Most likely, you’ve seen and heard all about cauliflower, but if you’ve never tried it or are hesitant if you’ll like it, I’m here to share what it tastes like.
By the end of this post, you’ll have a better idea of the flavor and how you can make it taste great -all coming from a mom to 3 kids who are not veggie lovers at first sight.
What is Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable belonging to the same family as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Cruciferous is just a class of veggies that have cabbage-like 4-petal leaves, and in the case of cauliflower, these are the ones you find on the outside.
Cauliflower is very nutritious, with 1 cup of florets having a whopping 85% of vitamin C and only 27 calories.
It’s also a great low-carb substitute for grains and makes a terrific low-carb side dish.
Cauliflower can be found in four colors: white, orange, purple, and light green, but most of us are familiar with the classic white cauliflower. Regardless of their color, all cauliflowers taste the same, which brings us to the main topic.
How Does Cauliflower Taste?
Plain, raw cauliflower has a mild, slightly nutty flavor that’s far from powerful.
Think of raw cauliflower as the veggie version of plain, cooked, canned white beans. They’re a little bland by themselves, right?
Roasting cauliflower will bring out the natural sweetness and give it a toasty flavor. Steaming it will maintain that neutral-ish flavor but soften the texture. Sauteeing cauliflower will soften the texture inside, give it a nice outer crispness, and take on the flavors you put on the pan, such as olive oil, seasonings, and garlic, for example.
The BEST part of cauliflower, regardless of how you cook it, is that it takes on the flavors of any dish or spice, which is why I’m telling you that you can make it taste GREAT!
What Tastes Similar to Cauliflower?
No veggie can replace the flavor or texture of cooked cauliflower, but if we had to choose one, it would be zucchini. Its mild flavor and ability to soak up the flavor are similar to cauliflower.
In fact, these reasons are why both zucchini and cauliflower made it into my infamous keto chili. They blend in with the meat and absorb all those chili spices and tomatoey broth!
A close second would be potatoes since a lot of people use cauliflower to make cauliflower mashed potatoes and they swear they taste nearly identical to classic dishes such as southern mashed potatoes.
Does Cauliflower Taste Better than Broccoli?
This is a personal opinion based on your tastes and preferences. Many people find that roasted cauliflower tastes better than broccoli, but when steamed and salted, broccoli is the winner.
What Spices Go Well With Cauliflower
The number of spices, seasonings, and herbs that make cauliflower taste even better is endless, but here are a few ideas to get you started. You’ll see a * next to my personal favorites.
- Curry powder*
- Italian Seasoning
- Taco Seasoning*
- Roasted Vegetable Seasoning*
- Creole Seasoning
- Sriracha Seasoning Blend
How to Season Cauliflower
How you choose to prepare cauliflower determines how it should be seasoned. If roasting, you’ll toss it with a neutral oil, choice of seasoning, and salt (if not already included in the seasoning blend.)
If you’re steaming, it’s best to keep the seasonings simple since spices and herbs need to be cooked; otherwise, their flavor will be overpowering and possibly bitter.
How to Prepare Cauliflower
Below are different ideas to cook cauliflower in a way that will have everyone asking for second helpings. Each method includes a brief description of the overall flavor and a recipe to test it out. Happy cooking!
1. Cauliflower Rice
You can make cauliflower rice in several ways, notably with a food processor and a cheese grater. Cooking cauliflower rice is often done on the stovetop (my preferred method) or the microwave.
Taste: if you sauté cauliflower rice, it will have a buttery flavor. Cauliflower rice steamed and lightly salted will be super tender but not as flavorful due to its high moisture content. You can also roast cauliflower rice, which makes a great base for low-carb burrito bowls.
Recipe to try: Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
2. Roasted Cauliflower
Turn the oven to 400F, place the cauliflower florets onto a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil and your choice of seasoning. Toss to coat the cauliflower and roast for 20 minutes or until golden brown and tender.
Taste: when it comes to cooking cauliflower, this method is the cream de le crop! It gives the florets a tender texture, with golden-crisp edges and caramelized flavor. 10/10- you should try.
Recipe to try: Roasted Curried Cauliflower
3. Steamed Cauliflower
Cut the cauliflower into florets and add it to a microwave-safe dish. Add about 1 inch of water to the dish, cover it with plastic wrap, and steam for 4 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
Taste: steamed cauliflower alone can be bland, but if you season it with butter (or olive oil), salt and pepper- it’s tender, savory, and almost melts in your mouth.
Recipe to try: Cauliflower Mac & Cheese