Dieters and gluten-intolerant folks, rejoice — your favorite gluten-free, low-calorie, low-carb, and keto-friendly substitute and side dish is easier to find than ever. Cauliflower dots the menus of many a Valley restaurant, ranging from cauliflower-crust pizza to cauliflower tacos and grilled cauliflower steak.
Now that you’re jonesing for broccoli’s pale cousin, here’s a handy guide to cauliflower starters, soups, sides, and entrees across metro Phoenix.
Starters & Sharers
Appetizers are so often deep-fried, carb-heavy, and most likely delicious. However, cauliflower-based starters can bring the heat and flavor without running your appetite for the main course.
For a little spice, think the Buffalo sauce-covered cauliflower wings at Spokes on Southern in Tempe, the kung pao cauliflower at Stock & Stable, the Korean fried cauliflower at The Herb Box, and General Tso's cauliflower at SoSoBa — flash-fried cauliflower with General Tso's sauce, sesame seeds, scallions, and chili thread.
For additional appetizers heavy on the cauliflower, think the wood-fired cauliflower at Forno 301, the cauliflower gratinate (roasted cauliflower with aged white cheddar and breadcrumbs — have mercy) at The Parlor, the Tuscan cauliflower at Pitch Pizzeria, the Panang cauliflower dip at Clever Koi, and the grilled cauliflower at Starlite BBQ — complete with crispy black-eyed peas and arugula-pickled onions under green goddess dressing.
This is one of the biggest breakthroughs since fast food joints started offering gross salads — the cauliflower-crust pizza. Once just a miserable recipe to try and follow is now a popular crust option a many a pizza place.
They’ve got gluten-free cauliflower crust at Fired Pie, as well as Venezia’s, Upper Crust Pizza Patio & Wine Bar, and Zesty Zzeeks — which also has a broccoli cheddar crust, just FYI. You can even order the spanakopita — gluten-free cauliflower crust topped with spinach, lemon, garlic, kalamata olives, and a myriad of cheeses like feta, fontina, asiago, and herb Parmesan — at Alamo Drafthouse locations in Tempe, Chandler, and Gilbert.
Entrees and Plates
No longer just a side, cauliflower has been breaking through into the main-dish realm for some time. And if you don’t believe us, you haven’t tried the beloved cauliflower tacos at The Coronado — a plate of masa-battered and fried cauliflower with guacamole, spinach, pepitas, and avocado dressing.
Other cauliflower-heavy entrees include a favorite dish, the Gobi Manchurian — cauliflower marinated with flour, sauteed with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce found at Ruchi Vegetarian South Indian Cuisine. They also have the Chilly Gobi, which is the same thing only with chili.
And whether or not you believe soup is a meal, you can find the Wisconsin cauliflower soup at Café Zupas with whole heads of cauliflower blended with cheddar and pepper Jack cheese.
Cauliflower’s original place on the table has been as an accompaniment — and it still shines in this arena. Try the Cauliflower OG on the vegetable section of the menu at Ocotillo, the cauliflower puree at Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse, the roasted cauliflower at Twisted Grove Parlor + Bar, and an order of just cauliflower at The Larder + the Delta.
And if you want to pair your new favorite ingredient with a lateral veggie, go for the Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheese Bake at Cornish Pasty Co. It’s cauliflower, it’s broccoli, it’s a crazy amount of cheese, and it’s baked. Therefore, it’s great.
Of course, you can take inventive cauliflower substitutions and dishes into your own hands and your own home from grocery stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, and local stores like Sprouts, AJ's Fine Foods, Fry's Food Stores, and more.
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High-end grocery stores (and others, but let’s get fancy) have a slew of creative cauliflower options. The Arizona-based Sprouts grocery chain has riced cauliflower, cauliflower-crust frozen pizzas, pretzels (twists and sticks), veggie rings, and the Sprouts General Tso's cauliflower with rice.
At your more mainstream healthy grocers, i.e. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, things get even more exiting. TJ’s has cauliflower pancakes, riced cauliflower stuffing, cauliflower tabbouleh, and cauliflower gnocchi. Whole Foods has everything from mashed cauliflower to cauliflower couscous, roasted cauliflower steaks, roasted cauliflower risotto, and all the ingredients to make spicy cheddar-jack cauliflower dip. Yes, please!
Editor's note: This story was originally published on November 13, 2018. It was updated on January 3, 2020.