Thirteen ways to use up leftover cauliflower

Low in calories and high in fibre, cauliflower is nutritious and versatile. Its mild, nutty flavour works just as well baked into a creamy cauliflower cheese as blitzed into ‘rice’ and tossed with herbs and veg. But, according to reports from WRAP, 46,000 tonnes of cauliflower are wasted every year. That’s equivalent to about £88 million worth of cauliflower which goes to waste. Read on to find out how to make the most of this on-trend ingredient.

  1. Store it right

    Keep cauliflower loose or in a perforated bag in the fridge. It freezes well too; just blanch in boiling water first to help keep the colour, flavour and texture. Simply boil it for a few minutes, plunge into ice water to cool, then drain and freeze.

    Store it right
  2. Use it all

    Did you know the leaves and stalk of the cauliflower are perfectly edible? The leaves can be cooked like any leafy green, so why not try adding to a stir-fry instead of cabbage or pak choi, or roasting with a little oil and lemon juice. The stalks are also great roasted and can be used in soups, stews and stocks.

    Use it all
  3. For the stalks

    One of the simplest ways to use up a whole cauliflower is with a spicy cauliflower and spinach curry. Simply fry onions until soft, add korma curry paste; fry until fragrant. Add a chopped cauliflower stalk; fry for 5 mins. Add a tin of chickpeas and a tin of coconut milk; bring to the boil. Stir in some spinach and simmer until the cauliflower is tender. Serve with basmati rice. If you’re still in the mood for spice but want to try something a little different, there are plenty of aloo gobi and other vegan cauliflower curry recipes that might take your fancy.

    For the stalks
  4. Make a piccalilli

    Transform your leftover cauliflower into a colourful and comforting condiment by whipping up a classic British piccalilli. A combination of fiery mustard and gingery turmeric that’ll stain any garment it ends up in contact with, this tangy pickle is the perfect accompaniment for sandwiches, cold meats and cheese or charcuterie boards. 

    Make a piccalilli
  5. Don’t ignore the leaves

    Cauliflower crisps are the ideal way to utilise any cauliflower leaves you’ve got lying about. Separate the leaves from the cauliflower, then cut them into thick strips. Drizzle with onion oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika, then season. Roast in a hot oven until crispy. Enjoy on their own or serve them with houmous for dipping.

    Don’t ignore the leaves
  6. Whip up some cauliflower cheese

    Cauliflower cheese makes a standout side for any meal and we’re pretty sure it’s one of the tastiest ways imaginable to get in your five-a-day. Whether you’re opting for a classic take or looking to push the boat out with one of a truffle cauliflower cheese, kale and cauliflower cheese or miso cauliflower cheese recipe, we’ve got plenty of options to help you transform that leftover brassica into the ultimate cauliflower cheese

    Whip up some cauliflower cheese
  7. Make cauliflower popcorn

    For a savoury snack that's perfect for sharing with friends and family, simply toss any florets you’ve got on hand in a mixture of chilli and spices before roasting until crisp. Pair that cauliflower popcorn with your favourite dip for dunking and you’ve got a healthy, tasty treat on the cards. 

    Make cauliflower popcorn
  8. Fire up the grill for some cauliflower steaks

    To add a bit of variety to your cauliflower consumption, try treating the vegetable like a piece of meat and cooking up some cauliflower steaks. Dust your cauli with a spice mix and roast until tender for this spiced cauliflower steaks recipe. Or, if you’re feeling a little fancy, you could always give your cauliflower a rich coating of brie and chestnuts. Whether you’re pairing your cauliflower steaks with puy lentil and pepper salad or simply eating them au naturel, they’re a simple solution to having too much cauliflower that should leave you satisfied.  

    Fire up the grill for some cauliflower steaks
  9. Have a whole roasted cauliflower

    There’s no better way to use up a large amount of cauliflower than by roasting one whole in an arsenal of spices. This whole roasted korma cauliflower is a striking Indian-style vegetarian dish that’s inspired by classic curry flavours. This whole roasted cauliflower with garlic and paprika, smothered in paprika butter and topped with homemade breadcrumbs, makes a great meat-free alternative for a Sunday roast. 

    Have a whole roasted cauliflower
  10. Create cauliflower soup

    Making soup is a fairly obvious fix for most leftovers situations. They’re freezable, delicious and a great way to use up anything that’s about to go off. Give your bog-standard cauliflower soup recipe an upgrade with our cauliflower cheese soup with crispy pancetta croutons. For an extra protein oomph, try out this cauliflower and white bean soup with crispy bacon. The adventurous should give this aloo gobi soup a go. 

    Create cauliflower soup
  11. Turn your cauliflower into rice

    As a low-carb alternative to couscous or rice, blitzing up your leftover cauliflower florets into a cauliflower rice is a great way to turn the veg into something a little different. This egg-fried cauliflower rice recipe is so good you won’t even realise it’s not the real deal. If you’re after something slightly more substantial then combine some garlic and chilli prawns with cauliflower rice for a vibrant, light meal. For a veggie-friendly option, this recipe for cauliflower couscous and roasted chickpeas with pesto is the way to go. 

    Turn your cauliflower into rice
  12. Make cauliflower cheese fritters

    All you need is a jar of rich cheese sauce and a cauliflower to make these super comforting cauliflower cheese fritters. As speedy as they are delicious, these crisp golden fritters are the perfect veggie dinner.

    Make cauliflower cheese fritters
  13. Pickle them!

    Chinese pickled vegetables are a nice way to use the last of your cauliflower florets up.  Packed with traditional Chinese flavours, thanks to Szechaun peppercorns and punchy ginger, this hot preserve will add the perfect amount of spice to your salad or sandwich. A very easy way for novices to test out pickling for the first time. 

    Pickle them!