The UNBELIEVABLE Versatility of CAULIFLOWER (13 Creative Uses + 120 Vegan Recipes)

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon
My embarassing history with cauliflower: 

Admittedly, cauliflower wasn't a vegetable I thought much about before adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet.

As a kid, the only time I saw cauliflower was on a party platter next to other raw vegetables and a dip.

I had cooked cauliflower for the first time in college while I tried to lose weight on "diet" frozen meals. (Cauliflower was in one of the stir-fry options and let's just say it wasn't exactly the best first impression LOL).

Thankfully I "went vegan" a few years later and in an effort to "keep 'veg' in vegan" I started buying different vegetables at the supermarket to try. 

Steamed cauliflower was an instant hit and for years I didn't eat cauliflower any other way...

A new relationship with cauliflower begins: 

My husband came home from a work dinner one evening saying he'd had Indian food for the first time, it was amazing, and there were "tons of vegetarian and vegan options."

Neither of us had eaten Indian food before. I'm not sure I even knew it existed.

Of course now I was curious so we made plans to go back to the restaurant he'd been to that weekend.

I was both surprised and delighted to see a cauliflower dish on the menu: Aloo Gobi Masala. (In my ignorace I think I said something like "I didn't know people in India ate cauliflower" whoops). 

It was love at first bite for me and Aloo Gobi Masala remains a personal favorite. 

Time to get creative: 

A year or so later, I started writing cookbooks. Tapping into my creative side, I started thinking how else could I use this vegetable or that bean? What could I make that was new and interesting? 

I soon realized cauliflower was by far the most versatile of all vegetables and there's little it can't do. 

There are a whopping 120+ cauliflower recipes in my meal planning and recipe app (meal mentor, get a 7-day free trial right here).

Here's the full list of all 120+ vegan cauliflower recipes

Below are some of my favorite ways to use cauliflower:


Steamed or accidentally overcooked cauliflower can be blended with water or a plant-based milk (soy, cashew or oat works best) to create a substitite for heavy cream in soups or sauces. 

Caulifredo (my vegan Alfredo sauce made from cauliflower) is a great example. Recipe in the meal mentor app.

This simple sauce is made from only 5 simple ingredients and is a wonderful plant-based and low fat (no oil, not nuts) alternative to dairy-based or nut-based Alfredos.

Likewise I am using "cauliflower cream" here to make this Creamy "Clam" Chowder (Recipe in the meal mentor app).


I was asked to bring a dish that was WFPBNO (whole foods, plant-based, no oil), low fat and if possible, keto or low carb to a party.

I created this Cauliflower Nacho Cheese and it was a huge (HUGE!) hit with everyone, even those who did not have any dietary limitations. (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

While potatoes + carrots have been a popular plant-based cheese alternative to nut-based cheeses, I think cauliflower adds a special something else. Plus there's fewer ingredients and labor required with this version. It's simply steamed or microwaved frozen cauliflower blended with a few spices.


Blended cauliflower is my go-to replace "cream" or milk in creamy soups. While potatoes also work, I find a handful of frozen cauliflower works just as well and reduces both cooking time and labor. 

One of my favorite soups is my Brussel Sprout Bisque, which is only 4 ingredients and uses a little cauliflower for creaminess. It's so silky smooth too.  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).


The most unique way I've been able to use cauliflower is as an alternative to ground beef. 

Examples include my Cauliflower Bolognese.  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).


"Carnitas" Chimichangas(the cauliflower makes the carnitas part)   (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

"Chorizo" Tacos  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

"Meaty" Adobo Chili Not only is this chili made without beans, the cauliflower creates the meaty part.  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

Sloppy Joes  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

I also sometimes use florets as a stand-in for chunks of meat.

Here are a few examples:

Shawarma (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

Sloppy Buffalo'd Joes  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

Cauliflower Bahn Mi  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).


Back in 2015, I introduced cauliflower hot wings and they've been mega popular ever since. My recipe is featured in my cookbook Happy Herbivore Holidays and Gatherings and at the end of the documentary Eating You Alive. 


