The Best Simple Cauliflower Substitutes

cauliflower substitutes

No cauliflower in the house? Or just not a fan? No problems! Here are my favourite cauliflower substitutes.

What is Cauliflower?

It’s a unique vegetable that’s part of the brassica family. And while it’s just as nutritious as broccoli and kale, it has the advantage of being white in colour – perfect for anyone who distrusts green vegetables!

The popularity of cauliflower has dramatically increased in recent years. It’s a super versatile low carb vegetable that works in place of rice or even mashed potatoes.

The Best Cauliflower Substitutes

1. Broccoli

Broccoli can be substituted anywhere you’d normally have cauli. It’s easily my number 1. choice when I’m looking for an alternative to cauliflower.

The texture and shape is an excellent match, but the colour of course will be dramatically greener. The flavour of broccoli is stronger as well. Which may or may not be a good thing.

2. Zucchini (Courgettes)

With it’s mild flavour, zucchini can be an excellent replacement for cauli in everything. It’s especially fab sliced and roasted but is also delicious grated to make a zucchini ‘rice’.

The thing to watch out with zucchini is that the moisture content is much higher than cauliflower. So it can be helpful to sprinkle over a little salt and let the zucchini stand a few minutes to remove some of the moisture before using your zucchini ‘rice’ or sliced zucchini.

3. Root Vegetables

For roast cauliflower dishes, diced root vegetables work well as cauliflower substitutes. Most root veg will take a little longer to cook so be prepared to adjust cooking times.

Think sweet potato, potatoes, rutabaga, swede, turnip, celeriac (celery root) or parsnip.

The other thing with root veg is they tend to be much higher carb than cauliflower.

4. Cabbage

Cabbage won’t work in all cauliflower recipes like cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza or cauliflower mash. However cooked cabbage can work in other cauliflower recipes. Just slice the cabbage instead of chopping into florettes like you would for cauli and be prepared to adjust the cooking time as needed. Cabbage will generally cook faster than cauliflower.

How to Prepare Cauliflower

So many options! Like all vegetables, being generous with salt helps tone down the bitter flavours of cauliflower and makes them taste so much better.

Roast Cauliflower

My favourite favourite way to cook cauliflower. Just chop into bite sized florettes (little trees) and slice the stems. Then toss in a little oil and place in a baking dish. Roast at 220C (430F) for 20-25 minutes or until cauliflower is well browned and tender. I usually give it a stir after the first 15 minutes.

Cauliflower ‘Rice’

Just grate the cauliflower using a box grater or food processor so it resembles little grains of rice. Then with serve it at room temperature anywhere you’d normally use steamed rice. OR warm it in a pan with a little oil.

Cauliflower ‘Pizza’

Not exactly the same as real pizza, this cauli version makes for a delicious dinner and can be a great way to introduce people to the joys of this humble veg.

Mashed Cauliflower

Just simmer cauli in water or coconut milk until tender. Drain, add some butter, then puree using your stick blender or food processor. If it’s too dry add a little water, milk or cream.

Try this cheesey mash if you want a close match to traditional mash. Or this version with cashew and coconut milk for a dairy-free mash.

How to Store Cauliflower

I keep it wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge. Will keep for 2-3 weeks like this, depending on how fresh your cauliflower is when you bought it.

I have had organic cauli from the farmers market last for 4 weeks but this is rare!

When is Cauliflower in Season?

Cauliflower is available year round, but it’s best during the cooler months.

Favourite Cauliflower Recipes

Delicious Cauliflower Substitutes Flavour Pairings

  • Bacon & Cauliflower
  • Butter (and Browned Butter) & Cauliflower
  • Cheese & Cauliflower
  • Cashews & Cauliflower
  • Almonds & Cauliflower
  • Blue Cheese & Cauliflower
  • Sage & Cauliflower
  • Curry Powder & Cauliflower
  • Smoked Paprika & Cauliflower

More Ingredient Substitutes

Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

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