There’s a ton of reasons to love this white-hot vegetable.

cauliflower close up
Photography by John Lee/OFFSET
| Credit: Photography by John Lee/OFFSET

Cauliflower guide

Buy: Smaller heads of cauliflower tend to be sweeter, making them great as crudités or in salads. In the mood for thick cauliflower steaks? Go big! No matter what you're cooking, choose firm, compact heads with fresh leaves. Avoid dark blemishes or mushiness, but if you see a few pale "freckles," fear not—they're the result of oxidation and won't affect flavor.

Store: No need to jam cauliflower into the crisper. Keep it in the supermarket packaging and stash it on a shelf in the fridge.

Cook: Iron or aluminum turns white cauliflower to blue, so cook it in stainless steel. And don't toss the stem or leaves. Peel and grate stems for slaw and sauté the leaves. PS: If the smell of cooking cauliflower makes you hold your nose, add celery to the pot. (Trust us, it works!)

Credit: Italian White, Graffiti, Romanesco Cauliflower by Getty Images; Cheddar Cauliflower by Alamy.

Clockwise from top left:

Italian White: Sweet and mild, this supermarket staple is great for roasting.

Cheddar: This newcomer contains 25 times the beta carotene as white cauliflower.

Graffiti: The striking color comes from the same antioxidants in red wine.

Romanesco: This green variety has swirly, spiky florets and a complex, nutty flavor.

Try These Ideas!

Colorful Cauliflower Pasta

colorful cauliflower pasta
Credit: Photography by Peter Ardito

Roasted Cauliflower Wedge Salad

Trim leaves and stem from 1 large cauliflower; quarter through the center. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle with EVOO; season. Roast at 425° until golden, about 30 minutes. Divide among plates; season. Top with blue cheese dressing, chopped chives and cooked crumbled bacon. Serves 4. 

5 Things You Didn't Know About Cauliflower

1. Smooth move

cauliflower smoothie
Credit: Photography by Getty Images

Cauliflower has been mashed, turned into mac 'n' cheese and pizza crust-ified, but did you know that it's the latest trendy smoothie add-in? Fans say its pale color, mild flavor and creamy texture make it a great sub for bananas. And because it's full of vitamin C (1 cup contains 86% of your recommended daily serving), folate and other nutrients, it's an easy way to boost nutrition but not the sugar content. Seriously, is there anything cauliflower can't do?

2. Cheese Head

That bunch of cauliflower? It's called a curd! The veg is actually a compact collection of flower buds that, when you think of it, do look a lot like cottage cheese.

3. Throwing Shade

Fun fact: Cauliflower owes its fair complexion to the leaves that grow around the plant's head, preventing photosynthesis. Without that "sunblock," white varieties would actually be green!

4. Better Together

Early studies suggest that the combo of turmeric and certain veggies (including cauliflower) may help prevent and treat some cancers. Cauliflower curry FTW!

5. Off the Cuff

cauliflower cuff links
Credit: Photography by Peter Ardito

What to get the guy who has everything? How about sterling silver cauliflower cuff links? For each $375 pair purchased at, $175 will go to Recipe for Success, an organization that combats childhood obesity. Talk about some tasteful bling!