Steamed Cauliflower

This recipe explains how to make steamed cauliflower according to a simple technique that will have even veggie haters proclaiming it to be the best.

Steamed Whole Cauliflower

That’s right. We’re teaching you how to steam a whole head of cauliflower. It couldn’t be simpler. And it couldn’t be more stunning at the table. As author Magnus Nilsson explains, “it could be a side dish, but also a shared dish in the middle of the table…a lump of salty butter to dip it in and perhaps a wedge of lemon is about as good as it gets for me.” Especially given the price of cauliflower lately—have you noticed how pricey it’s gotten? All the more reason we really want to taste our cauliflower rather than bury it under all manner of goo as if it was mystery meat at our elementary school cafeteria. It’s little wonder we consider Nilsson’s The Nordic Cookbook one of the best cookbooks of the year.–Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Bring Some Bling To Steamed Cauliflower

This whole steamed cauliflower is the best thing ever for vegetable purists. And for those who can’t quite muster enthusiasm over straight up steamed brassica, here’s how to fancy steamed cauliflower up a little:
Dust with paprika.
Drown with melted butter, a generous squeeze of lemon, and freshly cracked black pepper.
Sprinkle with hot sauce.
Dollop with aioli or homemade mayo.
Dunk in pickle juice from a jar of homemade or store-bought pickles.
Dribble with chimichurri.
Slather with brown butter.

Steamed Cauliflower

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 2 to 4
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Place the cauliflower in a steamer basket set over a deep pot of simmering water and cover. Steam the cauliflower until it is just tender, about 15 minutes. Stick the tip of a sharp paring knife in the thickest part of the stem of the cauliflower to check for doneness. The timing depends on the size of the cauliflower and how soft you want it to be. You may need to steam it for about 5 more minutes.

Sprinkle with some salt before serving if you want to. Place the entire head of cauliflower on a platter or plate and serve alongside lemon wedges and butter, if desired.

Print RecipeBuy the The Nordic Cookbook cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This is more of a method than recipe, but most importantly, it works perfectly, and the extra flavor you get by steaming the cauliflower instead of boiling it is worth bragging about. As part of a larger meal, it could easily serve 4, although in all honestly, as a side to a meat dish we ate the whole thing between 2 people. Sharing a head of roasted cauliflower is something we used to order at a favorite restaurant, so it wasn’t a stretch to serve it at home to a receptive partner! We drizzled it with a bit of aioli and chopped briny olives. I will watch for those tiny perfect cauliflowers to serve as individual heads, as this is such a nice presentation and so simple. The cauliflower would also be perfect and totally guilt-free with just lemon and a grind of pepper.

A very healthful and super easy way to prepare cauliflower. In just 15 minutes, you'll have a perfectly cooked vegetable dish that can be served simply with a sprinkling of salt or more dressed up with a drizzle of olive oil or a few melted pats of butter, some freshly squeezed lemon juice, chopped fresh herbs, and/or some grated cheese. My cauliflower took 15 minutes to cook. This size of cauliflower made 4 nice servings. I used a pasta pot with the strainer insert serving as a steamer. The covered pot with a few inches of water simmering in the bottom made the perfect cooking vessel for this dish.

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  1. I love this method of cooking cauliflower… Salt and lemon is great, but if you want to go rich, drizzle with hollandaise sauce and a few cracks of pepper… 🙂

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