Cauliflower is trendy. It’s become the hip, harlem shakin‘, Sriracha loving, Ray-Ban wearing vegetable of 2013. It’s hot on demand and is quickly sneaking its way onto restaurant menus nationwide. Can’t say I predicted that.
I could’ve predicted the past year’s kale boom, the one that’s quietly beginning to slow. Leafy, vibrant greens packed with nutrients – it was only a matter of time before they shifted beyond garnish status on the plate. This whole cauliflower craze though, it really snuck up on me. I definitely didn’t see the day coming where cauliflower “steak” would push beef aside and become the highlight of a menu (at $34 a plate)! I could certainly argue with that price, but cauliflower shining across menus is fine by me.
Cauliflower doesn’t make my grocery list all that often, but I admit, its crowns have been the favored ones ever since I was kid. My mom would often steam it up alongside broccoli, the green monster I’d grimace at after every bite. For the cauliflower, however, there was never any kind of the “you won’t get dessert if you don’t eat…” convincing needed. Today, I probably eat more of the green crowns than the white, but again I admit, cauliflower is still the favored one.
Its relatively neutral flavor makes it great for dishes like this (and apparently pizza crust too!). Here, cauliflower is paired with a slightly nutty millet, and then whipped up in a food processor. The result is a creamy, mashed potato-like texture yielded without any butter or cream needed. In fact, you could call this a no-fat version of mashed potatoes, although with the caraway seeds, it’ll bring just a tad more complexity to the table. Feel free to skip the seeds altogether if you’re looking for a neutral side or straight-up mashed potato replacement. However, I find the caraway to really add a nice, unique element you seldom find outside of rye bread.
I served this up with a batch of sautéed baby portabella mushrooms and garlic. To do the same, simply slice up 8 oz. baby portabellas along with a couple of garlic cloves. Saute in a little olive oil, deglazing the pan with a splash of balsamic vinegar, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Feel free to add in thyme or other herbs, or keep it simple and let the millet mash speak for itself. The mushrooms will add a nice depth of texture to the velvety smooth cauliflower.
- -1 medium onion, chopped
- -1 cup millet, uncooked
- -4 cups cauliflower
- -Add 2 tsp. caraway seeds
- -1/2 tsp. salt
- -Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- -3 1/4 cups water
- In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup water. Add onions and saute for approx. 5 minutes, or until almost translucent. Add remaining 3 cups of water and salt and bring to boil. Add millet and cauliflower, and return to a boil.
- Cover, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 35-40 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.
- Transfer to a food processor (can substitute with a blender if needed, but food processor works best), and process until smooth and creamy. Stir in caraway seeds, and adjust salt and pepper, to taste.
- *I served this up with balsamic glazed portabella mushrooms to add a bit of texture to the bowl. See last paragraph above for loose instructions.