Fresh vegetables are always my first choice for meals and sides. If the produce I’ve purchased is past its prime, though, I often reach for the frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans I keep in my freezer. I love frozen veggies’ longer shelf life, and I also love that frozen produce can be as nutritious as the fresh stuff. In fact, when fruits and veggies are packaged and frozen immediately after they’re harvested, they retain all of their healthy nutrients. Neat, right?
A few weeks ago, I noticed I had a few too many bags of cauliflower in my freezer. To keep them from going to waste, I needed to use them. But I wanted to go beyond just steaming them and tossing them in a little butter and salt. What else can you do with frozen cauliflower? A lot, actually. I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen, and I’m excited to share a few of my favorite new frozen cauliflower recipes with you.
First, though, if you’re not very familiar with cauliflower, I want to tell you that it’s super good for you! Mild and crunchy when raw, it’s a member of the cruciferous veggie family, a class rich in nutrients such as cell-protective carotenoids and vitamins C and E. Studies on mice have suggested that some of the bioactive compounds created when you prepare and eat cruciferous veggies may protect against cancer, another nutrition win.
Ready to turn the cauliflower in your freezer into a dish you can’t wait to eat? Give one of the recipes below a try.
The secret to this soup’s creamy texture is pureed cauliflower, a swap that helps you get away with using less higher-fat dairy. To make this, you cook the cauliflower florets with the tomatoes until they’re very tender, and then puree. Couldn’t be easier.
Who knew frozen cauliflower could be a comfort food? Turns out that sautéed onions and garlic, chicken broth, a little Parmesan, and thyme can transform finely chopped cauliflower into a risotto-like side that’s lower in calories and carbs, but just as comforting and filling as the real thing.
These buffalo wing-inspired bites are addictive. Don’t be surprised if you discover you prefer these as much –– or more! –– over the pub food favorite you’ve probably eaten on game day. After baking, dress the crispy florets with a quick, lower-sodium wing sauce. Serve with celery and carrots.
CAROLYN WILLIAMS, PHD, RD