This year has definitely been the year of the cauliflower. The humble veggie was virtually overlooked until healthy food geniuses found ways to transform it into everything from pizza crust to gnocchi.
Here’s what’s so amazing about cauliflower: it’s a blank slate that can change textures and pick up the flavors of whatever you pair it with—including holiday favorites. Thanksgiving is the Olympics of meals; everyone comes to the table craving their favorite dishes and the stakes are high. But this is the day cauliflower has been training for. From stuffing to alt-bread to dessert (yes, really), there’s no shortage of ways to incorporate the year’s most popular veggie onto the Thanksgiving table.
Scroll down for 8 healthy cauliflower side dishes perfect for any Thanksgiving feast
This creamy, vegan soufflé from Golubka Kitchen is full of fall flavor thanks to caramelized onions, shiitake mushrooms, fresh thyme, and Swiss chard. The cauliflower is pureed with nuts, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and sea salt creating a thick, “cheesy,” topping. Even with all the amazing fillings inside, the cauliflower is what really makes the dish.
The Paleo and keto eaters at your Thanksgiving table will appreciate that they can dig into the turkey and the stuffing with this low-carb version courtesy of The Healthy Maven. The use of traditional ingredients like pecans, sage, celery, and yellow onion keep the dish tasting just the way everyone craves.
Normally, anyone who doesn’t eat gluten (or carbs) is forced to pass when the bread basket makes its way around the table, but not with this fiber-packed alternative. Besides carrots and cauliflower, the recipe (from blogger A Tasty Love Story) also calls for eggs, chia seeds, psyllium husk, and sunflower seeds.
Sorry turkey, this gorgeous side from Marie Reginato is going to steal the show. Here, cauliflower and broccoli pop up in riced form as a filling and cranberries top it all off.
When combined with the caramelized onions, brown mushrooms, onion, and Parmesan cheese, this creamy cauliflower-based dish is practically begging to be paired with your mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.
The boldest cauli move you can make on Thanksgiving: replacing the turkey with it. (Or just serving it as an alternative for the vegetarians.) This recipe from Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen aims to create a similar taste as the traditional roasted turkey by using vegetable stock, a touch of maple syrup, thyme, and sage.
As it turns out, cauliflower pairs great with cranberries. This recipe from Bunny’s Bite utilizes ingredients you’ve already bought for Thanksgiving dinner: rosemary, thyme, oregano, olive oil, and the beloved holiday berries of course.
There’s cranberry sauce, and then there’s this dessert from Unconventional Baker. Combined with the tart berries, cauliflower is actually transformed into a delicious—gorgeous—dessert. Strategically used cinnamon, vanilla extract, agave, and lemon juice also help sweeten it up, while pumpkin seeds help form the base, adding structure as well as nutrients.
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