Comfort food weather is upon us, and yet just because it's cold outside doesn't mean that we should be abandoning our healthy, plant-based lifestyles. You can have your cake and eat it too with these vegetarian comfort food recipes thanks to the magic of cauliflower. The crucifer is one of the most versatile ingredients in your vegetable arsenal: it can be creamy and smooth; it can even take on characteristics of starchier vegetables or grains. In these Meatless Monday recipes, we've highlighted some of our favorite and most surprising ways to use cauliflower.
For a gluten-free dinner to be reckoned with, try a pizza with a cauliflower crust. This technique uses grated cauliflower, combined with egg and mozzarella cheese as binders, as the base for the classic comfort food. Because you forgo the wheat crust, you end up with a pizza that's much richer in fiber and vitamins than a more traditional pizza. Choose your favorite toppings and serve it up.
Images by Ally Jane Grossan
Macaroni and cheese is a comfort food favorite, but it can be a bit heavy and overwhelming for a weeknight meal (not to mention devoid of nutrients). Our macaroni and cheese with cauliflower purée uses the mildly flavored vegetable to up the creaminess factor of the dish without adding extra fat. Use a very sharp cheddar for a stronger cheesy flavor without having to add even more cheese to the dish, and choose a whole wheat pasta for even more nutrients and fiber.
Cauliflower garlic rice image via Shutterstock
If you like risotto, you'll love this cauliflower risotto made with cauliflower "rice." A popular mainstay of paleo and gluten-free diets, cauliflower rice is made by either grating cauliflower or pulsing it in the food processor. This "grain" becomes the base of a simple yet flavorful risotto recipe that your family will love.
Fettucine alfredo image via Shutterstock
In this version of the creamy Italian-American classic fettucine alfredo, there's absolutely no cheese. Find that surprising? You're not alone, but we promise you won't miss it. A rich and creamy sauce made with cauliflower and nutritional yeast gives you that umami flavor you crave, and it's far healthier than the heavier versions of the dish.
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Cauliflower pizza image via Shutterstock