Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cauliflower Popcorn Experiment

It's winter in California and that means you're going to find a lot of cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower at the farmer's market. I love steamed cauliflower with butter and cheese, but I started eating it raw with ranch dressing after a coworker of mine suggested it, and two, when I discovered how awesome it is for me- high fiber, loaded with vitamin C, low calorie, etc.

Then I started to hear some buzz about cauliflower popcorn- roasted cauliflower with a little olive oil and salt will get crispy and crunchy as an alternative to popcorn. I think that's great for those people who can't consume popcorn, and it's healthy, so I tried it out. I checked out some recipe variations and I got chopping....

With the first head of cauliflower I chopped it up into really tiny florets, lined a pan with foil, and tossed them with olive oil and salt, and dumped them in the pan. I baked them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, then another 20 at 350. From there I took them out, and I liked their taste, but went on to dehydrate them, in hopes of drying the pieces out just a little bit. I checked it every 2 hours at 115 degrees, and I liked them at hour 4 but I continued to dehydrate them to see what would happen. They were in the dehydrator for a total of 8 hours, and they were on the verge of chewy/rubbery at the end, but still tasty. And the one head of cauliflower I started out with had turned into about 1/4 cup of a snack. Decent, but not a popcorn replacement, so I went on to attempt number two....

This time I just baked a head that I had once again cut into tiny florets. I baked it at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and then 325 for about an hour, until it was almost on the verge of burning; very browned. I let it cool and dabbed it with a paper towel. Tasty. Slightly crispy, again still not popcorn, but a nice popcorn replacement. I would certainly do this again, but now that I know what to except in taste and size, I would buy the cauliflower in bulk and do 2 to 3 heads for a snack for a movie. The upside is plain cauliflower only has about 15 calories per half a cup, so even with added olive oil or butter, you're still looking at a generally healthy snack. And besides, popcorn gets boring, and it's nice to switch it up.

1 comment:

oli said...

OK, I will give it a try....I think I might try to spice some up.