Dining Guide | 6 Best Cauliflower Dishes in Phoenix
Mark Twain once said, “Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” It would seem that all the time and energy it took to reach that degree has ultimately paid off with 2016 being the year of the vegetable and cauliflower sits at the top of that list. With recent studies purporting that we should be concerned about the health and environmental consequences of animal proteins, whether founded or not, has many looking to alternative proteins and they are rampant in the garden.
Many look to cauliflower as a low-carb substitute for potatoes or rice, but the vegetable all on its own is incredibly versatile. It is seen as a palette vegetable, allowing other ingredients and flavors to be highlighted while still providing its unique texture and unassuming taste. Not sold? Check out the unique preparations we found in your neighborhood that highlight this meaty garden bloom.
6 Best Cauliflower Dishes in Phoenix
100 Camelback Rd., Phoenix
Flower Child is not just a restaurant, it’s a tribute to healthy, clean eating not having to be bland and tasteless. The restaurant has a commitment to support local growers, organic produce and to provide proteins that are raised naturally and without any additives. With vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options (and everything in-between) you can feel good about anything that you order. The cauliflower stand-out here is the Indian Spiced Cauliflower, which is nothing short of heavenly. The slightly bitter and aromatic taste of turmeric is balanced by the sweetness of dates and the nuttiness of the cauliflower and almonds, creating a complex overall taste.
4925 N. 40th St., Phoenix
Widely known and adored for their house-made pasta and sauces, this cozy barn-like spot is doling out hearty portions of comfort food and friendly service. North combines everything that you love about traditional Italian food with more modern ingredients and cooking styles. This is represented exquisitely in their Grilled Cauliflower dish. You mustn’t be fooled by the name, there is nothing basic about this dish. The cauliflower is carefully grilled and slightly charred and delicately set atop tender baby asparagus. There is a just enough sauce (a combination of light cream and salty pancetta) to dress the vegetables as if they were a delicate salad. Top it all off with a fried egg to impart another level of silky sauce once you break the golden yolk open, making it a complete sensory experience.
3243 N. 3rd St., Phoenix
The recently opened Ocotillo has flawlessly blended their indoor and outdoor spaces, creating a gorgeous backdrop regardless of your location. One of the best parts about the space is their Chef’s Garden; having this on site and visible to patrons allows for a better sense of the care and freshness of their dishes ingredients. While they are currently open for brunch and lunch at this time, we count ourselves lucky their Roasted Cauliflower dish is available during both services. This dish is incredibly unique in that it uses almost a complete head of cauliflower and is treated so gently in its preparation and adornment. Topped and dressed with a combination of kale, pesto, peanuts, chilies, mint and holy basil. The contrast of flavors may sound odd at first glance, but the marriage is almost heavenly.
4340 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix
Pita Jungle is all about fresh and healthy menu options, catering to a variety of diets. Their hummus platters are what dreams are made of and you can certainly fill up on that alone. If you are looking to add a little more substance to your meal a side order of their Caramelized Cauliflower with Tahini will perfectly fit the bill. The tahini is a perfect tie into the hummus. The caramelization of the cauliflower imparts a sweetness and the crispy onions add a great contrast of texture. The addition of the tahini sauce adds an additional layer of flavor that only complements the creative dish. This is definitely not the water logged cauliflower you might be accustomed to.
1916 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
Housed in a former salon, The Parlor has continued the legacy of style and beauty from the décor to the food. Their menu boasts all hand-made dishes made with only the best seasonal ingredients, some plucked right from their own gardens. Their in-house made pasta and pizzas are always an excellent choice. If you are looking for your cauliflower fix you can’t go wrong with their Cauliflower Gratinata. The roasted cauliflower’s nutty flavor blends well with full, almost hazelnut flavor of the added aged white cheddar. The toasted breadcrumbs allow for a bit of a smoky flavor and contrast of texture. The dish is robust and a great way to start any meal.
The Yacht Club
4231 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix
Initially, you might not think that a seafood-focused restaurant in land-locked Arizona would be successful, but The Yacht Club has made believers of all the doubters. The nautically inspired décor only adds to the fresh seafood being prepared here and the coastal inspired cocktails will have you feeling like you are dining near your favored body of water. The menu here is not over complicated; you’ll find all your favorite seafood dishes done well and with a peppering of a southwestern touch. So where exactly does cauliflower fit in here? It shines in the form of their Cauliflower Au Gratin. Cauliflower takes the place of potatoes here and is combined with three different kinds of cheese to create a silky creamy sauce just beneath the crisp top layer making it G.B.D.; golden, brown and delicious!
This article was originally featured in the January 2016 issue of Uptown Magazine.