What do I do with leftover cauliflower?


I have had that same problem.  Most recipes I use only require half a head of cauliflower!  I had to come up with a way to use that other half.

This is a recipe I called “Stewed Vegetables,” for lack of a better name.  It’s not very sexy or descriptive, but it serves my purpose because it changes based on what I have to use up in my refrigerator.  It always has cauliflower and a TON of greens, but other than that, it’s up in the air.  The basic steps are:

  • par boil/blanch diced up “harder” veggies (potatoes, cauliflower, collard greens, etc) if they aren’t already cooked
  • cook beans or lentils if they’re not already cooked (optional)
  • heat up stock, and if you don’t have any, reserve water from blanching greens
  • sauté fresh herbs (or bloom dried herbs and spices) in butter or ghee  in a large pan (I use a 14.5″ diameter pan which is ridiculous, but hey, we eat a lot)
  • add chopped onions to the pan and sauté over medium heat until translucent
  • add some salt and freshly ground pepper (don’t add salt if you’re using chard as your green – I find it quite salty)
  • if there’s still some moisture / oil in the pan, throw in the beans or lentils if you have them, if not, throw them in after the stock
  • Add stock / reserved blanching water
  • continue to cook, uncovered, to desired “stew” consistency.
  • NOTE: if you have rice or quinoa you want to use up, just throw that in at the end to heat it up (you don’t want to overcook them).  My favorite herb to use is sage and my favorite “hard” veggies are cauliflower, collards and Japanese sweet potatoes.
I like this dish so much, sometimes I'll make it from scratch if I don't have the right leftovers.  Here's my mise en place, so show relative amounts of each basic ingredient.

I like this dish so much, sometimes I’ll make it from scratch if I don’t have the right leftovers. Here’s my mise en place, to show relative amounts of each basic ingredient.

Stewed Veggies

A version with Sage, Cauliflower, Red Chard, Japanese Sweet Potato and Chicken Bone Broth.

This dish works really well with curry and chick peas as well.  Just make sure you bloom the curry in plenty of butter/ghee before you put the onions in.  That’s a very important step!

Here is another, earlier post of mine regarding the use of leftover vegetables.  Lastly, another great way to use leftover cauliflower (I wish this recipes was mine, but it isn’t) is Nom Nom Paleo’s Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice (it has no rice!).

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4 Responses to What do I do with leftover cauliflower?

  1. aimzilla says:

    I learn so much from your blog! Though sometimes it’s learning how much I don’t know. What is “blooming” curry? I’m guessing this isn’t just to emphasize how good (or bad) the bloomin’ curry may be.

    • syntk says:

      Thank you, Amy! You “bloom” spices by cooking them in a fat (I prefer butter myself) before you add anything else in. It intensifies the flavor. However, there’s another reason, that none of the cooking sites (that I’ve seen, anyway) talk about, and basically, blooming turmeric (specifically) in a fat gives it a lipid coating which increases it’s bioavailability and (maybe?) helps the active ingredient (curcumin) cross the blood/brain barrier. I don’t have a source that I can link to right this moment, but the way I found out about it was talking to Dr. Kidd (see this post) late in 2012. We were talking about dementia, the prevention of it, and the aging brain and he was talking about how important curcumin is, but how it has to be in a lipid layer and I told him about how I cook with turmeric a lot and always bloom it in the beginning of cooking, and he thought that was a great idea (not like I gave him the idea — the guy’s a genius with this stuff — he was just commenting that that was the right thing to do) to increase the chances of it getting into the cells. I’m trying to remember a random conversation from months ago, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he was saying. As always, don’t take my word for it. Just use my words for the ideas and make sure you confirm for yourself. I’ll try to look for a source.

  2. Great suggestion! I love it! We are definitely going to try this!

  3. […] diet.  I had a bunch of leftover veggies and pesto, and this is what happened. (BTW: here’s another post on making something out of leftover […]

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