The humble cauliflower has gone from hero to zero, literally. But there are other trendy veggies to use in its place, says Sam Wylie-Harris.
Once a B-list veg – relegated largely to creamy cauliflower cheese – in recent years the cauli has risen to the ranks of prized side, and even as a star, main ingredient.
A head of the white stuff can be roasted whole, sliced into ‘steaks’ or even grated into ‘rice’. But thanks to our inclement climate, recent heavy rainfall and flooding, the extreme weather has damaged much of this year’s crops. While the heatwave hit European crops earlier in the summer.
So what’s a veggie lover to do? We’ve rounded up some tasty cauli stand-ins…
1. Carrots in white sauce
A cauliflower cheese substitute and childhood favourite, try carrots in a creamy white sauce (with a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley). A bowl of this is perfect with a Sunday roast – especially when it collides with crisp chicken and roast potatoes. We’d chuck parsnips in too.
2. Roasted Brussels sprouts
When it comes to size, admittedly sprouts aren’t a scene-stealer like a cauliflower steak. But a generous portion – nicely singed and caramelised around the edges – thinly sliced like you would a fillet steak, would give a cauli a run for its money.
3. Romanesco every way
Arguably the most dramatic of brassicas, the ornate buds of romanesco make for a great straight swap, no matter what kind of cauliflower dinner you’d been planning.
4. Broccoli zhuzhed up
Broccoli is a traditional cauliflower bedfellow, and can be eaten in almost identical ways. Switch florets for spears and spice them up with coriander and chillies if you’re feeling adventurous – broccoli develops a nuttiness roasted in the oven. Alternatively, dip into hummus as you would cauliflower – broccoli is far more nutritious eaten raw.
5. Aubergine curry
If your curry of choice is usually laden with cauliflower florets, may we recommend swapping them out for chunks of meltingly cooked aubergine instead? Or even potato? Just as nutritious, cheap and filling, but not weather dependent.