It is very easy to get used to using the same vegetables in your cooking on repeat and it is just as easy to get extremely bored with those same vegetables. Many people forget how versatile most vegetables are, so they do not explore the wide range of cooking options available. Take cauliflower, for example.
You could use the crisp creaminess of cauliflower for so many things. You don’t have to settle for simply roasting your cauliflower. Of course, you don’t want to make something you do not like and waste fresh cauliflower. So why not experiment with your leftovers?
5 Things to do with Leftover Cauliflower
Aside from the slightly nutty taste that translates as a kind of sweetness in most dishes, cauliflower is mild enough in taste to act as a good base for more impactful flavours. This widens the possibilities of things you can do with your leftover cauliflower:
1) Extra Large Cauliflower Cheese
The easiest method for using up a large batch of cooked or raw cauliflower that is about to go bad is to make an extra-large portion of cauliflower cheese.
For many, cauliflower cheese is their go-to recipe for cooking cauliflower as it is a simple but nutritious side dish.
All you need to do is partly cook the cauliflower either in your oven or on the stove until it starts to soften. Then season the cauliflower as you wish and top with plenty of cheese. Place the cauliflower cheese in your oven at about 180C and leave to cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
Of course, if you are using cooked leftover cauliflower, the dish’s preparation is much simpler.
Just lay your cauliflower evenly in a baking dish and top it with a liberal amount of cheese sauce. Then cook until the cauliflower is heated through. The cheese will make your leftover cauliflower taste different enough that you will not feel like you are eating cauliflower for the 3rd day in a row.
The good news is that you can then freeze cauliflower cheese if you’re not going to eat it all up.
2) Homemade Cauliflower Rice
If adding an abundance of cheese to your vegetables is not your kind of thing, you can always choose a healthier route with your leftover cooked cauliflower.
Cauliflower rice has been a big hit recently, offering a more nutritious and diverse experience than typical white rice – and it can be cooked in the microwave!
You can buy cauliflower rice in the supermarket, already prepared for you to cook or simply warm up. But you can make cauliflower rice yourself at home by blending up cooked cauliflower until it resembles something similar to rice or couscous.
The only thing you need to keep in mind when using your leftover cauliflower to make cauliflower rice is the flavour.
Cauliflower rice is supposed to have a natural, very mild flavour similar to rice to make it easier to pair with a range of dishes.
It is not necessarily a bad thing if you heavily seasoned your leftover cauliflower before cooking it originally. It just means you have to be a little more strategic about what you then pair your cauliflower rice with.
3) Savoury Cauliflower Popcorn
Use your leftover cauliflower to make cauliflower popcorn or dunkers for a healthy but delicious savoury snack.
It doesn’t matter how you originally seasoned your leftover cauliflower, as that seasoning will only serve to add extra flavour to the cauliflower popcorn, making them even more delicious.
Do not worry, eating cauliflower popcorn is unlike eating raw carrots and hummus.
Because the cauliflower is covered in an array of flavours and then roasted, the cauliflower popcorn is more reminiscent of crisps than a vegetable platter.
Though you can also pair the cauliflower popcorn with tomato, yoghurt, or even hummus dip if you want to make the snack more filling.
4) Cheese, Bacon, And Cauliflower Soup
Okay, so soup may seem like a typical choice for leftover veg, cooked or raw. But cauliflower soup is a classic winter dish that can keep you warm and full for hours, especially because of how fibrous it is, making it more filling than other low-fibre vegetables like carrots.
So if you want to make the most of your groceries, this is one leftover dish you will want to keep on hand.
Leftover cauliflower blended up by itself would not be exceptionally flavourful, even with the seasonings you would have used to cook the cauliflower beforehand.
A handful of cheese, heavy cream and bacon bits for a finessed finish can make all the difference in making your cauliflower soup much more comforting and delicious.
Perhaps the best part about cauliflower soup is that it freezes very well. You can freeze the soup for up to 6 months without losing its flavour, meaning that you can use any leftover cauliflower in the summer to make the soup and have a delicious meal ready for cold winter nights.
When you want to defrost the soup, simply add it directly to a hot pan and gently warm it until it is fully defrosted and heated through.
5) Pickled Cauliflower
You could freeze your leftover cauliflower to heat up in the microwave and add it to your roast dinner the next time you run low on fresh vegetables. But to add a little variety to your vegetable rotation, pickle your leftover cauliflower.
Picking your cauliflower will not make your leftover cauliflower last as long as if it were frozen. However, it is a much more tasteful method and can let you store your cauliflower for up to 3 months, so long as the pickle jar is not opened once it is prepped. This will allow the flavour of the pickled cauliflower to develop.
Then after 3 months, you can crack open the pickled jar and enjoy the pickled cauliflower on a sandwich, in a salad, or as a dip.
Leftover Cauliflower FAQs
Do you still have questions about what to do with leftover cauliflower? Then these FAQs might help you out:
Yes, cauliflower can be frozen for around 6 months. It needs to be blanched in boiling water briefly before it is frozen on a lined baking sheet. Once solid, the frozen florets can be bagged up and returned to the freezer.
Yes! Don’t throw those tasty parts of the cauliflower away and use them instead. The leaves and stems are full of flavour and goodness, so why waste them?
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.