Insight

Forget flowers, it’s all about the florets

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Research shows that nearly a third of UK adults feel that a plant-based diet is boring, so it is critical that the industry continues to educate and provide new ways to serve and enjoy meat-free meals.

Cauliflower is very versatile and pairs well with a variety of foods because of its neutral flavour.  It is a popular ingredient on plant-based menus, with new ways to cook it popping up to tap into texture, taste and nutrients.

In season between December and April, cauliflower is high in vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fibre, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium and manganese.

 

Cooking with cauliflower

One way to cook a cauliflower that keeps popping up on menus is simply to roast it – whole.  It is hardly a revolutionary idea however it has inspired a global following with Israeli chef Eyal Shani claiming credit for its creation.

The recipe is simple:  the whole cauliflower is boiled in salted water, drained, brushed with plenty of olive oil and baked in a hot oven until browned on the edges – even charred in places.  Enjoying it with pitta bread and various accompaniments such as pickles, tahini, hot chillies, is what makes it special.

image from Miznon

Another way is to use it as a snack as M&S have done within their Plant Kitchen range.   Their cauliflower popcorn bites are mini florets, coated in a fluffy batter that’s gorgeously crisp on the outside, while the cauliflower stays tender within.

image from Marks & Spencer

It is the time of year when a hearty warm pie is just what is needed.  Using our new Plant-based Cheese Sauce this cauliflower-cheese and potato pie is full of nostalgia and goodness.

Despite the cauliflower pizza base being fairly established on the restaurant scene, its availability in the major retailers is not as widespread.  DIY pizza bases made from cauliflower are not widespread, which provides operators with a great opportunity to target consumers as it is not a dish they can easily replicate at home.

 

Other ideas for your menu

The team have been out and about lately and spotted some great cauliflower dishes, which may be a great addition for your menu.

  1. Wagamama – bang bang cauliflower (crispy wok-fried cauliflower coated in firecracker sauce mixed with red and spring onions, garnished with fresh ginger)
  2. Brewdog – Buffalo cauliflower (vegetarian version of their chicken wings which also has a regular as well as a sharing size)
  3. Two for One – buffalo cauliflower tacos
  4. Las Iguanas – cauliflower and corn quintotto (a Peruvian-style quinoa risotto with smoked cheese, roasted cauliflower, charred baby corn & puffed quinoa)
  5. Beefeater – cauliflower cheese tart
  6. Cabana – crispy coconut cauliflower wrap
  7. Miller & Carter – roasted cauliflower cheese wedge side
  8. Jamie’s Italian – Sicilian-style cauliflower (a whole roasted cauliflower with lentil ragu, pomegranate & pine nuts)
  9. Yo! – spicy pepper cauliflower
  10. O’Neils – no-chick cauliflower bites (both vegan and vegetarian options available)

 

What else does cauliflower go well with?

If you need any suggestions to know what cauliflower goes well with, look no further.

  • Produce: apples, asparagus, bell pepper, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, citrus, corn, garlic, lime, lemon, kale, mango, mushrooms, olives, onions, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, spinach, squash, and tomatoes
  • Dairy: yogurt, cream, milk, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, feta cheese, Gruyère cheese, Parmesan cheese, browned butter, and butter
  • Other: beef, anchovies, pork, tofu, chickpeas, grains, pine nuts, walnuts, seeds, rice, almonds, tahini, and wine
  • Herbs & Spices: basil, bay leaf, cardamom, chervil, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, garam masala, ginger, marjoram, mint, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, saffron, tarragon, thyme, and turmeric

 

On a related note, woody herbs will be featuring heavily in 2020 – thyme, sage, lavender, rosemary and oregano (for pub quiz/crossword puzzles the woody herb which is also a lady’s name is rosemary).  Make sure you are signed up to our newsletter so you don’t miss out on these updates, just click the link at the bottom of the page.

 

Sources:   Mintel | Foodspark | MCA | Produce made simple