Slabs of cauliflower are a thing! I love making cauliflower "steaks" when I want something that looks elegant (but is easy) and toothsome. Here are two ways I serve them:

Cauliflower Steaks with Cherry Balsamic Dressing   (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

Roma Cauliflower Steaks  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

You can also find recipes online for baking the entire head of a cauliflower which makes for a beautiful centerpiece during holiday meals.


For those who need gluten-free or a low carb pizza crust, Cauliflower Pizza Crust is a great choice.  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

Low Carb RICE 

For a low carb rice replacement, use a grater to “rice” a head of cauliflower or pulse florets in a food processor a few times. I like to cook the cauliflower bits in a tiny bit of water to soften it up before using it as "rice." 

You can also usually find "riced cauliflower" or "cauliflower crumbles" in the freezer and produce section of most big chain supermarkets. The frozen options can be microwaved which is very conveient. 

My husband isn't a fan of plain cauliflower rice (I think it's great with some salt and pepper) HOWEVER when I dress it up with other flavors and seasonings, he likes it.

Three favorite dishes I can think of are the Cauliflower Verde Bowls(the verde rice is made with cauliflower)  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

this Cauliflower Rice Biriyani  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).

and Kimchi "Fried" Rice  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).


When I was creating the Shortcut to Slim Blueprint, I created "Fauxy Oatmeal" for a breakfast option. It's filling and delicious and makes what feels like oatmeal except it's made with cauliflower instead of oats and uses weight-loss science hacks to expediate weight-loss.

You can also add some frozen cauliflower rice to your 'regular' oatmeal for extra fiber or if you're like me and are always looking to maximze nutrition and veggie intake.


For years I used brown rice when making "risotto" so it would be more wholesome and less processed. I then wondered if I could use cauliflower rice and the answer is most defintely! While I tend to do a mix of brown rice and cauliflower rice, I love having multiple vegetables in what feels like a decadent meal. 

This is my Sweet Pea Risotto - a perfect spring meal!  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).


For me, I will always pick the more volumous food. I'd rather have a giant bowl of cantaloupe then a few raisins or an even fewer amount of nuts, for example. I find cauliflower florets are helpful in giving me a portion size I will find satisfying.

Here are a couple examples:

Cavo Italiano Pasta (This recipe was featured on my Make It Monday newsletter. If you're not on that newsletter, sign-up here to get a FREE recipe every monday. Learn more here).  (Recipe is also in the meal mentor app).

Cauliflower Ranchero Tostadas  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).


For my friends who can't have soy but still want to make a "tofu scramble", I've found cauliflower is a wonderful substitute for tofu.

I start with whole florets and then as the cauliflower cooks and gets softer (I saute in a little vegetable broth), I gently mash the florets with a potato masher into a more crumbled consitency (think: scrambled eggs) but don't over do it or you'll end up with mush/mash. 

Once the "tofu scramble" seasonings are added and mixed well (add another splash of broth) you have a soy-free scramble that can pass for tofu.

Cheese Cauliflower Scramble is one of my favorite "surprise" side dishes to serve at brunch. It's mashed cauliflower with nutritional yeast, Cajun seasoning, and a few other spices like onion and garlic. (The exact recipe is in the meal mentor app and Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook). 


Whether you're low carb or not, sometimes it's nice to change things up and cauliflower florets make for a wonderful replacement. 

Here are some examples of florets instead of potato:

Buffalo Tots (instead of tater tots, these tots are made from cauliflower)  (Recipe in the meal mentor app).


Moliee (Kerala Cauliflower Curry)  (Recipe in meal mentor app)

Coconut Cauliflower Curry (Recipe in meal mentor app)

Ready to see for yourself how versatile cauliflower is???

Want to try some of these pictured recipes??? get your FREE 7-day free trial right here.

During your trial you'll have access to all 120+ vegan cauliflower recipes. You'll also get a free 7-day vegan meal plan with recipes and a shopping list. 

Subscribe to the blog!

Or go grab our RSS feed!