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These Cauliflower And Broccoli Recipes Are The Cream Of The Cruciferous Crop

Kathy's sauteed broccoli with Italian sausage and penne. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Kathy's sauteed broccoli with Italian sausage and penne. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Looking for new ways to serve cauliflower and broccoli? Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst brings Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson and Robin Young a whole roasted cauliflower dish — which works just as well with broccoli — as well as spiced cauliflower soup and broccoli with sausage and penne.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Garlic, Parsley, Pine Nuts And Parmesan Cheese

A whole cauliflower is roasted with just a touch of olive oil and salt and pepper. A garlicky butter with fresh parsley and pine nuts is scattered on top, and finally, grated Parmesan cheese is added at the end. It’s a dramatic presentation and requires almost no work.

You can also cut the cauliflower into thick “steaks.” Serve with a steak knife to cut the cauliflower into pieces.

Look for smaller sized cauliflower that still has the green leaves wrapped around the head. This makes a great main course with rice or pasta, or side dish, and also works well with whole broccoli heads. Substitute broccoli for the cauliflower and roast until almost tender. Broccoli tends to cook faster than cauliflower, so check it after about 12 minutes. Serves 2 to 4.

Kathy’s whole roasted cauliflower with garlic, parsley, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)


  • 1 medium cauliflower, or 2 small ones, left whole with leaves still attached and stem trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the cauliflower in an ovenproof skillet, rub 1 tablespoon of the oil on top and season with the salt and pepper. Roast on the middle shelf for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for two minutes being careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the pine nuts and cook another minute. Remove from the heat and add the parsley.
  4. Spoon the garlic-pine nut mixture on top of the cauliflower — it’s fine if some of it spills off the cauliflower and onto the bottom of the skillet — and roast another 15 minutes. Remove and scatter the cheese on top and sprinkle with pepper. Roast another five to eight minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the cauliflower is almost tender when tested with a small sharp knife. It doesn’t need to be fall-apart tender. Serve hot.

Indian Spiced Cauliflower Soup With Coconut Milk

Although there are several interesting Indian spices in this soup, it’s not spicy or overwhelming. I use lots of fresh ginger, dried fennel seed, cumin seed and garam masala to season the cauliflower and stock. Serve as a main course or a first course. You can use vegetable stock — making this a vegetarian soup — or chicken stock.

Garnish the soup with chopped fresh cilantro, scallions and thick plain yogurt. Serves 6.

Kathy’s Indian spiced cauliflower soup with coconut milk. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Soup Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, or 4 small, with the dark green tops trimmed and white and pale green sections cut lengthwise, washed, dried and thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 small green pepper, jalapeño, poblano or sweet green pepper, chopped with or without seeds, depending on how spicy you like your soup
  • 2 teaspoons dried fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 pounds cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Hot pepper sauce (optional)

*Garam masala, a common Indian spice blend, can be found in the spice aisle in most supermarkets. A mixture of 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cardamom and coriander and 1/8 teaspoon each of ground cumin and cinnamon can be substituted.

Garnish Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup thick plain yogurt


  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over low heat. Add the leeks, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for five minutes. Add the ginger and the green pepper and cook another three minutes. Push the leeks and pepper to the side and add the fennel and cumin seed, ground ginger and garam masala and cook, stirring to toast for four minutes. Add the fresh cilantro and the cauliflower and cook three minutes, stirring to coat the cauliflower with all the spices.
  2. Raise the heat to high and add the stock; bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, add the coconut milk, stir well and cover. Cook for 20 minutes. The cauliflower should be quite tender. Remove from the heat and let sit 10 minutes. Puree in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender. Add the soup back to the pot if using a blender or food processor and taste for seasoning; add more salt and pepper if needed. The soup should be slightly spicy but not super hot. You can add a touch of hot sauce if you like.
  4. Serve hot, sprinkled with scallions, cilantro and a dollop of yogurt.

Sauteed Broccoli With Italian Sausage And Penne

Sometimes slicing a vegetable in different, unusual ways creates a whole new way of looking at it. Here fresh broccoli is sliced lengthwise, creating thin, long pieces that become the star of this pasta dish.

The recipe calls for penne, but you can use any favorite pasta shape. I like to make this with a spicy sausage to give the dish a bite. The water the pasta cooks in together with grated Parmesan cheese makes a delicious sauce for the broccoli. Serves 2 to 4.


  • 1 pound Italian sausage, sweet or spicy, or a combination
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound broccoli
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound penne, or your favorite pasta shape
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil over high heat.
  2. Remove the sausage meat from the casing and crumble it into small pieces. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat in a large skillet; add the sausage pieces and saute, stirring every now and then until the sausage is golden brown and cooked through, about six to eight minutes. Drain on paper towel.
  3. Meanwhile, trim the very end off the stem of the broccoli, keeping the rest of the stems attached. Using a long knife cut the broccoli lengthwise into thin strips about 1/2-inch thick. Place the broccoli in a large skillet and add 1/2 cup water.
  4. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook the broccoli, flipping it from side to side, for five minutes. The water should have evaporated; if there is still water remove it from skillet. Reduce the heat to moderate and add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over the broccoli along with the garlic, salt and pepper. Add the sausage and stir; cook over low heat for five minutes.
  5. Add the pasta to the water and cook for 10 to 14 minutes, depending on the type and package instructions. After the pasta has cooked for 10 minutes, remove 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and add to the skillet with the broccoli. Raise the heat under the skillet to moderate and let cook for two minutes.
  6. Drain the pasta. Add to a large bowl and top with the broccoli, sausage and sauce from the skillet; top with the cheese and toss. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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