Cauliflower Power! 10 Kid-Friendly Ways to Cook With Cauliflower

Photo by Kristin Duvall / Stocksy United
Photo by Kristin Duvall / Stocksy United

In winter, when fresh veggies can be slim pickins’, the mighty cauliflower shines brightly! Cook it up and you get a crave-worthy flavor profile that ranges from subtly sweet to scrumptiously nutty—cauliflower can also provide great texture in recipes, from a silky creaminess when puréed to a hearty, meat-like feel when roasted or sautéed. It comes in cool-looking shades of purple, orange, and green, but the standard “pay no attention to the veggies you’re eating” white hue may be your best bet for feeding the Pre-K set.

If you aren’t convinced, here’s another reason to give cauliflower a starring role in your menu: It’s a nutritional superhero.

A member of the Brassica family (along with broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens), cauliflower is packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, fiber, protein (yes, really), omega-3s, a squad of antioxidants, choline (which aids in brain development!), and oodles more. It also promotes digestion, helps reduce inflammation—and it makes a mean grilled cheese!

Here are 10 of our favorite kid-friendly ways to give this cute cruciferous veggie a go:

1. Gooey Grilled Cheese 

Just take one look at this gorgeous, gluten-free, cauliflower-crusted cheese sandwich by the foodie blog Kirbie’s Cravings, and you’ll be a believer. Digging the “cauliflower instead of bread” concept? Kirbie’s has a whole section for cauliflower, which includes tempting creations like hamburger bunspizza crusttortillas, and waffles

Photo by Helen Rushbrook/Stocksy United
Photo by Helen Rushbrook/Stocksy United

2. “Fooled Ya” Fried Rice

It’s truly shocking how well grated cauliflower works in place of rice. You can make your own with a food processor, blender, or even a box grater—or find bags of it ready to go at grocery stores. Serve this fun cauliflower fried “rice” from Skinnytaste and we bet your kids won’t suspect a thing.

3. Tasty Tots

You may want to nix the spicy Sriracha (and chives, if your kids loathe green things), but otherwise these cheesy baked cauliflower tots from Delish will give their less-healthy fried potato counterparts a run for the money. 

4. Simply Hearty Spaghetti

Roasted cauliflower is a delish (and healthier!) stand-in for ground beef in this super easy spaghetti dish from the New York Times, featuring kid-favorites olives and cheese. In a pinch, we’ve even used jarred red sauce and it was still excellent!

5. Masterful Mash

This cauliflower-based, mock garlic mashed “potatoes” from the Food Network is comfort food at its best. 

Photo by Lumina/Stocksy United
Photo by Lumina/Stocksy United

6. Freaky-Fast Soup

You got home late and everyone’s starving? This creamy cauliflower soup from the Super Healthy Kids® blog is ready to eat in 10 minutes tops.

7. A Better Mac

Switch out some—or all—of the noodles in your favorite baked macaroni and cheese recipe for cauliflower florets, and younger palates won’t know the difference. They may even like it better! We’re digging (into) Michelle Obama’s version with pasta and this Food Network casserole sans noodles.

8. Cover-Worthy Savory Cake

Okay, so this elegant entrée cake is more for the adults, but it’s just so darn pretty. From the pages of the best-selling vegetarian Plenty More cookbook by London chef Yotam Ottolenghi, this purple-and-gold dish is a surefire way to impress your friends.

9. Decadent Chocolate Cake!

Yup, cauliflower has a sweet side, too—and it’s the secret ingredient behind the amazingly soft, moist texture of this frosted treat from the popular healthier-dessert blog Chocolate Covered Katie.

Photo by Lior + Lone / Stocksy United
Photo by Lior + Lane/Stocksy United

10. Glorious Cheesecake

Okay, using cauliflower in desserts (with an end result that’s actually delicious) is so awesome that we had to include two! This cheese-less strawberry cheesecake from The Healthy Foodie blog will make you forget all about the soggy winter weather.

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