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I have to let you in on a little secret: Cauliflower has a superpower. The once unsung, bland vegetable is actually the most versatile vegetable around. Not only is it delightful when it’s roasted in the oven with tons of olive oil and a smattering of spices, but it can be shredded small and stirred into fried rice, ground and molded into pizza crust, and even blended into ice cream. See what I mean?

Related Reading: How to Win at Keto, Plus a Recipe for Spicy Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Lindsay Grimes Freedman channels that untapped superpower in her book “Cauliflower Power,” which is peppered with 75 gluten-free recipes, all with cauliflower as the star. Lindsay runs the popular blog The Toasted Pine Nut, a low-carb and gluten-free heaven, and her new book expresses that same devotion to healthy recipes. 

Cauliflower Power: 75 Feel-Good, Gluten-Free Recipes Made with the World's Most Versatile Vegetable, $19.95 on Amazon

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You’ll discover recipes for nacho cauli tostadas, cauliflower rice hidden under tuna poke, sweet potato cauliflower curry boats, and grilled cauliflower kabobs drizzled with peanut sauce. The opening of the book begins with guides to properly chopping cauliflower (think into thick steaks or even-sized florets) and the key to making cauliflower rice.

Baking Sheet, Set of 2 for $15.99 on Amazon

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Below, Lindsay shares her recipe for sweet-and-sour cauliflower, a riff on a beloved Chinese takeout dish. Big mounds of cauliflower are coated in a ketchup- and tamari-based sauce, baked in the oven for about 40 minutes, and served with a side of sticky rice or roasted spaghetti squash.

Excerpted from Cauliflower Power by Lindsay Grimes Freedman (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Lauren Volo.

Sweet-and-Sour Cauliflower Recipe

This dish is a lightened-up spin on a favorite Chinese takeout item. The sauce is a healthier version of sweet-and-sour sauce. You can coat the cauliflower pieces with tapioca flour, which adds a nice breading. Serve sweet-and-sour cauliflower with some sticky rice or roasted spaghetti squash to soak up all the extra sauce.

Sweet-and-Sour Cauliflower

Serves: 2-4
  • 4 cups (540 g) medium cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup (34 g) tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup (83 g) agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup (59 g) ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 scallion, light green part only, chopped for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets and the coconut oil in a large plastic bag and shake until the florets are evenly coated with the oil. Add the tapioca flour to the bag. Shake again until the florets are coated with the flour.
  3. Transfer the florets to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the florets begin to brown.
  4. While the cauliflower is cooking, make the sauce: Place the vinegar, agave nectar, ketchup, tamari, garlic, ginger, and onion powder in a small pot over medium-high heat. Whisk for 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth. Bring the sauce to a simmer and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens.
  5. Place the baked cauliflower in a bowl and toss with the sweet-and-sour sauce. Top with chopped scallions and sesame seeds and serve.
  6. Note: Both agave nectar and coconut nectar are low-glycemic sweeteners that you can use in place of traditional sugar. If you aren’t concerned with the glycemic index, honey or maple syrup works just as well.

Header image courtesy of Lauren Volo.

Amy Schulman is an associate editor at Chowhound. She is decidedly pro-chocolate.
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