dare to shake up a British staple by topping beef cottage pie with mashed cauliflower. Potato-topped pie is dreamy as is, but that isn't to say a beef casserole filling under a soft blanket of cruciferous mash doesn't also deserve a place on the table.

Mix butter, garlic powder, and Irish-aged cheddar into your mashed cauliflower for a potato-rivaling topping. It'll have diners questioning their culinary allegiances.

Recipe: Beef and Cauliflower Cottage Pie

12. Creamy-Yet-Vegan Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup

Everybody has the right to a creamy, soul-nourishing soup — vegans included. This plant-based roasted garlic cauliflower iteration is sure to deliver for all eaters. It's free from commonly used ingredients like animal-based stocks, cheese, and cream.

Instead, the combination of blended roasted cauliflower, soy milk, and vegetable broth makes this silky, 100% plant-based number a favorite. And it isn't without a hearty protein boost, either; a topping of roasted chickpeas makes this a nicely balanced meal and ensures you stay fuller for longer.

Recipe: Creamy-Yet-Vegan Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup

13. Cauliflower Rice Risotto

When you find a solid risotto recipe, you're going to want to add it to your weekly rotation, stat. The most surprising thing about this risotto recipe is that there isn't a single grain of rice.

Plus, it's a lot faster to cook than traditional rice-based risotto, which is welcomed in any fast-paced lifestyle. Nutritional yeast also comes into its own and imparts a cheesy goodness that makes this dish delightfully complex.

Recipe: Cauliflower Rice Risotto

14. Cauliflower Fried Rice

Surely, the best test of whether faux rice has successfully managed to mimic its muse is to create one of the most stripped-back yet flavourful rice dishes of all time. With fried rice there's nowhere to hide — either the cauliflower is going to sink or sing. And we can guarantee this recipe will have you singing, too. 

Bust out the work because it's time to put cauliflower rice to the ultimate test. Combine the riced veggie with a good lot of seasonal vegetables, then get saucy with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, and sambal. Top it off with an egg and fried bacon, then judge away.

Recipe: Cauliflower Fried Rice

15. Cauliflower Soup with Glazed Almonds and Marjoram

Now here's a powerful soup combination you might not have seen coming: cauliflower, glazed almonds, and marjoram. Ground cumin, raw organic white sugar, and salt come together for the almond glaze, while onions and orange zest simultaneously bring an earthy and light quality to the cauliflower base.

This soup will surely raise a few eyebrows. However, it will inevitably be followed by slurps and requests for a second helping. 

Recipe: Cauliflower Soup with Glazed Almonds and Marjoram

16. Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl

For a Mex-cellent take on cauliflower, burrito bowls are where it's at. First, you'll need a rainbow's worth of peppers, plus the staple duo of onion and garlic and a mouthwatering seasoning blend of cumin, salt, chili powder, lime juice, and salsa.

This recipe also calls for a homemade tahini-sriracha sauce, along with quintessential components like black beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, and sliced avocado. Just don't forget the cauliflower rice under all that goodness. 

Recipe: Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl