You'd be surprised what these frozen florets are capable of.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—fresh produce is always ideal. However, we are not perfect beings and we surely don’t live in a perfect world, so sometimes, frozen produce is just the way it goes. When it comes to our cruciferous friend, cauliflower, the sentiment remains the same. If you’ve got the time and money for fresh florets, then by all means, do that. At the same time, there’s plenty of delicious, easy options if a humble bag of frozen cauliflower is what is in the cards for you on any given day. We’re all doing our best here, and there is no shame in your frozen veggie game. Because simply steaming is definitely the most lackluster, unexciting way to prepare this understated freezer item, here are some clever ideas to make the most out your next bag.
Bring your frozen florets to a boil (in water, or stock for an extra kick of flavor) and let them cook until slightly softened. Drain them, add in some cheese, butter, sour cream, or whatever you might add to a mashed potato situation, and give the mixture a good mashing, or run it through a food processor. If you wanted, you could also incorporate some boiled potatoes for a stronger, starchier flavor/texture, and the kids will have no idea that they’re even eating vegetables. Wins all around!
Similar to the mashed cauliflower, but thinner! Start with sauteed onions, or whatever vegetables you want as the base of your soup (leeks would be nice), in a large pot; add stock/broth, and once the liquid is boiling, add your frozen cauliflower. Finish off the concoction with cream and grated Parmesan cheese (because, DUH), and serve as is, or blend it for a silky smooth consistency.
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Yes, it can be done! While it may not be ideal, remember, the world isn’t perfect and neither are our crucifers. Give the frozen florets a toss in some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them in a hot oven for 25 minutes or so. They’ll still achieve that crackly texture and golden-brown color like their fresh counterparts, but if you’re not entirely pleased with the final product, a sprinkling of grated Parmesan wouldn’t hurt (are you starting to notice a pattern with the cheese here?).
Warm, cheesy bakes aren’t all about the pasta, okay? Par-boil and drain the cauliflower before incorporating it into your casserole, and add whatever additional casserole components that tickle your fancy. Not only is this a great way to use up those loose odds and ends of frozen produce that you’ve got tucked away in your freezer, but it’s also a simple, easy way to introduce more vegetables into a comfort food dinner.
Anyone who tells you that frozen vegetables don’t work well in stir fries is wrong. It’s best to start by cooking your protein and then reserving it on a plate. Next up, get your wok or skillet super hot and toss in your frozen cauliflower (plus any other frozen veggies that you might desire). The hot surface will keep your veggies crisp as opposed to wet and soggy. Toss in some sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and any other aromatics to add a serious flavor kick to the whole dish.
Curries and Stews
For an easy, warm concoction that is just begging for an extra burst of veggies (they are all begging for it, trust me), consider tossing in some florets into your next curry or stew. The cauliflower will take on the flavor of the curry or stew without watering down the dish. Try this, and you may just find yourself seriously surprised at the wonders you can create in the kitchen without ever having to step foot in the produce aisle.