Ina Garten's Mess-Free Method For Cutting Cauliflower

To many vegan chefs, the prettiest flower might be cauliflower -– and we get it. Wendy Bazilian, a doctor of public health, praises cauliflower as a "nutritious chameleon," via Martha Stewart. Bazilian explains that the vegetable is rich in fiber and vitamin C, and its versatile texture, she says, makes it a fitting ingredient for many vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free recipes. Cauliflower steak is a hearty, satisfying meat substitute, and the vegetable also works in place of chicken for a meatless General Tso's. Cauliflower can even be a gluten-free option for homemade pizza crust.

Not only is the vegetable a superstar tool in the vegan chef's arsenal, it's also packed with an impressive array of health benefits. Cauliflower is rich in antioxidants, which help prevent inflammation and promote immune system health, per Healthline. Plus, one cup of chopped cauliflower only contains 5.3 grams of total carbs, according to Everyday Health, making it a good low-carb alternative to rice at 38 grams per cup, via Carb Manager.

The one drawback to making this vegetable a daily-rider at home is the preparation. A head of cauliflower seems to scatter all around the kitchen when you try to cut it. The flavor and health benefits are a major plus, but no home cook wants to deal with a post-meal mess. Luckily, the "Barefoot Contessa" has come to the rescue with a simple solution for avoiding cauliflower fallout.

Ina Garden advised home cooks to core the cauliflower before cutting

For a clean-cut cauliflower, Ina Garten says to flip the head upside-down on your cutting board, via Instagram. Then, using a large, sharp kitchen knife, core the cauliflower in a similar way to how you might core a strawberry. By carving out the cauliflower's stem in a circular motion, the florets fall freely from the head, eliminating the sporadic mess that often happens when you try carving into the cauliflower head-first. From there, says Garten, you can slice your loosened florets into whatever size you prefer.

If your recipe calls for a larger cut of cauliflower than a floret, try slicing your cauliflower into steaks. To do it, MasterClass recommends turning your cauliflower head on its side and chopping the stem cleanly off at the base. Then, slice the head in half, and slice those halves into filets that are roughly one-inch thick. With these tips, you'll be a cauliflower connoisseur of the contemporary kitchen in no time –- and with no mess.