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Recipe Hacks Using Cauliflower

Whole cauliflower on cutting board with knife

Cauliflower is one of the more popular ingredients in cooking these days.

It is packed with fiber, vitamins C and K, and is 29 calories per cup.

This cancer-fighting veggie can be used to transform some favorite dishes into bariatric-friendly recipes.

Below are a few cauliflower-enhanced takes on some traditionally carbohydrate-heavy favorites.

Alfredo sauce


  • Medium head of cauliflower (about 4 cups)
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 1 yellow onion 1 tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup skim or
  • 1 percent milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: Parsley


Chop cauliflower into medium sized pieces. Place cauliflower pieces in a microwave safe bowl and cover with either plastic wrap or a plate. Microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes until cauliflower is tender enough to be easily poked with a fork.

Place a sauté pan over medium-low heat and add oil or butter. Dice the onion, mince the garlic and add both to the preheated sauté pan. Cook the onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent.

Place microwaved cauliflower and sautéed onion and garlic mixture into a food processor or blender. Add vegetable or chicken broth, milk, and Parmesan cheese, and then blend until smooth.

Add salt and pepper to your liking, and then stir in parsley if desired.

Cauliflower shrimp fried rice


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 pound shrimp (small to medium in size, thawed and de-shelled)
  • 1 tbsp. Sesame oil (or olive or canola oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce


Chop cauliflower in medium sized chunks and place into food processer. Process cauliflower until it resembles rice, making sure to not over process.

Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat and add sesame oil. Add garlic, onion, carrots, and peas and sauté until tender.

Pour beaten eggs into pan and scramble until cooked, mixing with the vegetables.

Next, add shrimp and cook until pink.

Add cauliflower “rice” to pan, and then drizzle soy sauce over mixture. Cook for another three to five minutes until cauliflower is tender. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower tots

Cauliflower tots - finger food, toothpicks, appetizer


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 low fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, small diced
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat Italian breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop cauliflower into small chunks. Place cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes until tender.

Place cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it resembles grains of rice. Make sure to not over process.

Dump cauliflower into bowl and mix in egg, cheese, diced onion, and breadcrumbs. Mix with clean hands until combined.

Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Form mixture into tater-tot shaped pieces with hands and place on baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes; then flip over and bake for another 15 minutes.

Serve warm with low sugar ketchup or marinara sauce.

Universal cauliflower crust

Pizza crust made from cauliflower

Use this to make pizza, breadsticks or Stromboli.


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • Cooking spray


Chop cauliflower into medium sized chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until cauliflower resembles grains of rice.

Place cauliflower into a baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Allow cauliflower to cool, and then dump cauliflower onto a dish towel. Wrap the towel around the cauliflower to form a ball and then squeeze the liquid out. Repeat this until the cauliflower does not release any more liquid. Increase oven to 450 degrees.

Place dry cauliflower into a bowl and mix with egg, cheese, Italian seasoning and pepper until combined.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fold cauliflower mixture onto baking sheet and form into a large rectangle shape with your hands, making sure to pat down the mixture as you go. Spray a thin layer of cooking spray over the top of the crust. Bake crust at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Take crust out of the oven and top with the required ingredients to make your dish:

Pizza: Top with pizza sauce, low fat cheese, and toppings of your choice, then bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

Breadsticks: Top with low fat cheese and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Slice into breadstick shapes and serve with marinara dipping sauce.

Stromboli: Top with desired Stromboli ingredients- marinara sauce, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. Starting at either of the longer sides of the crust, use the parchment paper to help you gently roll the crust up forming a long Stromboli. Spray the top of the Stromboli with cooking spray, the bake for another 10 to 25 minutes to heat through. Slice Stromboli log into half-inch-thick pieces. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.

I hope you can incorporate these warm dishes into your diet during the upcoming winter months. Please let me know how you like them!

About this Blog

Learn about bariatric surgery and get the support you need to continue on your weight-loss journey. We offer workouts, recipes and tips from Bariatric Surgery program team members, and stories from patients like you.

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